Mona and Pali, the sister duo from Bengal, have placed Kolkata on the national map, with their passion for designing. Though they initially went into different professions, they soon gave in to their inner desire, a natural aesthetic urge, and opted out of their respective careers to pursue their dream with total dedication and determination. They started from home in 1985 at the request of their friends, who had persuaded them to design their clothes, which they executed competently and successfully.
In 1987, they flagged off their boutique ‘Monapali’ in Kolkata making their dream a reality. They moved on to become stalwarts of the Indian Fashion industry, retailing through their outlets in New Delhi (Hauz Khas Village), Ahmedabad and other prominent stores all over India.
Their clothes range from casuals to heavy formals, and are an eclectic mix of design elements- most of which are inspirations from the ethnic cultural roots of India. An unconventional mix of mediums makes the designs distinctly Monapali – be it in textures, textiles, print or embroidery. They revived Kantha, Folk (Madhubani, Warli, Patta Chitrai) tribal motifs and the Alpana from the realms of obscurity and elevated it to the status of haute couture culture. For them each collection is a challenge, and they work with whatever has triggered, intrigued and excited their creativity.
They represented India in China in the ‘Festival of India’ in 1994 and the Bridal summit- Asia Pacific in 1999, in New Delhi. Quiet, reticent and self-effacing, they are considered by fashion pundits as the ‘Silent Contributors’ to the revival of simplicity on the catwalk.
Two names who have taken Indian fashion industry to great heights are Shantanu and Nikhil. They are labeled, both on the young global and trendy Indian markets of garments. Shantanu has done his MBA from University of Toledo, Ohio, USA and Nikhil has passed from FIDM (Fashion Institute of Fashion & Merchandise) Los Angeles. The two brothers are in the business of manufacturing Indian ethnic garments of high quality. They founded their new brand label in 1998 which is called ‘Shantanu and Nikhil’. This business of designing and entrepreneurship are not new for their family. Shantanu had the feeling that Indian fashion industry had no professionalism thought it has all the ingredients of like creativity, fabrics of huge variety, a treasure of ‘kashidkari’, which can prosper in this industry.
Shantanu easily understood the market and it wants and the various elaborations involved in their effective product marketing due to his degree in management. Nikhil has always been creative and his fashion design program in Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, California has helped him to hone his skills. Nikhil has been awarded with many prestigious awards and scholarships. Nikhil was even invited to design a collection for “Georgio Beverly Hills” in Los Angeles”. The designer brothers are focused on simple yet sophisticated designs. Their superb and unique designs have attracted many bollywood stars and famous sports personalities .They have their two signature stores in the prime locations of New Delhi and their label is also internationally famous. They have also taken parts in many Lakme Fashion Shows
Ritu Beri: From Mumbai to London.
One of the leading female fashion designers in India is Ritu Beri, a name known to all fashion alerts. In the year 1987, Ritu completed her graduation from the Delhi University. During this interval which followed she was motivated to do something and she started designing outfits for herself and later created clothes for her friends. Ritu was quite a creative person from childhood and in the year 1988, she took admission in the National Institute of Fashion Technology, which has a F.I.T, New York affiliation and had just opened in Delhi. Ritu was in the first batch which had 25 students. In 1991, she started to design for Liberty, Regent Street, London.
Ritu Beri is immensely talented and this gave her the most favorable opportunity to get training with Francois Lesage, master creator and embroiderer, in Paris. The year 1995 marked for Ritu for her launching of the brand ‘SANSKRITI’. She had divided her collection into 4 sequences and her creations were the outcome of the vivacious Indian cultural heritage. The only Indian fashion designers to be featured in promostyl’s magazine ‘Acustyl’ which forecasts fashion trends worldwide is Ritu Beri. She has written a personal fashion book, ‘101 Ways to Look Good’. Ritu has introduced her new unique line of animal styled products range called ‘Caring means sharing’. The collection comprises T-shirts, caps, stuffed toys, jugs, notepads, posters, postcards, pens and key chains. Ritu is the first and the only Indian designer to present her creations at “la semaine de la haute couture” in Paris.
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla are regarded as the big boys of the fashion industry. They have been creating magic and mesmerizing people for over two decades. Both are regarded the first names of the Indian fashion industry to make it big though success, attention, fame and also hype. Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla were one of the first who made a display of their creations at Harrods. They have captivated the world with their extensive and exclusive designs. Their unique creations make them a stand apart from the rest. Both of them have come from different backgrounds and they have no formal training in fashion designing. Though they lack the formal training their designs are no less good than other. With their ethnic fashion and innovative designs Abu and Sandeep has taken the Indian fashion industry to great heights.
