- News >
- New Delhi >
- Analysis >
- Opinion >
- Columns >
- Supplements >
- Sunday >
- Business Matters
- Sports Scene
- Sunday Herald
- Sunday Herald ENT
- Art & Culture
- Monday >
- Tuesday >
- Wednesday >
- Thursday >
- Friday >
- Saturday >
- You May Also Like
- Horoscope >
Staying true to his style
In an exclusive conversation with Sunday Herald, Amit talks about his style of design, fashion trends and more. Some excerpts:
How would you define fashion?
According to me, fashion is when you make an extra effort to choose what works with the season’s trends and then make it work for your style. Style is your individual expression of your personality through your appearance.
Tell us about your journey till date.
I have definitely evolved as a designer and even more so as a person. I guess when you evolve as a person, it does reflect on your work as well. Over the years, I have dabbled in many forms of art, taken a keen interest in architecture, and the crafts and culture of different countries. Also, my frequent travels to far-flung places have enriched my creative prowess and broadened my horizon. Also, I feel freer in my expression of creativity and critics do not bother me anymore. But they used to, when I started. I would not have held my own and reached higher echelons in the fashion world if I had listened to them.
In hindsight, I don’t think there would have been anything that I would have done differently in my first show that I won’t do now, except for the colours; I would be bolder now. All these years of experience has added to a unique repertoire of looks and patterns that serve me as an archive for a lifetime. However, I like to create new looks and patterns, and will continue to do so till I retire.
What’s the difference in dressing up people from Hollywood, Bollywood and royal families?
Hollywood celebs, even if they are styled by a stylist, choose outfits according to an event or occasion. For instance, for a press meet, they would wear a simple sheath dress, for a TV interview, they would wear a slightly more upscale short dress. They usually keep gowns for awards or premieres. Whereas in Bollywood, barring a few, celebs would want to wear the most upscale outfit even for a press call, which is totally inappropriate sometimes. Also, unlike in Bollywood, in Hollywood, female actors don’t ask to be dressed up for free if they are going for private events.
People from the royal families have a calendar full of events, so they usually buy for various forthcoming events way in advance. But when it comes to weddings, they would want to outdo everyone else, except the bride. They want exclusivity more than anyone else and willingly pay the premium for the same.
How easy or difficult was it for you to step into the international world of fashion?
It wasn’t a cakewalk, of course. But I have done whatever I believed in. I never did what I was not comfortable in doing, even if the market responded to it or not. Being an Indian designer, the biggest challenge I found was that I didn’t want to tweak my style for the Indian market. Some critics told me that I was supposed to do Indian ethnic styles to make a mark here. But in fact, this wasn’t half true. Indian market, especially when I started, was predominantly ethnic wear-oriented.
But I showed what I believed in. After a couple of shows in India, I started getting invitations to show my collections in Paris, Milan, London, and many other fashion capitals. My perseverance and adherence to what I believed in paid off. And the prestigious CIAE International Fashion Award that I won helped me realise that I could do anything I wanted. I just needed to follow my own instincts. I brought the concept of completely western evening gowns in India about nine years back, and today no Indian wedding is complete without a gown outfit.
You have a client base spread across continents. Where do you find the best-dressed men and women?
I find women in London and New York very well dressed, and men in Milan and New York are best dressed.
Whom have you enjoyed dressing up the most?
I have enjoyed dressing up Deepika Padukone the most. She fits in my dresses perfectly. She really knows how to carry evening gowns well. Apart from her, I enjoyed dressing up Jacqueline Fernandes and Esha Gupta; they make any outfit work.
Your fashion favourites...
Apart from blacks and whites, I like chartreuse, all sorts of pinks and purples. I like to use organza, crepe de chines and duchesse satins. I like silhouettes that will not make you look sloppy or frumpy. I like my women to look elegant even if they wear sportswear.
Your clothes spell luxury. How can ordinary people wear your clothes?
Anything that I design has to go through three design principles of mine: luxe, power and seduction. So, I like to use sensual fabrics in powerful silhouettes that scream luxury. However, apart from my two luxury lines, haute couture and diffusion line, I have recently launched Amit GT jeans line, which is actually very affordable and is all about elegant casuals.
What’s your advice for women who want to dress for their workplaces?
They have to understand fashion and style first. First of all, leave the baggage of where you have come from, and discover your individual style. Even if you are working in a company that does not allow you to make a bold fashion statement, do not jettison your fashion sense. Make that extra effort. Nobody is asking to leave your routine salon appointments or tone down your grooming. And when it comes to clothes, you will be surprised at how many varied selections you can make from neutral colours like white, beige or grey. Strong appearances are always welcome in the corporate world. Make sure you are noticed every time you make an appearance.
Fashion is not about making you wear something that you feel absurd about. You have to channel your inner style to help you realise what works for you in fashion. All successful people look well groomed and well dressed when you see them in a magazine. We, as humans, are conditioned to like people who 'appear’ to be successful.
What would you say is your contribution to the Indian handloom industry?
I find Indian textiles extremely beautiful. But the ones made in small powerlooms or handlooms with shoddy finishes often get rejected during strict quality control processes. I would be happy to partner with government bodies to improve the quality of handloom and powerloom fabrics. Meanwhile, I do show my contribution in using our beautiful hand embroideries in my own motifs, and give employment to hundreds of artisans who do embroideries for us even in remote areas.
What’s your take on the mushrooming of fashion schools today?
I don’t think it’s a good trend to have fashion colleges in every city, like computer institutes. I have been invited to many such institutes and visited a few of them. I must say that most of the students there are clueless about what they are doing. Most end up changing their field or wait cluelessly for a great job. However, good institutes like NIFT or Pearl, or few others have a good pool of talent that gets absorbed into the industry.
Do fashion weeks help the cause of fashion today?
Major fashion weeks in India, like India Fashion Week or Lakme Fashion Week, will remain golden opportunities for upcoming designers to get noticed. Some of them will get better responses overseas. Some of them will have a better response in India, and these platforms will get you market and recognition unlike any other platforms in the country. Today, I may be able to participate in any fashion week in the world, but how did it all begin? If I hadn’t participated in the India Fashion Week, I wouldn’t have got any opportunity abroad.