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06 March

Indian Fashion Designers

Ritu Beri:

Ritu graduated from Delhi University in 1987 and during the hiatus that followed she was driven to find something occupy herself with. Given the sad lack of choice in Delhi at that time, she began designing outfits for herself. This led inevitably to creating clothes for her friends-and suddenly she was in business!

She enrolled in the national Institute of Fashion Technology in 1988. This institute is affiliated to F.I.T, New York and had just opened its doors in Delhi. She was amongst the first batch of 25 students chosen from a large number of applicants country-wide.

studio 'Lavanya' in December 1990. She achieved instant success with this collection even in the fashion Meccas of London's Regent St., where a couple of her creations were a sell-out in 'Liberty! Further collections followed. SANSKRITI 1995: 'Sanskriti ' was a path-breaking way of tracing her roots.Her creations were the result of India's scintillating cultural heritage in retrospect she divided her collection into 4 sequence..

Ritu Beri makes her mark at this century's greatest peace time event. The Indian contingent will be walking out in style at the opening ceremony at Atlanta. India's ace designer, Ritu Beri has joined in the Olympic fever, by creating a special collection for the contingent to be worn at the opening ceremony.

According to Ritu Beri," Designing clothes for the Indian contingent is a great honour and a big challenge.

Ritu Beri launched 'Caring means sharing' for People for Animals- a project to fund animal-care centers.She introduced her new and unique line of animal styled products range called, 'Caring means sharing. This collection comprises of T-shirts, caps, stuffed toys, jugs, notepads, posters, postcards, pens and keychains. The funds raised through sales of this product line for "People for 'Animals' will be instrumental in the creation of additional animal-care centers throughout India.

For Ritu 'Caring means sharing' is a dream. Ritu Beri says-"Today, the world is still my oyster-and I appear to have succeeded in prizing it open just a little bit."


Anita Dongre:

Anita was thrust towards the world of fashion immediately after schooling. Although initially in University she worked towards a Commerce degree, she simultaneously enrolanita dongre,fashion designer anita dongre,anita dongre fashion designer,indian fashion designer,indian fashion designer anita dongreled into the prestigious Indian Fashion Design School S.N.D.T. and completed the course with flying colours in 1983. Wanting to give back to her Alma Mater, she began teaching at S.N.D.T. and continued to do so for 2 years.

Anita's urge for putting her design skills into practise got her into establishing her Ethnic Indian wear studio and she began retailing under the label Masque. Subsequently, she began supplying her designs to renowned stores such as Sheetal in India, Damini in London and a host of stores in cities like Vancouver, Singapore, and Dubai. She continues to supply her Indian Ethnic Designs in these markets.

Anita then made a gradual transition and launched her western women's wear label AND in mid-1999. Market sensitivity and a keen understanding of the growing Indian woman's need for comfortable, stylish, branded and affordable clothing was the primary factor in the positioning of the AND label. While AND retails in Mumbai from India's premier mall, Crossroads and another store located at Linking Road and at New Delhi from South Extn. I, plans for turning AND into a national brand are on the anvil and she is focused on this objective.

A couture design label has always been one of Anita's dreams. Having been involved for over 15 years with the fashion world, she felt it apt to launch her couture label ANITA DONGRE. The ANITA DONGRE label is a fitting combination of the exemplary world of Indian creative crafts, clean cuts and simplistic value. With Anita's positive understanding of an international look, the ANITA DONGRE label was appropriately launched at an international forum - IGEDO in August 2000.

Her garments made waves in Dusseldorf and also hit the front pages of Germany's National newspapers and to date Anita has been the only Indian Designer chosen to showcase her garments at the Finale of the IGEDO Spring Summer Fashion Show.


Manish Malhotra:

At the age of 25, Manish Malhotra forayed into Bollywood by designing for Juhi Chawla in Swarg. Today, at 34, his name is synonymous with style in Hindi films. He revolutionized the fashion scene in Bollywood by envisioning a 'look' for the character. His tenure as a costume-designer has seen him clothe most of the leading actresses in the film industry from Sridevi, Urmila Matondkar, Karishma Kapoor, Kajol, Raveena Tandon, Manisha Koirala, Madhuri Dixit, Twinkle Khanna, Shilpa Shetty, Kareena Kapoor, to Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zinta. Although he doesn't design regularly for male actors, he has attired Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan on several occasions. Manish Malhotra's list of films includes several blockbusters since Rangeela, where he metamorphosised Urmila Matondkar and turned her into a raging sex symbol. He repeated the magic with Karishma Kapoor and changed her image through Raja Hindustani. From Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Khamoshi, Hero No.1, Judaai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil To Pagal Hai, Hum Saath Saath Hai to Kaho Na Pyar Hai, Mast, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, Satya, Dhadkan and Mohabbatein, he has been associated with nearly all of the decade's most successful films.

