October 16, 2023 FDCI

Lost Tribes

Tribal imagery comes alive in Aseem Kapoor’s free size, super comfy offerings for women who choose practicality over transient shine.

By Asmita Aggarwal

His father ran a tailoring unit in Gurgaon for 35 years, he wanted to make him proud, Aseem Kapoor has achieved this, and a lot more in his 23-year journey in the challenging space of design.

The trek began working with Tarun Tahiliani, where he left after 15 years, as head of design, and then worked with Tata’s as a consultant to ‘change the palate’. In 2020, he made up his mind to launch a label with his wife Pooja, who works part-time with him, her full-time job is with Good Earth, as a technical head. Little did he know the label would win several awards from Elle Graduates to Grazia designer of the year and then he got selected to present at the GenNext category.

He was clear about his product, what he needed to learn was the business aspects, as he never ran one, he played on his forte, finish and quality, along with making it commercially viable. “Honestly, I took a risk because I didn’t have funds to launch a label,” says Aseem.

Interestingly, he probed the winning combo of practicality and comfort, it should fit all sizes— he abandoned anti-fits, nor did he serenade zero figures, but edgy shapes which please the wearer.  “Think global act tribal, is my central theme, as I work with local artisans, and craft communities,” he adds. Heat set pleating which is travel-friendly, is his oeuvre which is elevated with dori work.

The inspiration for his LFW 2023 line is to let things be and not try and change what is inevitable. “Some things you cannot understand, best to accept it. I work with tribals, and I am mesmerized by the way they detail their clothes, each piece is ceremonial,” he adds.

His plisse kaftan jumpsuits, free size, is his bestseller, and most of his collection is deeply rooted in his love for music, being a regular at festivals. “Women want to look young and cool; a kaftan gives you freedom, a jumpsuit adds an edgy feel, and the beauty is the same shape can be worn by both mother and daughter,” he explains. Marori work, moti ka kaam, and dori are the mainstay this season, African tribes and their joyful expression through clothes is the concept, combining collages with prints and embroideries.

“I work with darker complexion, as I feel they possess a certain undeniable character. I started with menswear, but found it restrictive so I shifted to designing for modern dressers who could be from a CEO to an artist. Growing up I used to observe my mom dressed elegantly,” he admits, adding that Indian women are exposed, they can live anywhere and they know how to combine colours of their choice with garments which are cleverly global.

Velvets and mul-muls, mirror work is a recurring motif, as well as tessellation and this time the extensive use of kodis (shells), announcing your arrival through the soft rustle of fabric, even before you do adds a third element of mysticism, tapping into all your five senses.

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Fashion Design Council of India