The Indian fashion industry has churned out some of the finest fashion designers including stalwarts like Ritu Kumar as well as talented youngsters such as Kanika Goyal and Priyanka Ella Lorena Lama, to name a few. These designers have skillfully blended traditional techniques with modern patterns and have succeeded in creating a place for Indian fashion in the global fashion world. Let’s have a quick look at India’s top 10 fashion designers:
1. Ritu Kumar: Ritu Kumar first launched her label in 1969 from a small studio on the outskirts of Kolkata. Today, she is the proud owner of one of India’s biggest brands with 27 stores in various parts of the country. As a veteran designer, Ritu Kumar is known for blending traditions with sophistication, collaborating with India’s most talented craftsmen and using fine Indian fabrics to create the world’s most stunning designs. This evergreen designer has received prestigious awards such as France’s “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” and the Padma Shri Award for her significant contributions to the field of fashion.
2. Masaba Gupta: After completing her studies in apparel manufacture and design from Mumbai’s SNDT University in 2009, Masaba launched her label, “Masaba” and first showcased her collections at Lakme Fashion Week’s Gen Next Show for new designers. Highlighting vibrant designs, funky prints and airy fabrics, her outfits became an instant hit. Bollywood celebrities including Shilpa Shetty and Bipasha Basu have flaunted her collections. The young designer is also the recipient of a couple of awards including the L’Oreal Paris Femina Award for “Best Emerging Designer” in 2012 and PETA India’s award for “Most Talented Designer” in 2013.
3. Bibhu Mohapatra: Bibhu had initially decided to pursue his studies in economics in the United States. However, his passion for fashion designing took him to New York where he completed his studies in designing at the reputable Fashion Institute of Technology. Soon after, he received the Critics’ Award for “Best Evening Wear Designer of the Year” in 1997. After assisting high end designers namely, Halston and J. Mendel, he launched his own label in 2008. This versatile designer is known for his versatile and free flowing evening dresses. His designs have been flaunted by famous personalities such as former First Lady of United States, Michelle Obama.
4. Manish Malhotra: Born in London and brought up in Mumbai, Manish Malhotra first entered the world of fashion as a model before he became a costume designer in 1990. Today, he is one of the most well-known designers in India. Manish launched his couture label in 1998 and created a name for himself in mainstream fashion. Having created costumes for more than 1000 movies, his designs have a luxurious charm interspersed with modern designs and vibrant Indian patterns.
5. Payal Singhal: Coming from a family of creative professionals, Payal’s entry into the world of design might not be surprising. She proved her mettle as a 15-year-old when she won the Shoppers Stop Designer of the Year Award. Under her label, “Payal,” she creates unique made-to-order pieces and ready-to-wear bridal wear with a mix of bold and traditional designs inspired by South Asian culture. At present, she owns a flagship store in Mumbai along with retail outlets in Hong Kong, the middle East and USA.
6. Manish Arora: After launching his self-titled label in 1997, Delhi based fashion designer Manish Arora first presented his collection at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2005 for which he received excellent reviews. Later, in 2007, after an extremely successful show at the Paris Fashion Week, he was invited to the reputable French Federation of Pret-a-Porter. Arora’s colorful and vibrant Indian prints have been worn by international celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Kate Perry.
7. Priyanka Ella Lorena Lama: An alumna of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Bengaluru, Priyanka Ella Lorena Lama is one of India’s leading new generation fashion designers. She showcased her pret-a-porter collection under her label, P.E.L.L.A., at the Lakme Fashion Week Gen Next Summer/Resort 2015 Show. Her design philosophy is “beauty in imperfection” and her designs feature natural fabrics and handcrafted details.
8. Tarun Tahiliani: This versatile designer has made multiple contributions to the Indian fashion industry. After the successful launch of the first multi-designer boutique, “Ensemble” in 1987, he went on to establish his studio in 1990 and became known as the first Indian fashion designer who participated at the Milan Fashion Week. His designs offer a perfect mix of international cutting styles and Indian craftsmanship coupled with modern techniques such as digital textile printing.
9. Kanika Goyal: After graduating from NIFT, New Delhi and Parson’s School of Design, New York, Kanika Goyal began her career by working with high profile labels such as Marchesa, Bibhu Mohapatra and Prada. In 2014, she launched her self-titled label and showcased her Summer Resort Collection—Creatures of the Night at Lakme Fashion Week as a Gen Next designer.
10. Sabyasachi Mukherjee: This Kolkata based designer graduated from NIFT, Kolkata in 1999 and began his career with humble beginnings. Within a short span of two years, he won the Femina British Council’s “Most Outstanding and Young Designer of India” award. Following this award, he bagged the opportunity to complete his internship with Georgina von Etzdorf—an eclectic designer at Salisbury, London. He went on to win the “Grand Winner” award at the Mercedes Benz New Asia Fashion Week in Singapore. His design mantra is “personalized imperfection of the human hands.” Featuring patchwork embellishments and bright colors, his designs have adorned several Bollywood celebrities in movies such as Baabul, Raavan, Guzaarish and English Vinglish.