October 15, 2022 FDCI

Journey Within

Hyderabad-based Anand Kabra returns to the runway with separates crafted in silk, paying homage to things he holds dear—from his city’s cultural mix to his grandma’s tussar sari.

By Asmita Aggarwal

Tucked away in Hyderabad, Anand Kabra has taken the difficult decision to slow down, thus for six years he stayed away from showcasing at fashion weeks. This time was used to reflect, research, look at what matters, and finally work on the ‘happiness project’, things that make your heart sing.

So, the feeling that everything was becoming mechanical made way for activities that you can be proud of, making beautiful clothes that stand the test of time became his pursuit. He considers this LFW line his best work till date, even though he admits six months down the line, he may find many flaws in it, he wants to return to the runway just like he had planned in 2020 before the country went into lockdown.

“You can’t really plan anything in life, and nothing is in your control. Also, the digital format didn’t excite me, so I was looking forward to showcase at a fully physical show this year,” says Anand. His product is distinctive as besides being authentic, it is served with dollops of emotion and awareness of socio-economic-cultural changes. “I am a womenswear designer, but I understand life is fast-paced, you need clothes that are easy on the eye and the pocket, which add value to your existing wardrobe,” he explains. Thus, he launched separates, lungi to dhotis and draped skirts, tops from matronly to risqué, you can team up with gilets and scarves, plus plain collars you can throw on anything to make it look dressy. He is against the term “ethnic clothing”, as he believes a lehenga is also a full skirt, a choli, a cropped top and a kurta, a long tunic, it’s how you perceive it, the sensibility is Indian. “World over we are all looking like clones—one trend emerges and everyone religiously follows,” he says.

His FDCIXLFW line has no set inspirations, but more plural in its approach—snapshots of memories play a huge role in the way he designed this collection. The tussar sari with a velvet border and pearl work his grandmother wore was one such nostalgic piece that became the ignition point.  Or Hyderabad’s culture where Muslims co-exist with Telugus, the Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb, or even the architecture replete with ornate jaalis served as a moodboard. “Time is a luxury now, so we have tailored clothing that serves this purpose, without compromising on the beauty aspect of it. I have dipped into my archival memory of places, people, items that I hold dear and represented them through the medium of silks and linear silhouettes,” he confides.

He admits being partial to warm colours, working with saturated hues that only shine in natural fibres, silk, cotton and linens can be manipulated into comfortable shapes. “Everyone has become a wise spender, I offer ensembles where you can create different looks out of it. As we are all travellers spiritually and metaphorically, the journey I have mirrored is from within, thus a celebration of versatility in its purest form,” he concludes.

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Fashion Design Council of India