#ELLEExclusive: Designer Hemant Trevedi On His Comeback Collection And His Position In The Industry

One of the pioneering names in the Indian fashion industry, Hemant Trevedi dominated the circuit from the ’80s to the early 2000s. His fashion expertise went beyond designing; he was a mentor to designer Anita Dongre and has groomed the country’s finest beauty pageant winners like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Hemant was also responsible for setting up the premiere fashion Institute NIFT, which now produces some of India’s brightest fashion talents.

Hemant Trevedi and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan 

Hemant’s career trajectory took an unprecedented halt when he met with an accident in 2000 that led to a long hiatus from fashion. Although he continued to teach, mentor and design after his recovery, his presence in the industry became fleeting. Today, at 61, Hemant is making a comeback by launching an eponymous label with The Purple Style Lab and is ready for round two. The designer spoke to ELLE exclusively about his first collection, the future vision for his label and his slow but steady approach towards fashion.

ELLE: What was the inspiration behind the much-awaited collection, Paradoxical Shadows?

Hemant Trevedi (HT): When you go through an adverse situation in life, you want to challenge those odds and rise again. When you’re in a stressful situation or on a flat line, you have nowhere to go, and therefore you have to go up or down. This is what I wanted to challenge and celebrate the fact that even though a horizontal line, you can still keep going. That’s how the idea of Paradoxical Shadows came through for me. For me, paradoxical essentially means something beyond all logical and valid reasoning but still has a truth behind it. I wanted to celebrate this contradictory concept.

Hemant Trevedi

Hemant Trevedi’s new collection Paradoxical Shadow 

ELLE: Ditching the vertical lines that are conventionally followed in fashion, you’ve chosen to go horizontal; why is that and how challenging was it?

HT: As the basic mindset for most designers is to create fashion vertically, to give the illusion of a long line and silhouette, I have challenged this reasoning and celebrated the horizontal line. The fact is, if you can celebrate the horizontal line with thought, you can also create great beauty from it. From square necklines, garment cutaways and hemlines to tonal shadowed ombre colouring and fabrics banded together, various elements of the garments from my collection applaud the horizontal line. So despite all logical conclusions, I have contradicted the norm that most people follow.

Hement Trevedi

Hemant Trevedi’s new collection Paradoxical Shadow 

ELLE: Tell us about the launch of your label in collaboration with Purple Style Labs?

HT: At a time of my life when I was beginning to wonder, what lies ahead, I was told by the young director (of Purple Style Labs) himself that he’d love to have me on board, and it would be an absolute honour. The fact that I am being celebrated at this stage of my life when most people usually give up speaks about how wonderful the feeling is. I now have a young team working with me who give me the respect and immense recognition to make me realise the essence of my valid contribution to the growth of the fashion industry at large. I am blessed to be associated with the young minds at Purple Style Labs. Just having someone adorn a piece of clothing that is truly a Hemant Trevedi creation, I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Hemant Trevedi’s new collection Paradoxical Shadow 

ELLE: After becoming a household name in fashion for many decades, what made you dial down your approach and how has that changed your position in the industry?

HT: Be it the Miss India wardrobes that I have designed for all our International winners, namely, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Lara Dutta Bhupati, Dia Mirza, Yukta Mukhi and Diana Hayden, or all the work I’ve accomplished and contributed to as a designer in the fashion industry so far, I have never been inclined towards promoting myself and have consciously shied away from the limelight. I have always allowed my work to do the talking for me and have been recognised by many fashion stalwarts as a man who always did it right. After having done all of that, I didn’t want to be a part of any race, which is why doing things at my own pace is of utmost importance to me.

Hemant Trevedi

Hemant Trevedi’s new collection Paradoxical Shadow 

ELLE: Besides designing, you’ve also mentored young fashion enthusiasts. How has that facet affected your journey?

HT: As a professor and a mentor, I still have students from years ago, reach out to me and shower me with their appreciation for my contributions. I have grown so much in that process of spending time with the youth. Sitting with a young student designer with big dreams in their eyes is what gives me the scope to move from one fabulous mind to another. This is why I’m so thankful and elated for being so loved among young designers, many of who have become stars today.

Hemant Trevedi’s new collection Paradoxical Shadow 

ELLE: With a glimpse of your first collection, what are the other new things that can be expected from the brand in the near future?

HT: My new collection is all about real clothing catering for real women of all sizes and ages, which is why my clothes are retailing from XS to 3XL. One thing you can always expect from my clothing is the timelessness of the outfits. They will never be dated and can be worn for all seasons, together or as separates, which is essentially my brand philosophy.

Designer Hemant Trevedi 

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