Delhi is full of style, literally. Be it the number of successful fashion designers who have set shops in Delhi or the models who throng the city for a place in the arc light or the country’s most prestigious fashion institute bringing out new talents every year, the Capital, quite clearly, is the fashion hub.
The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi, tipped to be one of the best in its league, has produced some of the best talents in fashion designing such as Puja Nayyar, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Ashish Soni,
Ritu Beri and Manish Arora. Many of them have marked a presence in big, international fashion weeks such as the New York and London ones.
Quite a few youngsters have also crossed borders to take India to international ramps. Ramesh Nair is now based in Paris, assisting legendary fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier for the label Hermès. “Youngsters who graduated from NIFT are CEOs of companies and they come back to recruit young designers,” says Asha Baxi, dean, academics, NIFT.
There is reason for this cross-border alliance. According to Baxi, “The idea is to impart fashion education that has international appeal with an Indian soul. Youngsters who come here are trained to be professionals in the fashion field.” According to young designer Puja Nayyar, NIFT has some of the best faculty from both India and abroad. Ever since NIFT opened its doors for students, it has brought in a sense of style to Delhi.
And that’s where Delhi’s designs have changed. The influx of youngsters has introduced more creativity and that has even percolated to the masses. A look at Delhi’s streets will prove how a low-rise jeans or a Benetton T-shirt is not for the elite fashion-conscious alone.
The difference comes from the fact that the young designers also aim high when it comes to their creative designs. Take Sunny Mishra, another NIFTian. His label Huit Angles aims at the ultra-rich segment with its price tags hanging heavy on his creations. “Delhi has a herd mentality when it comes to fashion,” he says. “If some people wear something similar, there are many others who want a wardrobe to match. I want to break away from that and be individualistic.”
In addition to being a city that houses the maximum number of fashion designers in the country, Delhi is also the centre of fashion in India with the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) having its base here. FDCI, which organises the India Fashion Week twice a year in Delhi, gives the perfect platform for young fashion designers to showcase and promote their labels, adding more style to the city.
Even if you were to move away from the organised fashion industry in Delhi, you can still find pockets of fashion in places like Janpath and Sarojini Nagar Market. The rich and the not-so-rich alike love to shop at places like these from where they get stylish yet inexpensive ready-to-wear garments, mostly export surplus.
Delhi is also probably the only city in the country where fashion has transcended to the masses. Right from the man on a bicycle sporting a coat to the teenaged girl in a pair of crystal-studded denim and a shiny top in a market, when it comes to fashion, the city of Delhi certainly seems to have the last word in style.