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Indian Fashion in the Global Spotlight

Indian fashion is experiencing a renaissance on the global stage, with designers and their creations earning well-deserved attention at international fashion weeks. BY ARUSHI SAKHUJA

As the global fashion industry becomes more diverse, Indian fashion is reaping the benefits with showcases both within the country and overseas. With each passing season, the number of Indian- designer collections showcased on international runways is seeing an increase. In the recent, India has been finding a new prominence in global fashion and this can be attributed to a range of factors. Some of the noteworthy ones are the success of Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 showcase at the Gateway of India in Mumbai, the opening of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre with the likes of Gigi Hadid and Zendaya being in attendance, and the most recent opening of luxury destination Jio World Plaza in BKC, Mumbai. Fashion designer Rocky S shared an interesting insight on Dior's show in India, "Dior's showcase in India demonstrates the growing significance of the Indian fashion market on a global scale. It signifies the recognition of India's fashion industry as a significant player, attracting prestigious international brands. It also highlights India's cultural richness and diverse market potential, fostering collaboration and cultural exchange between Indian and global fashion." Adding further, I think the fact that Dior presented their runway show in India shows me two things. For fashion curator, buyer and Founder of AiSpi, Aisha Saraf Kothari, the Dior show proves that the world is becoming a much closer, borderless place. "International brands are looking at India as a growing market. We are, technically, we wear Western clothes, 90% or 85% of the time, however, we were not targeted with the same level of enthusiasm from international brands as the US, Europe, China, Japan, Korea, or other markets are. Therefore, I think it's really exciting to see that finally, Indian clients are being taken as a serious market for international brands." Models such as Bhumika Arora and Pooja Mor, Neelam Gill, Avanti Nagrath, Diya Prabhakar, Neil Varel, Dipti Sharma, Ashley Radjarame, and Kirandeep Chahal and now even male models, have been walking the ramps for top international designers, Indian designer to have carved their niche.  In light of the global economic slowdown in the West, India proves to be a market that is currently worth investing in. While there is a flourishing market for international brands, it is interesting to shift our gaze to the flip and notice the pace at which both established and newcomer Indian designers are further strengthening their hold overseas. Furthermore, with the recent opening of Sabyasachi’s store in New York, we can say that Indian fashion is one that can’t be missed. In a chat with fashion designer, Rocky S, Aisha Saraf Kothari, Founder of AiSpi and Tanushri Biyani, Founder of Anaar we got industry insight into what the fashion fraternity believes is the future of Indian fashion.  

Rocky S, Fashion Designer

Aisha Saraf Kothari, Founder of AiSpi

Looking Westwards 

India, a country with a rich culture, heritage and booming fashion legacy is as diverse as the country itself and has always fascinated the global audience. "What sets Indian fashion apart is our rich heritage, diverse culture, and a blend of traditional and contemporary styles. We bring a unique fusion of colours, textiles, and craftsmanship, creating a vibrant and distinctive fashion statement that resonates globally," quotes global sensation and fashion designer Rocky S. These design elements have served as an inspiration for designers worldwide and continue to influence global fashion trends. Furthermore, the high-quality craftsmanship found in India is associated with luxury and artistry. "It elevates fashion to a level of fine art, and many Indian designers incorporate these techniques into their collections, appealing to a global audience seeking unique, handcrafted pieces. International fashion houses and designers have collaborated with Indian artisans and craftsmen to create special collections, highlighting the value placed on Indian craftsmanship," Biyani told The Style List. "We come from the land of embellishments and embroidery which are considered extremely exquisite and crafts and techniques are an integral part of the country, an aspect which Indian designers also reflect," accurately said Kothari.  Over the years, our country’s pride lies not only in veteran designers like Rahul Mishra and Sabyasachi taking to the global scene but also in younger designers who are taking the Indian craft and artisans to runways overseas. The recently concluded fashion week for SS24 in New York, London, Milan and Paris saw some of the biggest names in Indian fashion along with new upcoming labels on the runway. From Rahul Mishra to Rocky S, Kanika Goyal, Dhruv Kapoor and Anaar to name a few; the flourishing designs by our homegrown designers are steadily securing India's place on the global horizon. "The increasing presence of Indian designers and brands on international runways is a positive sign of the growing influence and recognition of Indian fashion and craftsmanship on the global stage," shares Tanushri Biyani, Founder Anaar. In her words, "these traditional skills are now being reimagined in contemporary ways, offering something distinctive to the international fashion scene. This exposure can lead to creative partnerships and broader recognition."  