His work has been greatly appreciated and he has received several awards. He was awarded the first and only Filmfare Award for Costume Design for Urmila Matondkar's look in Rangeela, the Showtime Opinion Poll Award for Raja Hindustani, the Siemen's Viewer's Choice Award for Dil To Pagal Hai, the Lux-Zee Cine Award and the Bollywood Award in New York for his work in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. He has also been graced with Indira Priyadarshini Memorial Award for his contribution to the fashion industry, felicitated by National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi and the Indo American Society for his contribution to fashion designing, and was also named the most Stylish Designer Of the Year at the Elle Style Awards in 1999.

High on his success, Manish Malhotra decided to branch into mainstream designing in 1998 with his high-profile couture store Reverie - Manish Malhotra. The store received a tremendous response and his clientele featured socialites Tanya Godrej, Tina Ambani, Haseena Jethmalani, Rhea Pillai, Avanti Birla as well as important members of the NRI community. He has done several wedding trousseaus for reputed families. His popularity soared during this period when he was exclusively asked to design clothes for Michael Jackson for his appearance during the Bollywood Awards held in New York. The performer was so please that he requested Manish to design outfits for his show in Munich and to design clothes for his children.

Malhotra's first fashion show in November 1999 was eagerly awaited and the talented designer did not disappoint. His clothes were received with great appreciation and almost 70 percent of the clothes were sold out within three weeks. Malhotra created a coup of sorts by having Urmila Matondkar model the showstopper, an act followed by several designers for their shows later. A part of his collection was the embroidered denim wear that became a rage all over the city. International model, Naomi Campbell picked up a pair on her visit to the city.

Nikki Mahajan:

Niki Mahajan, a designer with panache has devoted the last 15 years in promoting the talent reserves of the Indian subcontinent working with the immensely talented artisans from Bihar, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam and other remote corners. The endeavour is to retain an umbilical connection with the huge talent resource of the country mysterious interiors. Working with tribals, Niki has created a fabric called "Reeds" which is made by splitting grass and treating it with natural elements. A recipient of the Yuv Ratan award for excellence in promoting the production of unique fabrics by the Ministry of Textiles, she has had the opportunity to learn about the crafts at the grass root level. Currently she retails from Bangalore, Madras, Cochin at Folio, Oorja at Hyderabad, Kali at Kolkata, Casa at Pune, L'affaire, Heritage and her own studio at Vasant Vihar, Priya Cinema Complex, New Delhi and the Designer Studio, Mumbai.

Vandana Roy:

The glitterati in their endeavour to look great and feel good place their faith in the hands of a few designers and a price tag with endless nulls. Our mailbox had a lot of enquires from women wanting the same feel of the garment but at an affordable tag. Another dimentions to it was the fact that this segment wanted wears that were subtle as a casual wear yet trendy when party borne. A survey through the shopping havens across the terrians of our country led us in search of the affordable yet elegant salwar kameez that would do any women proud. The gaints in retail trade like Modern Silk House in Lucknow, Sona's Favourite Shop in Bangalore, Pralochna in Coimbatore, Sri Krishna in Chennai, Nikhar in Jaipur, Seasons in Mumbai and Asopalav in Ahmedabad were a few destinations that compelled us to believe that ingenious ideas have been plotted in making this dressing a branded product. We narrowed the search and discovered a single brand that has been visionary and a cult figure in dressing....Sentiments.

How did the Sentiments brand of Salwar Kameez's touch similar sentiments of an invigorating mix of culture and people across the country, makes you wonder what made it click. Was it the fashion genius creating wearable attires or was it a marketing revolution? Probably it was both. A few unanswered questions made us search the history of Sentiments and we discovered. ...a woman.

"Please let me be low profile," she screams from behind her desk in her design studio, wearing an elegant salwar kameez which we presumed was nothing but Sentiment. The name behind the desk was Vandana Roy, the designer and the businesswoman of Sentiments. So in this age of recession how has she managed to make a success? "Give your client value for money and she remains with you," replies Vandana Roy. However clinched it may sound but then that is the reality in this recession infiltrated season. Salwar Kameez is a necessity in today's wardrobe but at the same time within a given budget the woman wants to feel indulgent and luxurious. "The focus is on the intelligent woman who has more than just taste and is not looking for cheap imitations of big designers," thinking 17s to the mature 30s and rightfully so as we gather. So then where is the compromise...if any?

