I design in order to feed my creative appetite: Aggarwal

I design in order to feed my creative appetite: Aggarwal

By SWATI SINGH | | 12 August, 2017
Amit Aggarwal’s collection.
Couture designer Amit Aggarwal, who also has his own label, called AM.IT, speaks to Guardian 20 about his experience in the industry and about his inspiration for his recent luxurious wedding collection.

Q. When did you decide you wanted to become a fashion designer?

A. My ideas about form and structure took shape by observing my father working on his engineering projects. I was intrigued by the aesthetics of his complex mathematical blueprints and I would make similar drawings with coloured chalk on the walls of my house. It was something I enjoyed more than anything else as a kid and what stayed with me from those times is an understanding of how simple units come together to make a whole. This was the beginning.

Q. What do you consider your U.S.P.?

A. The core of couture label Amit Aggarwal lies in moulding and freezing amorphous forms into structures. Industrial materials are the basis of our clothing—they are thoroughly transformed by hand techniques into intricate garments with a definite shape, which further beautifies a woman’s figure.

My ready-to-wear line, AM.IT, is a product of my understanding of organic and what I have already been doing in couture—mixing industrial materials with Indian textiles and being environmentally conscious.

Q. You have also come up with your collection AW’17 that was presented at India Showcase Week 2017. Tell us about it.

A. During one of my multiple visits to the Delhi Blind School Diwali Mela I met a woman from Gujarat’s Waghri community, selling quilts and patch-work art made from worn sarees that no longer fulfill their original purpose. It sparked the inspiration for my couture line that season.

The AW’17 couture collection derives inspiration from millions of these unusable, unclaimed pieces of heritage. We increased the lifespan of pre-owned Patola sarees and restored them using modern industrial treatments like pleating and weaving with man-made yarns to fortify the textile and create runway looks.

Q. Your designs are more focused on hand embroidery and traditional weaving. Tell me your creative process while designing a garment?

A. Actually the designs are essentially focused on showcasing traditional textile in modern and defining shapes. The process always starts with the ideation; and the embroideries, textiles and silhouettes follow the cue.

Q. What inspires you to design?

A. The love of textile remains an ongoing inspiration. And if you have the eye for it, you’ll find art in everything around us. It urges you to create more.

Q. Nowadays traditional weavers are hard to find because they are not getting proper wages. What do you want to say about it?

A. While it is a present and pressing concern, the Textile Ministry has put forth wonderful initiatives and efforts to include weavers in the commercial fashion industry by involving the country’s leading designers in the process. I believe the situation is taking a positive turn.

Q. After AW’17, now it’s time for LFW’17. Tell us about the collection that you are going to display?

A. I am delighted to partner with Monaco Tourism for our Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2017 showcase. The collection that started its roots in Monaco is interpreted by the use of discarded vintage Banarasi sarees in the hope of finding them a new life and a new home.

Amit Aggarwal.

Q. Which fabrics do you use in your designs, and which ones do you like the most personally?

A. I don’t limit myself to any particular textile. I’m influenced by various design capacities that I see during my travels around India—sometimes I pick handcrafted Jamdanis from Kolkata, at other times handwoven rugs from Chennai or industrially produced polythene bags from local vendors around our Delhi studio or even sourcing these vintage sarees among the narrow streets of Delhi.

Q. Any segment in which you want to try your hand or want to experiment?

A. I would love to try my hand at designing and decorating interiors.

Q. What is your take on innovation and creativity in fashion?

A. Innovation is born from a need. And creativity follows in how well it can address that need.

Q. You had exhibited your designs at Arken Museum in Copenhagen. How did you infuse art into fashion. How was the experience?

A. What drove me, as a creative person, is walking on the thin line between art and fashion and how I thought the two could co-exist. I was not driven by wearibility but by pure beauty which is the only distinction between art and fashion.

Q. Do you think menswear designing requires a lot of creativity and innovation, as we have very few designers in this segment? Do you want to try doing that? 

A. I design menswear for my friends and loved ones. I am sure I will dive into it in the future.

Q. Fashion trends follow a cyclical pattern. Your take on how one should make new styles more alluring than their older versions?

A. I don’t follow any trends. I think a designer’s vision and his aesthetic is a trend in itself, which I believe has a definite pattern.

Q. Do you believe young designers today are more into rehashing old styles than introducing new ones?

A.  I think the new generation of designers is doing some great work and I see a lot of potential in them.

Q. Many contemporary Indian designers are rediscovering our traditional weaves and handicrafts. What’s your take on India’s fashion heritage?

A. Designers in India have the advantage of referring to the rich and diverse heritage of art techniques originating from various regions across the vast subcontinent. And while we have this advantage, we also have the responsibility to sustain these arts by way of creating designs that keep them relevant. 

Q. Do you ever experience phases of complete unproductivity?

A. Yes, of course I do. The absence of creativity is very necessary for me to create.

Q. Any particular collection you think you shouldn’t have launched?

A. I design when I feel it’s absolutely imperative to feed my creative appetite. Each design from every collection has been meticulously conceptualised in my head first before it’s materialised. It is made because I want it under my label. Whether it works or it doesn’t, I would only know later. But there is never any regret because I have put my best into it.

Q. What are the new designs you are currently working on?

A. I am working on the SS18 collection and I am super excited to show it to you all soon.

Q. You have won the title for the best young Indian designer. How did it feel?

A. It was a long time back but at that moment I felt great and it is a beautiful memory etched in my mind.

Q. How do you see fashion five years down the line?

A. I see fashion and trends catching on fast with people globally and I hope to see fast-fashion slow down.

Q. What is your fashion statement?

A. My shoes! I am obsessed with them.

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