Having completed a successful 15-year stint as Head of Design for veteran designer, Tarun Tahiliani, Aseem Kapoor set out to pursue the dream of launching his own label. Blending the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic with tribal influences, the label celebrates its uniqueness with simplicity and imperfection. ELLE caught up with the designer to know more:
ELLE: How did the idea of creating your own label come together?
Aseem Kapoor: The idea of having my own label has been brewing since I graduated from NIFT and started working professionally in 2003. I was always looking for my peculiar voice and unique story. Having some time off during the lockdown gave me extreme clarity on my priorities and vision, which led to the birth of the Aseem Kapoor label.
ELLE: Your debut collection is called Sleti. What does it mean?
AK: It is the root word for ‘slate’, a sedimentary rock made of prehistoric sand. It is the slate on which schoolchildren used to write, until the late 1970s. For me, Sleti brings back childhood memories—of listening to my grandparents’ stories that evoke nostalgia of simpler times. This collection captures that small, daily joy, and all these meanings of ‘Sleti’ come alive in the collection.
ELLE: Tell us about the traditional techniques that are employed in Sleti?
AK: You will find a large variety—from fine hand-pleating with heat, set from the Vietnamese hill tribe costumes; seam inserts held with Bengali Kantha technique; fine metal coin highlights and tessellation from nomadic tribal costumes of eastern Europe and Asia; resham thread-couching technique in zardozi needlework; indigo and sleti dip-dye in fine silks. It’s this craftsmanship with creativity and depth that we are committed to.
ELLE: What’s next for the label?
AK: Lots of beautiful wearable styles with a strong, peculiar aesthetic. There will be collaborations with artists and different brands. More than being just a design label, we aim to make the brand a platform for people from all walks to come together—through their writing, art, and design—and discuss challenges and triumphs. And it is these lived experiences that we try to translate into garments and designs that tell stories.