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The mood was after-rave state of mind: Kanika Goyal on NYFW collection

In an interview, the designer talks about her fall-winter collection showcased at New York Fashion Week and future plans

From Kanika Goyal's fall-winter collection showcased at the recent New York Fashion Week
From Kanika Goyal's fall-winter collection showcased at the recent New York Fashion Week

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Designer Kanika Goyal delved into the complexity of thoughts and feelings for her label's fall-winter 2023-24 outing, Agrestal Mind, which was presented at the recently concluded New York Fashion Week. 

From extrapolating the transformative power of blooms to creating a visual tension by experimenting with lines and boundaries that oscillate between soft curves and jagged pixel edges, the designer presented a series of relaxed pieces. 

In an interview, she talks about the collection and the inspiration behind it. Edited excerpts:

Also read: Is runway fashion becoming more wearable?

How’s the experience been at the New York Fashion Week?

It’s been an incredible journey so far. It’s a completely alternate experience when you are showcasing at a global stage and selling globally. It’s important to constantly study the diverse buying patterns in different markets and be in sync with your own brand ethos and to deliver quality products. Innovation and sustainability are at the forefront. And having an experienced team that can translate your vision is extremely crucial.

What’s the next step for the brand Kanika Goyal?

The brand language and vision for KGL (Kanika Goyal label) has been constantly evolving. We are taking crucial steps to expand our global reach in terms of sales and visibility. In addition to that, we are also elevating and expanding our product line for our primary clientele here. We’ve recently launched KILOGRAM, a mid-segment brand with elevated, effortless basics such as tees, sweatshirts, track pants, coordinated sets priced between 3,000-10,000 to reach a bigger audience within India to begin with.

Your collections have often explored silhouette mashups, oversized shapes and tie-up details. Take us through your fall-winter 2023-24 collection…

The term “Agrestal” means growing wild in a cultivated area. We used that metaphorically to represent the state of mind for our FW23-24 collection. At KGL, we are always inspired by human psychology and emotions. To put it briefly, the mood was an after-rave state of mind.

Any dream muse you'd love to dress and who epitomises the values of your brands?

Multiple names come to my mind (the list keeps increasing every six months) but not one muse in particular. I always think of strong-minded, resilient personalities being a muse to the brand, and that includes anybody and everybody who wears the brand.  

What are the key trends emerging in 2023?  

I try to stay away from trends but overall soft tailoring and high-octane sequins are emerging for a while now. I feel post covid, comfort wear is something that people strongly stand by and truly indulge in and that language is constantly evolving.

How do you conceptualise each collection? What's the process like?

The process is very seamless and organic. We usually start ideating for the next season soon after we wrap up the season before that. Usually, it’s an emotion that we want to tap into for that particular season. It starts from a much broader thought and then we refine it more as we dive deeper in it. I’m grateful that my design teammates are on a similar wavelength and everyone is in sync from the beginning till the end. During the initial ideation and research, we keep in mind the styles that are signature to the brand and also the ones that have been received well in the previous seasons and evolve from there.

We experiment with different techniques that we want to explore every season. We are constantly (irrespective of seasons) working on print and surface direction for both international and primary market. Personally, I’m constantly thinking of newer styles till almost three-four weeks before the collection launch and end up adding two-three styles that usually become the bes sellers after. I wouldn’t recommend this, but I’m an intuitive person and I go with my gut.

We do get influenced by the culture and the current scenario of questioning everything and in return we try to influence and encourage the idea of being outspoken.

Creative collaborations are becoming an all-pervading phenomenon. What are the key attributes you look for in a creative partner?

I absolutely love the energy that collaborations generate. In the past, we've collaborated with global brands like Absolut and Adidas, and it’s been a unique experience with each of them. It is important for brands today to become social actors, to be able to provide specific role models to society, and for more labels to make sure that their work is empowering in reality, not just in theory. 

I feel collaborating with brands across all vertices is essential rather than just cross breeding within fashion brands in particular. We need to build towards a better future and by working together we can not only learn from each other but put across a much-evolved broader approach. Having said that, we definitely look at brands that share similar brand ethics, ethos and purpose outline.

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