Abu and Jani had met in a café in Mumbai where they decided to enter the fashion world with their shawl designs, but soon they started designing garments. Abu and Sandeep has designed for well known personalities like as Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Dimple Kapadia, Parmeshwar Godrej together with international personalities like Dame Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Lindy Hemming and Sophie Marceau. Their designs are sought after in many charitable events including the Art of Giving Charity, British Council’s Enduring Image Exhibition and Save the Children Charity. Their remarkable journey is documented in the book ‘A Celebration of Style’ which was launched in 2000. Abu and Sandeep were honored with the 2003 Designer Wars Championship in London.
Anamika Khanna: A mix of East and West !
Anamika Khanna can be regarded as the one of the top Indian fashion designers of the Indian fashion industry. Her innovative and unique designs have given a new dimension to the Indian fashion. She has no formal training in fashion designing. She won the ‘Damania Fashion Awards’ which paved way for her career to start on a promising note. And within a small span of time, Anamika Khanna became very famous which definitely is the result of her being so talented. The traditional crafts keeps Khanna busy with her business in India. She is one of the two fashion designers from Kolkata to have come in the limelight in the recent past.
Anamika Khanna was also awarded with the Damania Fashion Hall of Fame, the Exports Council Award and the Texcellence Award for Outstanding Boutique. Her work basically comprises two lines – Pret and Couture. Anamika Khanna is one of the most talented fashion designers of India and is most likely to make a mark in the international front as well with her effortless mixture of traditions of India with Western styles. Designer Anamika Khanna has already launched in 2004 her international label Ana-Mika all around the world. She is the first ever designer from India to do it. She believes in designing the international clothes in an international way. She also emphasizes on the Indian touch in her designs which make those the most unique. Her newness in the designs will surely take the Indian fashion industry to the top in the coming years.
Neeta Lulla is full of sincerity and dedication.
Neeta Lulla is a well-known name not only in the Indian fashion industry but also throughout the world of fashion. She has designed for one and all in the Indian film industry. It will be hard to name a film person for whom Neeta has not created wonders with her designs. Her sincerity and dedication in her work always blossom in her magnificent designs. The clients in her kitty include Bollywood biggies like Sridevi, Juhi Chawla, Tabu, former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, Raveena Tandon, Mahima Chaudhary and Shilpa Shetty. Neeta has designed for a number of films of Bollywood. Starting from the lily white ‘salwaar kameez’ which Sridevi wore in ‘Chandni’ to the shimmering mirror worked ‘chaniya choli’ of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to the opulence of ‘Taal’ and to the rich vibrance of ‘Devdas’, Neeta has designed for all.
Neeta Lulla has even designed for the period film ‘Kisna’ which was directed by Subhas Ghai. Neeta feels that designing for this periodic film was most challenging and toughest till date. She had to go for lots of research, Neeta had to design in such a way that it should appeal to the director ad the audiences and also should match with the background. Neeta has a flagship store. This store has benefited those who wanted to buy her clothes but did not know how to approach her. The two lines of designs on display are Diffusion (Neeta Lulla Nishq) and Bridal (Neeta Lulla Coutre). Neeta Lulla is regarded as one of the best designers till date.
The lady who pioneered fashion: Ritu Kumar
The lady who pioneered the term ‘fashion’ in the Indian context is none other than the famous fashion designer from India Ritu Kumar. Her major contribution has been in reviving the Indian traditional craft and design. She is one of those very few who has emphasized the importance of hand-made products because it can be cost-effective and looks more gorgeous than machine made clothes. More than two decades back, Ritu had started with hand block printers in a village near Kolkata. Now she has come a long way with her dedicated and committed designers. Her work mainly focuses on cotton, silk and leather. Her forte is traditional Indian clothes, which mainly highlights on India’s textile and embroidery. But she also gives importance to the combination of Indian and western wear.
This Indo-West wear has block prints trapping, embroidery and craft input on a western style. Ritu Kumar has designed the wardrobes for Miss India like Manpreet Brar, Rani Jeyraj, Ruchi Malhotra, and Lara Dutta during their preparation for the international pageant. And they were all awarded with the Most Outstanding Evening Gown in International pageants. She has a boutique named after her ‘Ritu’s Boutique and has many outlets throughout India. Ritu Kumar has launched her book ‘Costumes and Textiles of Royal India’. International personalities like Late Princess Diana, and Jemima Khan wear her outfits. The awards which she has won include ‘Lifetime Achievement Award set by NIFT’ , ‘Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur Award by PHDCC’ and ‘ Lifetime achievement award at the Kingfisher Fashion Fantasia’.