From countless brand acquisitions by Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL) and Reliance Brands Limited (RBL) to a flux of established designers re-routing via the prêt pathway, the Indian fashion industry has recently been witness to ample reshuffling and strategising. While the concept of housing an off-shoot line alongside your existing offerings is, in no way, uncharted territory, the exponential embrace of the same indicates the obvious–moolah and timely expansion.
The textbook definition of luxury promises exclusivity, and a fashionably snobbish hard-shell, but true luxury doesn’t associate itself with the aforementioned. On being asked about what luxury means to Amit Aggarwal, he said, “To me, luxury is an investment in tomorrow. As a generation, we have driven a large in part of the economy towards sustained growth, and I believe we do deserve to splurge on the things that make us feel special and create a life we love. However, the need of the hour is conscious consumption to ensure we leave the future a little brighter than we found it. I believe what we purchase today shapes our future. True luxury is something that speaks to you today and tomorrow.” Charged with helming his eponymous couture la-bel along with AM.IT, his ready-to-wear line, the Delhi-based designer’s staggering repertoire balances grandeur with practicality, making a strong case for affordable luxury.
Moving on to another growing prêt label, acclaimed designer JJ Valaya’s bridge-to-luxury line JJV Kapurthala has managed to climb the ranks in a short period of time. When quizzed about the same, Valaya explained a solid reasoning to back this move. “For a long time, I had wanted to create a bridge-to-luxury line, one that could reach out to a much wider audience. Because the simple fact remains that there is a very large amount of people who love the Valaya ethos but aren’t getting married at the moment, and therefore, the couture line would be something that they can’t go to again and again. The idea was to create something which reflects the DNA of the brand but is more accessible so that a larger number of people can sort of enjoy the Valaya look and feel. I also wanted to do something which is a tribute to the place where I come from, which is Punjab, and more specifically, Kapurthala.
It is the land of my forefathers. So both these desires sort of met together, and I decided to go ahead with JJV Kapurthala.”In the midst of team couture and team prêt, the question bound to cross our minds is how well designers are adapting their sensibilities in different formats. While both can bloom from the designer’s vision, it’s natural to ponder how they could successfully retain their aesthetic sensibilities when designing a prêt line alongside couture offerings. Where do they draw the line? How do they mellow down their existing design frame-work without losing their essence?
Varun Bahl presents his take, “I have always believed that a prêt line has to be an extension of one’s existing couture collection rather than a separate entity altogether. While the prêt line has to be more accessible to a wider audience, it is also tasked with the responsibility of adding solid design value and enhancing a customer’s personal style, just like a couture collection. With both my labels, I have always aimed to create a line that is timeless and versatile so that each piece can be styled in a variety of ways and act as an unforgettable piece in one’s wardrobe.”It’s safe to conclude that the definition of luxury is subjective.
While it might be an armoire full of Birkins to someone, it may also signify a conscious wardrobe in the making, which houses relatively affordable timeless pieces. The new fashion order definitely warrants a more inclusive and practical approach, one that appreciates the allure of pared-down pieces, and these designers are successfully iterating the relevance of this move.
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