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Athleisure and high fashion are a perfect match, here’s proof

Talking to Khanijo, Antar Agni and adidas Originals on their unusual creative partnership for the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week

Sketches from Antar Agni for the collaboration  (Antar Agni )

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Looks like high fashion and athleisure collaborations are here to stay. Be it the recently unveiled Manolo Blahnik x Birkenstock collab or the Adidas x Gucci show at the Milan Fashion Week, fashion brands are looking at unique ways to narrate their stories armed with the power of these artistic alliances.

It also matters that in the post-pandemic world, premium brands feel the need to hone the skills and technologies imperative to survive, and according to studies, brands are only relevant to younger consumers if they are considered influential and innovative.

Manolo Blahnik X Birkenstock
Manolo Blahnik X Birkenstock

Cut to the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week back home, and adidas Originals is all set to preview its upcoming eco-conscious footwear collection in a showcase with labels Antar Agni by Ujjawal Dubey and Khanijo by Gaurav Khanijo on day 2, ‘Sustainable Fashion Day’.

Read our coverage of the FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week

Sunil Gupta, Senior Director, Brand adidas India says, “The physical format of fashion week is back after two years and what better way to celebrate and experience fashion than by partnering with two remarkable designers, Antar-Agni and Khanijo. We are looking forward to an exciting and powerful showcase where effortless style meets innovative sustainability. When it comes to sustainability, such creative collaborations are definitely an interesting way to inspire and further the narrative around eco-innovations while also enabling and equipping consumers with more sustainable choices when it comes to fashion."

How do they navigate the collaboration between seemingly disparate brands with very different aesthetic values? "While contemplating possible collaborations, we ensure that the platform, concept and the designers/ creators resonate with our brand ethos and aesthetics," says Gupta. 

Superimpose the values of sustainability and mindful consumption with the ‘India Modern’ ethos of Khanjio and Antar Agni and one can sense the possibility for an organic synergy. Khanijo has always pushed tailoring techniques and lent them an indie twist. However, how do the label’s core values of contemporary tailoring complement the adidas athleisure vocabulary?

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“The iconic styles of adidas Originals which were born in the '80s yet come along so seamlessly across a sea of changing trends and times with their versatile and witty approach. Just like our core that blends traditional tailoring with the contemporary, with a voice that's relatable globally. That's how we brew our classics with new flavours and twists and bring affordable luxury to the table,” says designer Gaurav Khanijo.

The process of styling Khanijo pieces with the athleisure giant came along seamlessly because the ethos and aesthetics aligned without a push, he says. “The versatility factor spoke to us and everything just came together,” adds Khanijo.

Antar Agni has always been rooted in the symbolism of fluidity, draping and layering and the label is still continuing with its signature drapes and layering in the upcoming collection. “Playing over the essence of ease and comfort, along with graphical surface work and neatly layered silhouettes and softer cuts, which strikes a direct chord with the iconic shapes and ease. Hence, adidas,” says designer Ujjawal Dubey.

“Collaborations have always existed among labels and businesses; they are the key to innovation and growth,” he adds.

It would be interesting to see how these indie cool labels tie in with the athleisure lexicon of sporty chic.

Also read: Why we are now seeing more India-proud brands

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