South Asian New York Fashion Week Founders Interview

POPSUGAR: What makes South Asian fashion stand out? Can you speak on the artistry and why it deserves more attention on a global scale?

Shipra Sharma: We’ve all seen these heavy-beaded crystal work outfits at South Asian weddings, but I think a lot of the simpler embroidery and printing styles don’t get as much credit in the world like block printing, phulkari embroidery, and hand printing, each specific to the region it originated from.

Hetal Patel: With block printing, the actual symbols or the actual shapes that they will use differs between the indigenous tribes.

South Asian fashion isn’t only the decked-out bridal wear or what’s shown in Bollywood movies; there’s space for understated pieces. The most important thing about holding a platform like this is recognizing that there are so many different genres: there’s leisure wear, there’s street style, there’s resort wear, etc.

People are finally recognizing that every region has very different prints, art, fabric, culture, living style, even like a simple drape. We learned this with the Untitle by Nikita Shah presentation and sari draping demo. She made a very good point that even the way that you drape a simple cotton sari will differ region by region.

PS: We know that Indo-Western or Indo-fusion wear merges the worlds of traditional South Asian styling or textiles with a more modern approach to design. What is your take on Indo-fusion or Indo-Western wear?

SS: You see people taking their mom’s saris, lehengas, and suits and creating blazers and jackets and other outfits that they will wear on a day-to-day basis.

HP: Several of the designers in our season two lineup exemplify this and are pushing the envelope, including Maison Tai, Babougie, and Svarini. They are taking these fabrics, and they’re creating the silhouette that truly is Indo-fusion, whether it’s incorporating different block prints and utilizing pleats, slits, and innovative cuts or using the corset as an inspiration. I think everyone is moving towards a different definition of what Indo-Western is, that it’s not just taking a lehenga, putting on a T-shirt, and wearing some jhumkas [a type of earring style].

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