Zahra’s Checklist: 10 Indie Fashion Labels To Love
While Indian fashion is predominantly focussed on bridal wear and heavy embellishments today, a new breed of young designers are firmly putting the spotlight back on our rich history of indigenous textiles, weaves, and artisans — especially when it comes to everyday clothing. By putting forth collections that champion the cause of living more mindfully, their handcrafted clothing proudly echoes the Made In India ethos we know and love today. What’s more, they allow you to indulge and experiment with your sartorial leanings without breaking the bank. Here are my picks of 10 Indian indie brands worth knowing and loving!
One of my favourite new labels is Nicobar, launched by the good folks over at Good Earth. If you love the brand’s India chic aesthetic, then you will love Nicobar too. The brand exudes an easy tropical vibe via simple, relaxed clothing in natural fabrics, perfect for the woman who prides quality and craft over cheaper alternatives. The focus is on form, fit, and finish, and the pieces are versatile enough to be worn in many different ways.
SHOP NOW: Nicobar (starting at Rs 1,800)
2. The Meraki Project
The brainchild of designer Sonal Pamnani, The Meraki Project is an indie label worth watching. “Meraki” in Greek means the soul, creativity, or love put into something; effectively, the essence of yourself that you put into your work. And the young label has soul written all over it. It has a fun, fresh aesthetic that seamlessly blends Indian textiles with contemporary silhouettes and cheeky messaging, feeling just as much at home on a regular college girl or a bonafide fashionista.
SHOP NOW: The Meraki Project (starting at Rs 3,500)
This jewellery label by GIA-trained Siddhi Mehta creates traditional designs with a contemporary twist. All of her pieces are handmade using gold-plating and gold-foil, effectively recreating the look and feel of high-end jewellery but at guilt-free prices. Inspired by Victorian and Mughal workmanship, the intricate yet lightweight jewellery encompasses both statement pieces as well as delicate ones for the minimalist at heart — all with a very desi soul!
SHOP NOW: Mehtaphor (starting at Rs 1,100)
4. Khara Kapas
If clean cut, minimal clothing in relaxed silhouettes is your jam, then the year-old Khara Kapas is the label for you. Created by NID graduate Shilpi Yadav, Khara Kapas — or “pure cotton” in Hindi — focusses on cotton, apart from other natural fabrics like mulmul, jute, and linen. Natural dyes, block prints, and Indian motifs are used extensively to create earthy clothing that celebrates indigenous craft.
SHOP NOW: Khara Kapas (starting at Rs 1,500)
Former Elle and GQ stylist Tania Fadte has merged her high fashion styling chops with her home state Goa’s susegad, and the result is Mogachea (meaning “beloved” in Konkani). An easy chic line of hand-dyed, organic cotton and khadi garments in breezy silhouettes, Mogachea is apt for the adventurous, independent woman who is a nomad at heart. Each piece is handmade by Fadte in her home/workshop in Moira, and while she doesn’t retail online just yet, you can connect with her on the brand’s Facebook page to place orders.
SHOP NOW: Mogachea (starting at Rs 3,000)
Delhi-based designers Pranav Guglani and Neha Singh are the brains behind accessory label Cord, and specialise in creating functional handbags, laptop bags, and backpacks in leather and canvas in cool tropical and interstellar prints. They have recently launched clothing as well, and no less than Deepika Padukone debuted a top from the brand’s new collection. This is definitely a label-on-the-rise that I’m following keenly.
SHOP NOW: Cord (starting at Rs 1,500)
7. Chola by Sohaya
Long-time stylist (Neha Dhupia is a loyal fan) Sohaya Mishra finally took the plunge to design a full-blown collection only late last year, but she’s already become a bonafide rage with the fashion set. She prefers natural fabrics dyed in muted colour tones, and voluminous drapes sans embellishments are her sartorial signature. I particularly love the layers and cuts in her Lakmé Fashion Week debut collection last season, which was versatile and wearable as both separates and sets.
SHOP NOW: Chola by Sohaya (starting at Rs 4,000)
This Ahmedabad-based label started by Shaila Khubchandani is all about using organic fabrics, sustainable techniques, and ethical practices. I was first introduced to the lovely designer and her fusion wear label at NH7 Weekender in Pune in 2012, and it’s amazing to see how she has grown in both creativity and prominence over the years. If you’re a fan of western cuts with an ethnic heart, this label is for you.
SHOP NOW: Crow (starting at Rs 2,200)
When Medha Khosla was thinking about the Anomaly woman, she most likely had the urban millennial in mind — a woman who likes classic, well-tailored pieces that can easily transition from the boardroom to the bar. Her line of wardrobe essentials features silk button-downs, linen shirt dresses, and chambray pants in clean, minimal lines that perfectly echo the brand’s less-is-more aesthetic.
SHOP NOW: Anomaly (starting at Rs 2,000)
10. Iyla by Shreya Anand
Eclectic, effortless silhouettes are the hallmark of Shreya Anand’s label, Iyla. The stylist-turned-designer uses organic cottons and linens on monochrome ikats and colourful block prints to create a deeply desi-at-heart collection.
SHOP NOW: Iyla (starting at Rs 2,850)