Image: Rocky S

Applaud and credit are due to the designers who seamlessly blend international sensibilities with Indian craftsmanship and those younger lot who can reimagine Western silhouettes in their own home ground, India. For Rocky S Indian fashion has evolved by embracing a fusion of traditional and contemporary elements, making it more adaptable to international fashion weeks. "Designers have incorporated global trends, improved quality, and streamlined production processes to meet international standards." 

But the debate on what performs better in the international market amongst Indian and Western silhouettes is an intriguing one, more so, because there is no right and wrong. Both are equally important, hence leading to the bourgeoning demand for Indo-Western creations. "Both Indian and Western silhouettes have their charm, but in the international market, fusion styles that combine elements from both tend to do exceptionally well. This fusion brings a unique and appealing blend of cultures, making it stand out and resonate with a diverse global audience. It's about striking a balance between tradition and modernity, creating a harmonious and marketable fashion statement."

Image: Anaar

Over the past decade, Indian designers have increasingly looked beyond their home country to showcase their creativity on international runways. While India has its own prominent fashion weeks in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, many designers have recognised the significance of global exposure. Participating in international fashion weeks offers Indian designers the opportunity to showcase their work to a global audience feel designers. Their interest in showcasing globally is driven by the desire to expand their horizons, gain global recognition, and access new opportunities and resources. "Indian designers are increasingly drawn to international fashion weeks because it's an opportunity to celebrate the fusion of Indian aesthetics with global trends, making our mark on the world stage," accurately says Rocky S. He continues to say, "Craftsmanship is of paramount importance in Indian fashion. It's the heart of our industry, deeply rooted in our heritage. The intricate embroidery, hand-woven textiles, and attention to detail are highly appreciated globally. Craftsmanship sets Indian fashion apart, making it unique and timeless. It's not just clothing; it's artistry that the world admires and values." Thus, Indian fashion on the global map will always have a wide reach. 

The Era of Collaborations 

Indian designers have recognized the importance of cross-cultural collaborations and the fusion of traditional Indian aesthetics with contemporary global sensibilities. As the world moves towards collaborations that appeal to fashion connoisseurs worldwide, Indian designers are 

venturing into the space to break through the market. For example, collaborations like Sabyasachi x Christian Louboutin and Manish Arora x Reebok have helped Indian fashion reach a wider audience and are some of the best examples to site showcasing the success of such amalgamations. In agreement with the statement Rocky S believes that collaborations with international designers and brands have significantly enhanced Indian designers' global presence. "These partnerships have not only brought Indian craftsmanship and aesthetics to the forefront but have also opened up new markets, making Indian fashion more accessible and celebrated on the global stage." At the recent NYFW, Anaar, a footwear label Anaar joined hands with international couturiers to bring attention to their handcrafted shoes. Filled with joy Biyani shared, "It was an incredibly exciting and proud moment for Anaar to be the first Indian footwear brand to showcase at a prestigious global platform like New York Fashion Week (NYFW) in collaboration with designers like Kish Jeane, Stuthi Weaves, Inspired Dsigns & Kayzie Couture. Our hard work, dedication, and creativity have culminated in this moment where we got to represent India's rich heritage and innovation on a global stage with the designers." 

Image: Rahul Mishra, Gaurav Gupta and Kanika Goyal, SS'24

Looking ahead 


Thus, Indian fashion is no more on the back bench, rather Indian designers are setting trends on the global runway. "India's rich cultural heritage, diverse textiles, and craftsmanship are gaining recognition worldwide. To make a global impact, emerging Indian designers should focus on blending traditional elements with modern aesthetics, prioritize sustainability and leverage digital platforms for global outreach. Collaboration with international designers and participation in global fashion events can also help showcase Indian creativity on a global stage" sums up Rocky S. 

Images: AiSpi


The future of Indian fashion on the global scene is incredibly promising and will leave a lasting mark on the international fashion industry. As Indian designers continue to make their mark on international fashion weeks, we can expect Indian fashion to continue making a significant global impact, enriching the world of fashion with its timeless beauty and modern innovation. "India has a very, very bright future in the fashion scene." concludes Aisha. 


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