They set the trends, but sometimes stick to comfort and sameness for themselves.
One of my favourite characters, Blair Waldorf said, “Fashion is the most powerful form of art there is. It is movement, design, and architecture, all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we would like to be.”
So it's no surprise that across the world, fashion designers are the rock stars of society. But with great power comes great responsibility. Season after season, these magicians live under constant pressure to pull rabbits out of their hats. In this time of fast fashion, and the constant cycle of create and re-create, how do these artisans manage to find value in abundance?
I asked 6 of India’s prominent designers, to give me a glimpse of the thread that connects the dots for them. By presenting the oldest item in their closet, they give me an idea of how to sustain normalcy in an ever-evolving environment, and maintain quality over quantity. They speak about style and sentimental value.
After talking to these designers, I realised that although fashion and style says a lot about a person, it’s the the sentimental value associated with a piece of clothing that says a lot more.
What is the most irreplaceable item in your wardrobe?
Rimzim Dadu, Fashion Designer
Is there an item in your wardrobe that’s irreplaceable to you?
I got married earlier this year, and my mother, like every mother, wanted to gift me jewellery as part of my wedding trousseau. Now, I am not a big jewellery person, but my grand mum used to wear this amazing vintage neck piece that I had always been fascinated with, growing up (something my grand mum inherited from her mother). I converted that into these earrings, since statement earrings are more my style than elaborate neck pieces. I figured if I had to wear jewellery, it had to be something I had an emotional connect with – and I love these so much!
What is the one thing that you believe in splurging on?
I am not a big splurger! I think the only things I like splurging on is food and travel.
Related: Five Style Icons Take The Oldest Item In Their Closet, And Style It In A New Way
Anand Bhushan, Fashion Designer
What’s old and irreplaceable for you?
It's a 24K gold pocket watch that has been in my family for over 150 years. Being the eldest in this generation of my family, I was given this watch by my father when I turned 18. It's not just a beautiful piece of heirloom jewellery, but has so many stories, from different generations of my family.
What item in your closet do you tend to use and repeat most often?
Antique Jamawar and Pasmina shawls that come out every year for weddings, during winter. They are beautiful and I have kept them with great care. Also a beautiful white jamdani anarkali is one of my favorite pieces that I repeat a lot.
Shivan Bhatiya, Fashion Designer
What item in your closet has sentimental value and is irreplaceable to you?
It’s an off-white, Kashmiri-weave shawl. It belonged to my dad and I have countless memories through my childhood of him wearing it. The first time I left home to go study in Milan, I took it with me, as it felt like a piece of home. I have had it for over 10 years, and since it’s a large size men’s shawl, it is extremely versatile. Sometimes I even use it as a blanket when I’m travelling as it protects against all temperatures. Plus it’s a classic, it goes with everything.
You travel a lot for work and leisure, what are your tips to looking stylish while on the go?
To be honest, I’m not a light traveller. I feel the need to carry a lot with me. So I’ve come up with a technique that makes my life easier. I literally plan an entire outfit, top to bottom, accessories included, for each day I am away. I try each thing on again before putting it in the suitcase. Yes this does take some extra time during the packing process, but to me it's justified, as it provides more room for versatile extras that work with several looks. And sunglasses. I know it's a cliché, but I feel naked without them. I have been known to wear them to nightclubs too!
Masaba Gupta, Fashion Designer
Please tell me about an item in your closet that’s irreplaceable to you
The oldest item in my closet is this Tarun Tahiliani kurta and skirt. It was a hand- me-down from my mom, when I was 17. It’s Chikankari and timeless. I still wear it all the time.
What is one item every woman should have in her wardrobe?
Multiple white shirts, in different styles and sizes. They are fail-safe, for any kind of occasion.
Related: Six Makeup Artists Show Me The Most Prized Item In Their Wardrobe
Pernia Qureshi, Fashion Designer
Let's talk about any item in your closet you consider irreplaceable.
That has to be my mother's first luxury watch, her first watch after marriage. It's vintage and holds a lot of sentimental value. I love wearing old pieces owned by my family.
What is the one item in your closet that you do not believe in splurging on?
I don't belive in splurging on almost anything but shoes. Shoes that are well made and good for your feet. Technique and design wise they can tend to be expensive. Other than that, my true belief is that it is completely possible to have a fabulous, on-budget wardrobe, including any item.
Sahil Aneja, Fashion Designer
Is there anything in your wardrobe you consider irreplaceable?
I bought this shirt few years ago on a business trip, at an airport (courtesy of lost luggage) Since then it has become my staple for comfort clothing. It's perfect for working, holidaying, or even a casual Sunday brunch. The fact that I bought it in a time of need, without any particular desire to buy it otherwise, makes it even more irreplaceable. It will always be something that I never needed, but has now ended up being my go-to for comfort and style.
Is there any item or piece of clothing every man should have in his wardrobe?
A good bespoke fitted black suit. A suit is a classic that every man should own. It’s a long term investment, and appropriate for all significant events, like job interviews, meetings, office presentations, or even just for creating an impression at any given moment. Clothes create an impression without any sort of communication on your end, especially in the commercial world. So if you want to be taken seriously, then dress well, not necessarily expensively, but well groomed. Like l said before, it’s an investment that justifies the expense.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101India.com
By Radha Jetley
Photographs by Karishma Bedi