The Indian couture industry has been burgeoning, and there is certainly no looking back. Be it the runway, online boutiques or homegrown and independent labels, the massive influx of designers wanting to venture into the realm of couture or bespoke is visibly framing the course of Indian couture today. The country has been witnessing an enormous hodgepodge of fashion shows where trends are forged, collections are launched and yet another designer gets studded into the rampant growth of fast fashion and ready-to-wear arena which has been dictating the current fashion scenario. Today, more than ever, the frequency of fashion shows and collections has been rather steep, and while that may fetch considerable media exposure and commercial gains, the same cannot be said of the creative aspect. Gavin Miguel, who many of us may know as the eminent designer and stylist making ripples in fashion and Bollywood alike, has not only carved himself a niche, but he also precisely understands the caveats in the direction the industry is taking. For him, it is simple – the dauntingly engaging boldness, scintillation and femininity in his clothes are visibly a reflection of his views, which he has conveyed to us ever-so-fearlessly. From designing and styling for films, having had a fair share of national and international clientele and also showcasing his work at international shows like Saks and Haute Coiffure Française, Gavin has now developed a design sensibility which is essentially exclusive to him. In a rather candid conversation, he talks to us about the factors which are driving the Indian fashion industry today, boldly dismissing the idea of unremitting fashion weeks and the commercialization and creative degradation which comes with it. Excerpts from the interview:
The Fashion Enterprise: When was your eponymous label established, and what inspired you to establish the same?
Gavin Miguel: We were professionally available since 15 years, when our doors opened to collections and mainly, customized clothes.
TFE: How has the Indian prêt and couture scene in India changed over the years?
GM: Change is inevitable. In the last few years, we have witnessed a boom in fast fashion. I don’t necessarily believe that it is creatively directional, but more business-driven.
TFE: Today, fast fashion and ready-to- wear has gained a lot of impetus due to increasing demands from buyers and consumers, resulting in the dwindling down of bespoke fashion. What do you think can be done to balance it all?
GM: Some of our brands need to get a reality check and not indulge in hogwash just for the sake of putting up collections every month, or while doing so, it is better to launch capsule collections. It is so sad to see more than 20 odd fashion weeks all over the country; that just speaks a lot. Designers add to this fast fashion and fast-paced chaos while doing these numerous shows.
TFE: You have also dabbled into designing and styling for ad films, music videos and celebrity calendars. How different is that from designing independently or for a fashion show?
GM: Working for films is something related to my creative space and time. It is my way of calming down, an outlet for the creative energy within my soul. It is not too strayed from my collections because there are no holds barred for creative work. My experience in shoots and film are visibly helpful in my collections as it lends me a sensibility of light, colour and feel. My understanding of design is so much stronger due to that.
TFE: You have a great retail repertoire in countries across the globe. How did that manifest?
GM: Travel has always been important to me. With that came a lot of luck through chance meetings, and I eventually started showcasing my work internationally. From there, it has only been uphill; the journey has been more than satisfying.
TFE: Perhaps the underlining attribute to almost all your designs is that they are quite outspoken, bold and contemporary. What has been the inspiration for the same?
GM: It is simple. I create designs and forms that I firmly believe in. For me, the bold and outspoken element is important. So many people from different walks of life are doing the same. It is an expression of speaking from within which translates into my work.
TFE: Do you think that concepts like instant gratification and ‘see-now- buy-now’ can hinder the designer’s creative process?
GM: I think media and hearsay plays an important role in trumpeting trends. It is mainly the prêt and fast fashion spheres which are in a hurry. Doing the same styles repeatedly, just in different ways, is a huge farce according to me.
Photograph Courtesy: Gavin Miguel