If the Taj Mahal is the only thing you associate India with, you seriously need to get pop cultured. It’s home to the largest film producing industry in the world—Bollywood, which has given us stars like Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Deepika Pakudone, who’ve successfully crossed over to Hollywood and made a name for themselves. It’s also where 75-foot (approximately 23 metres) long veils were invented (Aishwarya Rai in Devdas, anyone?). But more than anything, India is home to fashion in it’s most opulent state; from Sabysachi Mukherjee to Manish Malhotra, each garment feature intricate handiwork, luxurious fabrics and weaving techniques, which keep India’s ancient garment-making industry alive. Here’s our pick of under the radar Indian designers you need to follow on Instagram:
1. SGBG Atelier
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SGBG’s Runway Debut! Such a wild ride. More to come. LOOK 3: 3-Layered Hand-woven Organza Kimono. Deconstructed. It’s about diaspora anxiety, the feeling of never being particularly at home, no matter where you go. It’s about trying to harness that energy towards some hope. Being OK with being different. Being OK with not conforming to the norms. Mentors: #SunilSethi + Styling: @sohinydas @mohitrai. Show director: @sheetalsharma1 Hair and makeup: Monsoon Studio @kajeekarnabeautybox Images: @sagarahujaofficial at Vogue India. Music: SURI @sgbgatelier / Show edit by Anup Bhat @myself_t.o.m Visuals: @kartikvadera Fashion assistants: @manndeep95 @aditi_chauhan @shrutiwani_ Thanks to @6degreeplatform #KnotsBySgbg #sgbg #lmifw #sgbgatelier #fashiondesigner #voluminousshapes #knots #influencer #sustainablefashion #sustainablecouture #conciousfashion #celebritystyling #bespokeluxury #girlboss #styling #forbes #forbesasia #forbesmiddleeast #forbeswomen #sustainablecouture #barneysnewyork #consciousfashion #ethicalfashion #handloom #bespokeluxury #runwayfashion #lmifw #fdci
SGBG Atelier is a Chennai-based fashion label founded and led by mother and son duo, Surya and Bindu Giri. They blend sharp tailoring with artisanal Indian handicrafts for a contemporary spin on traditional Indianwear. Their signature hand embroidered loom is always spotted on blazers, dresses and bomber jackets. Their collaboration with Issey Miyake, United Nude and Enze Apparel has earned them the title of a rising force. And more recently, they made their runway debut at India Fashion Week. While we have yet to see a major Bollywood celebrity wear the brand, celebrity fans include Kiran Gandhi, who wore the brand’s hand embroidered knot blazer to Sir Elton John’s AIDS Foundation party.
- 2. P.E.L.L.A.
Did you know that P.E.L.L.A is actually the acronym for its founder, Priyanka Ella Lorean Lama’s name? The Bangalore-based fashion label is touted as a minimalist’s dream and is renowned for its flowy chiffons, classically Greek draping and Japanese-inspired avant-garde silhouettes. Lama counts Martin Margiela and John Galliano as her muses and has shown her collection at Lakmé Fashion Week. Needless to say, we’re excited to see what else she’s got up her sleeves.
- 3. Tarun Tahiliani
Tarun Tahiliani has been delivering show stopping couture bridal dresses since the ‘90s and never fails to please each time. He’s been dubbed as the “Karl Lagerfeld of India” by the late English magazine editor, Isabella Blow. Tahiliani’s beaded lehengas and embroidered saris are truly a sight to behold. Who knew the Wharton Business School alumnus, who onced sold oil field equipment would be noticed by the legendary Alexander McQueen’s mentor? It should come as no surprise that he’s been showed his collections at India Couture Week. We’re definitely keeping an eye on him.
- 4. Enaura Bridal
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When your #EnauraGown fits like a glove! 🙌🏻 💯 Gown style “Heather” from @miabridalcouture Photography @eugene_drake . . . . . #beadedbridalgown #beadedweddinggown #beadedweddingdress #enaurabridal #enaurabridalcouture #syttd #sayyestothedress #enaura #fitandflareweddingdress #fitandflarebridalgown #trumpetweddingdress #fittedweddingdress
Although technically not from India, New-York based Enaura Bridal deserves a mention on this list. It’s designed by Sohil Mistry, whose parents are fashion designers in India. Each gown at Enaura Bridal is beaded by 15-20 India-based artisans, not unlike a couture gown, and every dress takes more than 500 man hours to complete. Touted as a happy intersection between modern and traditional Indian gowns, the label offers an adventurous twist to the prototypical bridalwear. Their fairytale gowns are perfect for girls who loves combining their love for Hollywood fashion with a Bollywood aesthetics.
- 5. Kanika Goyal
If you’re a fan of high-octane fashion label, Ashish, you’ll love Kanika Goyal. While the former is best known for his loud, rainbow sequins and campy aesthetic, Goyal relies on the perfect juxtaposition of daytime denim with cocktail-friendly lurex for the perfect day to night wardrobe. In contrast to most brands wishing to imitate prêt-à-porter streetwear brand, Goyal’s offering of witty slogans, nylon overlays, distressed denim and leather harnesses made her a hit at Lakmé Fashion Week. Despite having all the ingredients for success, we’ve yet to see her designs sported by a celebrity, although we wouldn’t be too surprised to see it on the likes of Hailey Bieber.
- 6. Saloni
Saloni Lodha comes from a family that owns a sari and fabric store. Her eponymous label feature colourful silk floral prints and embroidered flowers, which made her a hit amongst celebrities like Cindy Crawford and fashion insider Margherita Missoni. The label’s ‘70s inspired peasant dresses and ‘80s inspired leg of mutton sleeves offer a retro feel that’s perfectly fitting for a generation obsessed with nostalgia.
- 7. Ranjana Khan
Ranjana Khan is the wife of Indian-American fashion designer, Naeem Khan. But she’s making splashes of her own in the fashion industry with her namesake jewellery label. Khan’s jewellery is made for anyone who believes that more is more—a minimalist’s nightmare. Feathered, beaded and embroidered, her signature shoulder-grazing earrings are eye-catching to say the least.