From salwar kameez to bellbottoms to high-street fashion, Indian fashion has undergone a significant transformation through the decades. While the changes in women’s clothing and fashion has been documented since ancient times across the world, these variations mostly reflected the social and political scenario of various countries, rather than being a popular practice.

Indian fashion, however is ever-evolving. With so much culture attached to our fashion sensibilities, Indian wear is all but monotonous. With the rise of trends and a global panorama, we speak to the women behind ecstatic labels who have revamped traditional ensembles in an urban look without compromising on tradition.

Founded in 2012, Ridhi Mehra a business graduate turned fashion designer, started her eponymous label. It is a contemporary take on refined Indian dressing. She is often lauded for bringing western aesthetics to traditional silhouettes.

Striking yet free-spirited, she is constantly pushing the boundaries of affordable luxury. Clean lines, delicate details, and a hint of drama are Ridhi’s signature.

Known for her eccentric designs and having an eye for detail, have made her a favourite all over. We dive into the inspiration pull that drives her into creating such finesse. “It’s our love for minimalism and understated style. While references from nature and motifs inspired from age old art and architecture are a constant feature in our collections, it’s our love of interpreting them in chic contemporary light that inspires our creations,” she said.

Although many designers prefer the ultraethnic look for their creations, one still notices a subtle shift in their palette and ornamentation. We think that design aesthetics are moving further and further away from the bling of the 90s, the kind depicted in extravagant bollywood wedding scenes of that time. A new artistic taste is dawning upon the aesthetes, shaped by a
deeper understanding of the world. The rise of the modern Indian bride is contributing to a gradual yet firm shift away from the opulent extravaganza to a more refined and globally on-trend way of doing things.

“I adore the fact that new age Indian brides are experimenting and shedding the tradition of wearing over the top lehengas in traditional colours of red and gold. Bridal lehengas in pastel hues and contemporary fabrics are a major rage, nowadays. Embroideries have gotten chicer and minimal and so has the choice of jewellery,” she said.

All of this brings more power to an Indian woman, but how would we describe her? One who is dauntless, independent, free spirited and yet, remains the crowning glory of the fabric of Indian aesthetics. As they say, the journey of a mile begins with a few steps. It began with an overwhelming love for art and design, which has only gone from strength to strength there on wards.

The powerhouse that is Devnaagri is the brainchild of designer duo Kavita and Priyanka Jain who embody the spirit themselves. In a world where the definition of modern Indian clothing is blurring away, they continue to redefine and reset the paradigms of clothing archetype to meet contemporary Indian silhouettes.

“Since the very beginning, we have been immensely proud of what our heritage and culture have to offer. Be it the age old techniques of gottapatti, block printing from Rajasthan, use of chanderi fabric, to the weaves from Banaras, all have helped us to put across the Indian lineage to the world outside. Every detail in our creation narrates a story, which is an extension of the modern Indian woman’s persona. The clothing spins a tale of a contemporary Indian woman who takes on the multitude of roles that life has to offer and grows into each one of them with ease and grace,” they said.

Fashion designers in India, are known for shimmering silks and other rich textiles. To stay true to their roots, they often play up to these strengths, along with a fine hand for detail, if they aspire to global recognition. But, today the Indian drape has gone experimental in leaps and bounds. Change is here for good and for better, but is experimentation a required tool for being consistent in the fashion industry?

“Experimenting, for us has been important but we are also sure of the brand aesthetics. Keeping that in mind drapes are kept traditional and minimal. The minor detailing on our designs make their own statement. The personality of the Devnaagri woman comes through. She has the freedom to interpret fashion and make her own statements,” they said.

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.