October 13, 2023 FDCI

Motorcycle Diaries

Riding, and utility make a play in Abhishek Paatni’s line that takes us back to the simple joys of life, finding peace through biking and urging us to slow down, choosing the wild road less travelled up the mountains.

By Asmita Aggarwal

You would imagine an MBA and engineer to be heading a billion-dollar hedge fund, but in Abhishek Paatni’s case it was quite the opposite, he chose arts over finance, literally and metaphorically. However, the boy from the hills, explored modelling as well as a short stint with Mr Buttons, before he launched Nought One, we are guessing named after his love for maths, an essential part of his growing up homework.

   

Though what his label primarily consisted of was military detailing, it won him applause and in the past, he has worked collaboratively with both Vans and Adidas. After B school in 2013, Paatni began R and D for his label, he was ready to fly by 2016, solo. Many seniors advised him against not taking the more tried and tested route of sherwanis to make money, a survival strategy in a fickle world, but Paatni was firm, streetwear was his inner calling at a time when few were attempting a new language of style. “No one thought hoodies would make money,” admits Paatni.

Post-covid everything turned turtle with social media awareness, as well as the way GenZ perceived fashion became largely individualistic. “Everybody has an interesting take on the way they dress or self-expression, they share pictures on Instagram. If you see fashion shows, now the attendance and domination of influencers is up, it is a different era,” he adds.

  

Streetwear is the easiest to get into, you don’t need a brick-and-mortar store, all you need is social media, a ton of followers to spread the message, which wasn’t so when he forayed. “It is all about the story you want to narrate, and young people, which make up the largest chunk of our population now, know how to engage,” he explains.

The designer admits he struggles with this important aspect of the business—insta engagement, it is an audience he is not exposed to. “I believe runway is the only way you can really tell a tale, so this year I wanted to mix tailoring with streetwear and dial in to a new audience,” he exclaims. His trips to the mountains, especially Uttarakhand, where he stayed during the pandemic, and made some revelatory discoveries gave him new insights into the business.   He began working with the Asmita group of women weavers in Almora, where using Merino wool, and hemp as well as bamboo, they make the most lasting weaves. “For me life came full circle, and I discovered my roots,” he smiles. He also learnt to slow down, adopt the Himalayan way of living, long treks, a break from the chaos of town life. His LFW line is all about utility as always, just what they do in his village, handloom fabrics were used to craft stories which his grandfather told him about the mythical Yeti as a child.

  

He combined the showcasing with his love for music, thus he called upon fellow artist and friend DJ Sarvesh. “We love creating hybrid silhouettes, hoodie meets a jacket, or a shirt-hoodie combo, inspired by my love for motorcycle racing, riding in the hills, finding that inner calm we all long for,” he adds.

Printed hoodies, complete with security patches on elbows and the back in case you tumble, streetwear he believes is a canvas where you can write your own story. This time it is an amalgamation of biking, community building, riding with the ethos of living the simplicity of the hills, “I never went to a fashion school, everything learnt is from sci-fi films and playing sports, neither did we have money to travel to New York and Bahamas to get inspired,” he admits. Jackets made insulated, they will keep you warm in the cold, these will be teamed up with fun sneakers which up the ante and save your outfits. Matching the overall aesthetics are pocket detailing, volume, high and low shapes, mostly unisex, made for all body types. “We also had influencers walking the runway, as well as people who have been ardent supporters of my brand even during the toughest phases of my life, they are the new muses,” he concludes.

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