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Top Indian designers making waves on the global fashion circuit

Be it the Sabyasachi red saree or the Manish Malhotra white lehenga, the choices in clothing have always been determined by the popularity of a chosen few

Top Indian designers making waves on the global fashion circuit
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Indian fashion designers are at the forefront of a dynamic transformation, carving a niche of their own in the global fashion landscape. Their designs are deeply rooted in India’s cultural richness, reflecting the heritage of numerous generations.

Imagine the rush of emotions encapsulated in a Sabyasachi red saree or the pure joy resonated in a Manish Malhotra white lehenga. These aren’t just choices in clothing; they are statements, experiences, a harmonization of the old and the new, offering people the luxury to express themselves.

The compelling narratives spun from the traditions of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and West Bengal stand as testimony to the depth of inspiration one can derive from Indian states. Each piece of clothing tells a story, a story often rooted in the diverse culture, the distinguished regions, and the vibrant ethnic groups.

The boon of e-commerce and the sweeping wave of social media have redefined the boundaries, breathing fresh air into the industry and bringing the fashion narratives closer to a wider audience.

Here is a look at five such designers who have embraced the essence of India and made a name for Indian fashion at a global scale:

Gaurav Gupta

Credit: Gaurav Gupta/Instagram

Gaurav Gupta is no newcomer to the world of haute couture. Ever since he established his eponymous label in 2005, Gupta has been capturing the essence of Indian clothing and reinterpreting it for the world.

His most recent collaboration with American singer Beyonce for her ‘Renaissance’ tour had triggered a series of cross-cultural mashups between the designer and the pop star.

The outfits for Beyonce’s tour featured architectural elements, sculpted folds, and exaggerated forms, all of which contribute to a sense of otherworldly elegance that went hand in hand with the overarching theme of the tour.

Apart from being one of Beyoncé’s favorite couturiers, Gupta has also lent his silhouettes to some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.

From Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone to Mary J. Blige and Cardi B, his compositions have found a home on international magazine covers, red carpets, and music videos.

Gupta’s designs are celebrated for their bold and avant-garde aesthetics, pushing the boundaries of conventional fashion.

His use of unconventional materials, such as metallics, sequins, and unconventional textiles, adds a distinct element of drama and opulence to his pieces, making them stand out on the international stage.

His designs often feature intricate drapery, sculptural silhouettes, and exquisite handwork that reflect his deep appreciation for Indian textiles and craftsmanship.

Falguni and Shane Peacock

Credit: Falguni Peacock/Instagram

The label of Falguni and Shane Peacock has been putting Indian ethnic clothing on the world map since before social media was a fad. One of their lehengas was worn by New York fashion symbol Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP) in an episode of ‘And Just Like That’, a reboot of the cult classic ‘Sex and the City’. Other collaborations between SJP and the Peacocks have always wowed critics on several occasions, be it high-profile events or red carpet appearances.

The designer duo’s avant-garde and statement-making designs align well with Parker’s fearless and fashion-forward style.

Most notably, in 2015, SJP wore an exquisite black and gold gown by the designers for the fashion event of the year, the Met Gala.The theme was “China: Through the Looking Glass” and her dress, designed by Falguni and Shane Peacock, featured intricate embroidery and a dramatic head dress, making a striking fashion statement.

This infusion of artisanal techniques into their designs sets them apart, infusing each garment with a sense of grandeur and artistry.

Over the years, they have dressed some of Hollywood’s most iconic stars, including Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Katy Perry.

Their designs promise a blend of Indian and Western aesthetics, making them a force to be reckoned with in the global fashion industry.

Rahul Mishra

Credit: Rahulmishra.in

Rahul Mishra has carved a niche for himself on the global fashion stage through his designs. His creations are known for their intricate handwork in the form of embroidery or applique work and innovative textile techniques.

Mishra made history by being the first Indian designer to present his collection at the Paris Haute Couture Week in its 47 years run.

His creations were under the spotlight recently during the grand opening of Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) in Mumbai, where he dominated the red carpet. His collaboration with celebrity stylist Law Roach and actor Zendaya for the gala was praised by fashion critics for pushing cultural boundaries while resonating well with Hollywood’s discerning fashion-conscious audience.

Other notable Hollywood stars such as Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong’o, and Emily Blunt have also embraced his couture.

His work has gained recognition and respect on the global fashion stage, with international fashion critics taking note of the delicate embroidery, handwoven textiles, and intricate motifs in his designs.

Recognized globally, Mishra’s designs come from a blend of Indian tradition and international tastes, created with the help of local artisans.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Credit: Sabyasachi Mukherjee/Twitter

Touted as one of the most influential fashion designers from India on the global stage, Sabyasachi has become a household name.

Unapologetically Indian with his visual style, Sabyasachi has dressed many international celebrities and has been embraced by them, earning him global recognition.

From Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, celebrities from all walks have been spotted wearing his creations on various occasions.

Apart from an A-list clientele, Sabyasachi has also expanded his brand’s presence with flagship stores in prominent fashion capitals of the world, including New York, London, and Dubai. This expansion has made his designs more accessible to a global audience.

His collaborations with international brands have also helped him redefine his design language. In 2017, he partnered with renowned French shoe designer Christian Louboutin to create a limited-edition line of shoes and handbags that combined Indian craftsmanship with French elegance. The shoes exuded the kind of luxury that could only come out of an Indian-French hybrid brand, something entirely new and unique.

Sabyasachi is special, not because he is a good designer. But because he has combined a deep appreciation for India’s cultural heritage with contemporary design, creating clothing that is not only visually stunning but also culturally significant.

His work has had a profound impact on the fashion industry and continues to be highly regarded by citizens of the chic republic who appreciate the beauty and artistry of traditional Indian attire.

Anita Dongre

Credit: Anitadongre.com

In April 2016, Kate Middleton and her husband, Prince William, embarked on a royal tour of India and Bhutan. The visit was highly anticipated and covered extensively by the media, with a particular focus on Middleton’s fashion choices throughout the trip.

During the tour, Middleton chose to wear a creation by acclaimed Indian designer Anita Dongre. She donned a floor-length, flowing, and colorful maxi dress from Dongre’s “AND” label.

The dress featured intricate Indian-inspired embroidery and mirror work, showcasing Dongre’s signature blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern design.

The fashion moment was seen as a nod to India’s vibrant and diverse fashion scene. Dongre’s creation not only highlighted her talent as a designer but also served as a bridge between Indian and British fashion, while symbolizing the cultural exchange between the two nations.

Her creations have been donned by Ivanka Trump and Camilla Belle, further solidifying her presence in the international fashion arena.

Her commitment to sustainable fashion was prominently showcased through her ‘Grassroot’ initiative. This collection featured sustainable and eco-friendly clothing, including handwoven fabrics, organic materials, and artisanal craftsmanship.

Through the years, Dongre has championed sustainability and ethical fashion practices in her collections.


Shireen Khan is a Senior Correspondent at Press Insider. She covers lifestyle, culture, and health. More

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