Fashion designer Ajit Kumar
Fashion designer Ajit Kumar

Fashion loses designers Ajit Kumar and Sadan Pande to Covid

While the fashion world was still grappling with the loss of the iconic Alber Elbaz, who designed for Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Geoffrey Beene and Guy Laroche in his epoch-defining career, the tragic news of Delhi based designers Ajit Kumar of label 5 X and Sadan Pande passed away succumbing to the deadly Covid has sent shockwaves back home
By Manish Mishra
UPDATED ON MAY 03, 2021 03:06 PM IST

While the fashion world was still grappling with the loss of the iconic Alber Elbaz, who designed for Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Geoffrey Beene and Guy Laroche in his epoch-defining career, the tragic news of Delhi based designers Ajit Kumar of label 5 X and Sadan Pande passed away succumbing to the deadly Covid has sent shockwaves back home.

Ajit hailed from the old guard of designers who never did a runway show, but made their presence felt on different talent platforms - one of them being the Vogue Fashion Fund.

A fashion design graduate from NIFT, Delhi,(2002 batch) his label denoted the five letters of the word crossed out to highlight the positive connotations, a designer’s continuous efforts to overcome constraints to realise an ideal. Uniquely crafted, through painstaking creative experimentation and sincere, thoughtful attention to every step of the creative process, 5X products have been the reflection of that fight to translate dreams into reality, communicating an evanescent feeling into a wearable expression. He retailed from some of the top brick and mortar and online stores of India and most of the Middle East buyers stocked his label and Anthropologie was also buying his offerings regularly.

A friend of Ajit for 23 years and his NIFT batch mate designer Nitin Bal Chauhan went out of his way to help him as he battled Covid. “He was my best friend. Once we got to know he was Covid positive, we tried to give him all the support - from taking him to a hospital in Lajpat Nagar to providing him with him oxygen. Sadly he died of cardiac arrest. He was among the top 5 finalists in the Vogue Fashion Fund and he event went to Italy for a prestigious design competition equivalent edition of Woolmark Prize. However, he never did a runway show. All in all, he was a jovial person and no one had anything bad to say about him,” says Nitin.

Designer Shruti Sancheti who’s admired his work for years says, “Ajit Kumar ‘s work was very ethereal yet modern. Some beautiful craftsmanship and innovative textures on simple and elegant silhouettes were the focal point of his creations. His clothes always spelt of restrained luxury and understated opulence and were timeless.”

Designer Sadan Pande
Designer Sadan Pande

Last month fashion’s much admired and respected designer Sadan Pande too passed away as he fought Covid. Fashion entrepreneur Amit Hansraj who’s a good friend of Pande shares, “I wish I could’ve helped him. I also got COVID at the same time and we were in touch over the phone for the first few days. He was an amazing friend. Extremely understanding and supportive. His house was always open for his friends and anyone visiting delhi would stay at his place.I also stayed at his place for months when I was moving back to Delhi pre COVID last year. We had chai almost every evening since I lived close to his office.“

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