The organisers of LFW Mumbai (don't get it confused with London's LFW) listed their Next Gen and Emerging Designers back in January, so I've picked a few of my favourites that I'll definitely be looking out for next month.
Ilk, by Shikha Grover and Vinita Adhikari - from Noida
[Images via Ilk's website].
Dreamy textures and drapery make up Ilk's latest offering.
You may have spotted Ilk on the independent online boutique, Not Just a Label. Their most recent collection was called I Lose Myself and featured deconstructed threads, layers of different textures and pops of neon in accessories. They really push themselves to experiment with forms and with influences when they are designing (for example, I Lose Myself was based on ideas about 'what metamorphic thinking is not' and 'anatomical exploration'). Expect big ideas and wearable pieces.
Nikhil Thampi - from Mumbai
[Images via Vogue.in and Google Images].
Nikhil Thampi's vampish designs are irresistible and flattering.
The dress in the centre is completely backless except for two leather straps and was worn with leather leggings by Evelyn Sharma.
Since 2011, Thampi has been charming India with his designs, which have been seen on some seriously glamorous celebrities such as Anoushka and Evelyn Sharma. His dresses tend to involve sweeping folds of fabric, open backs and clean lines without busy patterns, making them a popular choice for red carpet events. However, there's also a quirky side to his work - see his chainmail and leather corset and a velvet dress with leather straps as examples of something a little less traditional.
Thampi always wanted to be in fashion but was set to join the family business instead. What changed his mind was when he helped out a friend who was preparing to show at Lakme Fashion Week, bringing him back into the industry. Although he isn't formally trained, his work shows that he obviously made the right choice in becoming a designer.
Aarti Vijay Gupta - from Mumbai
[Images via Vogue.in].
Gupta's creations are clever and make brilliant use of her print skills.
I've written about Aarti Vijay Gupta at LFW before, as I was so impressed by her A/W 2012 collection based on colour charts and technical patterns, mixed with black and white doodles. People have also compared her work to that of Masaba, a label which has recently focused on repeat patterns of symbols and objects, such as hand prints, cows or letters (as seen in Permia's Pop-Up Shop).
It's also worth noting that Aarti Vijay Gupta's Pantone-esque exploration of colour also saw her creating a print of shirt templates, which was echoed by Lacoste's recent use of shirt print fabric in their S/S 2013 line. Clearly conceptual ideas such as this are not exclusive to one brand, and it's great to see the trend spanning continents.
Which Lakme designers get your vote? Do you keep an eye on Fashion Week around the world? Let me know. Oh, and if you need even more persuading that India is where it's at, check out this brilliant feminist commentary from (male) designer Sabyasachi on female beauty laws.