"You cannot, I repeat, cannot compromise in the quality of your garment even if you want to cut corners in the pricing." comments Vandana. The fabrics are exquisite and there is an exceptional attention to detail in the making every garment even if it is mass-produced. "Even if we are mass producing, we at Sentiments ensure that not more than two to three pieces of a single design in one colour reaches the retail outlet in one city," beams the lady, proud to maintain exclusively in spite of being a production house. "It is this mass production that makes it physically and financially visible for me to travel to jaipur just for Bandhanis, to Coimbatore for handloom cottons, get my jute linens from Bhagalpur, Jamevars from Banaras and get Bagru printing work done from Sanganer in Rajasthan," says Vandana, explaining the intricacies of producing more garments than one at a time. The quantities in question make it possible for the brand to directly deal with the craftsmen, weavers and artisans all around India and extract quality work from them. A tight reign on the prices by eliminating middle men is passed on directly to the women who adore the garment for its fit and style. So how does she design keeping in mind the different choices of a consumer in coaching to the one in Calcutta? "The choices may be different but the bottom line is the same, every women wants to feel beautiful." We agree with Vandana. The inspiration for Vandana is colours.... beautiful colours.

The arduous journey of creating acceptable designs begins with fabrics and colours. "The fabrics ought to have a character and the colours a charishma," the designer proclaims. Their tie up with all the leading fabric manufacturers in India and suppliers abroad ensures that the same fabric is not dumped in the market for a stipulated time. This gives them enough lead time to introduce garments in the fabric that no one has touched before. Vandana Roy did her two -year course in Dress Making and Fashion Co-ordination from the SNDT institite in Mumbai. Besides this, the designer has a fabulous hand for art and painting, which she uses to create soulful dressings for Sentiments.

Vijay and Shobhna Arora:

Art is boundless. It sifts through the sands of time conjuring an aesthetic equilibrium around which life reverberates. It is the very being of existence influencing every vijay and shobhna arora,fashion designer vijay and shobhna arora,vijay and shobhna arora designer,vijay and shobhna arora fashion designer nuance of living, and fashion is but, one aspect, of that.

'ANANT' the label promoted by designers Shobhna & Vijay Arora is synonymous with 'perennial' in Sanskrit and in sync with their philosophy, to style ensembles that are evergreen, aesthetic, and timeless.

Embroidery and embellishments are the forte of the Anant label. The silhouettes are clean, streamlined and the focus is intricate hand embroidery that makes style statements. The look is always sophisticated, either understated or strong creating an impact.

Vijay Arora did his MBA from Cornell University, USA. He never made a concerted effort to become a designer. His first collection was in 1993, which was a range of men's kurtas and churidas. By 1994 end the transition was made as women loved the men's kurtas and wanted them to be made feminine.

So far, they have designed 70-80 collections together. Anant by Shobhna & Vijay Arora is about understated elegance that a connoisseur would understand: Simple, yet effective, aesthetically correct, wearable contemporary & traditional ensembles for men and women.


Rohit Bal:

Fame rests lightly but with certainty on Rohit Bal, whom Time magazine in rohit bal,fashion designer rohit bal,rohit bal designer,bal rohit,rohit bal fashion designer its recent Special Report on India (March 25, 1996) profiled as 'India's Master of fabric and fantasy.' The regard he commands among the top echelons of Indian fashion is endorsed by a discerning, high profile clientele, that includes some of India's biggest names in the media, film, fashion and corporate world.

His affair with the media has been long-standing and passionate. Never, it seems, has one man been the focus of the attentions of so many. Reams of adulatory print continue to roll off the presses as he unveils one collection after another, each one more fantastic than the last.

Intensely concerned with design as an art form, he draws upon history, fantasy and folklore to create his masterpieces, which retail for up to 15,000 USD. These are gone before you know it, snapped up by the discerning and needless to say, the wealthy. So completely does he seem to have understood the psyche of the target consumer, that fashion pundits credit him with setting the trend for every season. His address to the fashion scene is intelligent and studied, yet imaginative and inspired.

Graduating from New Delhi's St. Stephen's College with a first class (Hons.) degree in History, the compulsive designer worked for a few years with his brother's export company. In 1990 he created his first line, traditional designer wear for men and the rest, indeed, is history.

The 34-year-old designer's sense of aesthetics is finely honed, and each of his creations is handcrafted to perfection, with meticulous attention to detail. He has access to the best the industry has to offer in terms of materials and workmanship. From villages where local craftsmen weave dreams with magic fingers, to factories, workshops and outlets where retailers jostle for survival, to the opulent grandeur of glitzy boutiques and malls at the best addresses in the big cities of high fashion, Rohit Bal can lead one to the doors of discovery, and he holds the key.





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