For the ultimate sybarite, there is nothing more temptingly salivating than an Amit Aggarwal show. As the label celebrates ten years, I meet the couturier at his studio in New Delhi for a casual chat. Having known him all these years, what’s always made an impression on me is his warm and approachable demeanour. Over to him…
ELLE: Your physical and digital shows are synonymous with immersive theatrics. Do you revisit your shows?
Amit Aggarwal: I am not very attached to what I do. I haven’t seen the last two shows yet. I am emotionally invested till the job is done, but past that, it’s out of my system and I’ve moved on to the next project which keeps me excited. I am blessed with the best team, which carries my vision forward.
ELLE: Your 1999 NIFT show elicited rave reviews and was showcased internationally. At the outset, did you see yourself reaching this far in a decade?
AA: Honestly, I don’t think I have ever thought beyond what the day looks like. I have thoroughly enjoyed every day. I think that has kind of led to what it has become, and I am happy with the fact that we didn’t give up when things were looked at very differently from the commercial perspective of fashion, and now it’s kind of become acceptable.
ELLE: Your brand’s DNA has always had a strong, distinctive imprint, and the vocabulary has evolved over the years organically. How have you remained unencumbered by market pressures or trends?
AA: Fashion, in its most nascent and core aspect of it, derives its inspiration from human emotion, which is what it feeds the need of. I take inspiration from the people who make my world and from the emotion we share with each other rather than looking at something and being inspired by it. Whenever I have a mood board being put together—there’s either a referral of a quote or poem or a construction detail of a site, but never fashion. I don’t think I am ever fuelled by what others are doing in fashion. My innate nature is not as such, so it’s been an organic path, and I enjoy that a lot.
ELLE: Were you always clear about laying down the house codes since the label’s inception?
AA: There’s never a method. The flip side of this is that I have not cracked a code. Every collection comes with its challenges, and I like to approach it from a totally different perspective. Sometimes it could be an art piece that I saw or a conversation, or a movie. Different inferences start building their areas in my subconscious, and slowly things start taking shape.
ELLE: Do you get involved on a day-to-day basis to identify the bestsellers?
AA: My role as a creative director is always to push the boundary of the language of the brand and bring a newer ideology through newer material play or pattern cutting, or a play of silhouettes. I am not creatively driven by numbers. I like to work with different materials, and I think I falter a lot with materials. All the pieces from the show may not be perfect from a viewer’s perspective, but I like it—I like it to be a little raw, a bit naked, a little in-between shadow, and there’s still a little tease. I think that’s the journey I enjoy.
ELLE: Most of your digital showcases stand out thanks to unique storytelling, compounded with a cinematic quality. Will filmmaking be your next step?
AA: I have given this a thought a hundred times! During the pandemic, I invested all my energies in two films which we made for the brand. I enjoyed doing that. If I had to choose between doing a physical show and making a fashion film, I’d choose the latter. Unfortunately, the overall scenario of how a physical show should be conducted hasn’t progressed. We are still looking at it from a trade show perspective. It’s not just about great clothes or a spectacular venue. Every time I have worked on a fashion film, I have felt at peace, and that’s the memory I cherish more than doing a physical show over the last few years.
ELLE: Your contemporaries are forging corporate alliances; Would you like to give it a shot?
AA: Only if the partner understands what has kept the brand alive despite not doing traditional saris and lehengas. If a partner comes on board with not wanting to touch the DNA but loves how it is and wants to build that up then, yes.
ELLE: What’s next for the brand Amit Aggarwal?
AA: In terms of retail expansion, what’s keeping me excited is my soon-to-be-launched flagship store at Emporio Mall in Delhi.
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