October 10, 2019 Asmita Aggarwal

Blue-Blooded

Denim sees a nifty revival with Diksha Khanna’s chanderi twist, Huemn’s recycled ocean waste and Amita Gupta’s sassy Jodhpurs at LMIFW SS’20 

By Asmita Aggarwal

The Lotus Make-Up India Fashion Week SS’20, in association with EbixCash, saw a mélange of trends and the prominent one was undoubtedly, our inheritance of jeans, so denim was presented in various avatars. With fashion becoming a potent mode of activism, each season, collections find a unique voice to represent ideas and design philosophy.

The inspirations have been myriad from Pepsi vintage ads for Huemn, Amita Gupta’s denim-inspired riding pants, Jodhpurs, to the lap of Himalayas, Uttarakhand for Mumbai-based Diksha Khanna.  “We have seen denim as a bridge across class, culture and status over the years and now. We want to bring forward handloom denim to the global map. That could be our handmade ‘Indie Denim’ for the world to witness and appreciate,” says Diksha Khanna.

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Cool mornings, lush green mountains, cobbled pathway steps, pine trees, and pahadi women was the story; Diksha’s hand distressed denim, soft pleats and layering techniques with coral lining are enlivened with theatrical tie-dye on an ivory palette. With sustainability becoming a topic of global discussions spearheaded by environment activist Greta Thunberg, fashion is under the scanner.

Thus, most designers like Diksha offer timeless classic styles which can be repeated, re-styled and are free from rigid gender classifications. Comfort is key, along with with functionality thus the rise of pockets, hoodies, elbow patches and embroidered knee-pad detailing. And what is in the offing from Diksha’s stable is ivory linen saris and pleated denim ghagra with pockets.

 Khanna develops her handloom fabrics, tries and minimize wastage as much as possible by using recycled materials to create textiles and accessories every season. “We didn’t want to generate waste and when we did the leftover scrap yarns have been dip dyed and used in creating unique fringe patterns to depict motion with tranquility,” she adds.

The beauty of Khanna’s line was the way she mixed elements of handlooms to create sporty, modern fringed saris and denim kurtas, as well as uses Eri Ahimsa Silk to revive sustainability in her contemporary way mixed with Chanderi layers and Shibori. “Our biggest challenge comes with finding the right clientele for our product.  Consumers these days are so used to fast fashion and somewhere don’t appreciate high-quality garments like before. Admiration and love for timeless and long-lasting designs are sadly reducing. This also majorly affects their willingness to pay for the exclusive handcrafted designer pieces,” she adds.

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On another note, the star of day one was undoubtedly the petite Mann Kaur, who could give any Insta loving, phone-obsessed youngster a real run for their money, literally and metaphorically. The beauty of old age is that it is not a punishment for the 104-year-old sprinter who has absolutely no health problems —no blood pressure or diabetes. Is it good genes or a healthy diet?

Diet, says her 82-year-old son, Gurdev Singh who inspired his mother to run, being a sportsperson himself. The journey began in Chandigarh when she used to accompany him on track running trips, but the “race” in the end was won by the mother and the son let her take the lead. She began with 400 and 200 metres almost ten years ago, with no prior training and every alternate day she ran, which she does even now and never complains of knee pain or stiff joints! “We stay at the Punjabi University campus, Patiala and my mom used to work at Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s home earlier, while I had a job with the forest department,” says Singh.

From Spain to America, Mann has won honours, and a legion of fans, World Masters Athletics Championship held in Malaga, Spain, she bagged a gold and then at the World Master Championships in the USA in 2011 in the 100m and 200m event, she defeated her opponents and came to be known as the “Miracle from Chandigarh”.

Soft-spoken always happy to talk, Mann was an absolute delight when she came to LMIFW and found herself surrounded by a doting audience. She exclaimed, “You must run and exercise to be fit, if one has lost health one has lost everything. Don’t sit in front of computers and play, go outside, get mud on your hands, and enjoy nature.”

That’s why wheatgrass juice, sprouts, nuts, seeds, fruits, and chappattis form the basis of her diet, and of course, no social media and stress contribute to her age-defying alacrity. “I see so many people only on their phone, I keep away from it. The closer we are to simplicity, the better we will feel, nature is the biggest teacher,” she concludes.

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