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Amit Aggarwal: Crafting the future of couture

The designer who made his debut this year on the India Couture Week runway brings together craft and technology in his designs

Amit Aggarwal is known for his sculptural designs and ingenious application of industrial materials.
Amit Aggarwal is known for his sculptural designs and ingenious application of industrial materials.

Amit Aggarwal’s debut at the India Couture Week in Delhi was one of the event’s most anticipated shows. The Delhi-based designer is known for his sculptural designs and ingenious application of industrial materials. Hours before his show, Aggarwal sat for a chat with Lounge in his hotel room to discuss the concept behind his new collection, sustainability in high fashion and the future of Indian couture. Edited excerpts:

How did you conceptualize the collection?

For Crystalis, I focused on the complex mathematics behind natural formations. I looked at crystals, formed when a set of molecules come together and the pattern repeats itself, as well as the organic formation of the chrysalis.

I was very inspired by how the angular methods of pattern-cutting or silhouette-making progress to create the cocoon-like shapes of a garment. So a lot of saris are shaped like cocoons while some of the other designs have crystalline structures. There is a bionic correlation between saris and lehengas—the sari is a fluid design, and the lehenga is angular, and I wanted to bring the two together.

Industrial materials are integral to your designs. Do such materials and techniques contribute to this collection too?

As an Indian couture brand, it’s important to understand our heritage, culture and craftsmanship but we must also push towards a new aesthetic. So we incorporate traditional techniques like zardosi or ari, but replace the yarn with industrial materials that can change the look of the garment. A lot of cording has gone into the pieces, structuring the drapes with industrial methods, the beading is done using glass and there’s a special collaboration with designer Tanira Sethi to incorporate her cashmere lace in the designs.

You also collaborated with the jewellery label Outhouse for this collection.

I don’t really propagate layers and layers of jewellery. What excites me is its framework—it’s an intensive method where each wire is moulded to create a shape on which the stones are set. I approached Outhouse and said I just wanted to use skeletal forms in the collection.

As a designer using industrial materials, what is your view on sustainability?

For me, sustainability is being able to understand that we need our heritage, past and culture, but not devoid ourselves of technology. A beautiful world is where the future and the past coexist to create the present, and industrialization is important for growth. I focus on all that we can do with the by-products created by these industries.

How is Indian couture poised today, compared to the rest of the world?

Internationally, I see couture going minimal. What sets Indian couture apart is craftsmanship but I always wonder what is in our crafts for future generations. This is where I want to introduce a new language that will excite craftspersons and also consider what future generations may want to wear, be it for a wedding or a meeting.

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