“Maku looks at our ev­ery­day cul­tural mi­lieu with a fresh pair of eyes”

India Today - - FASHION -

One of the rea­sons I picked San­tanu Das’ Maku as a de­signer to look out for is be­cause when I first re­turned to In­dia, one of my big­gest in­spi­ra­tions was a woman called Asha Sarab­hai. She was a de­signer who used to make won­der­ful prod­ucts in In­dia as well as cre­ate beau­ti­ful clothes for the Miyake De­sign Stu­dio in Ja­pan. The big rev­e­la­tion for me, hav­ing grown up in In­dia be­fore the big fash­ion revo­lu­tion took place, was to be able to take In­dian hand­loom fab­ric and de­sign gar­ments re­ally beau­ti­fully with an ex­quis­ite fin­ish us­ing only lo­cal craft tech­niques, whether it was pin­tuck­ing or the kan­gri jali de­tail. Her clothes were avail­able in In­dia for a very brief pe­riod of time. Sev­eral years later, when I saw Maku’s line, I felt it had the same sen­si­bil­ity but in­ter­preted in a com­pletely in­di­vid­ual way. San­tanu Das’ la­bel uses a lot of Ben­gal cot­ton and jam­dani. He makes ex­tremely con­tem­po­rary gar­ments that are well fin­ished, el­e­gant and com­fort­able and not ex­or­bi­tantly priced, all of which are key fac­tors I look for in a gen-next de­signer.

Even as I say that Maku re­minds me of Sarab­hai, it is still a very dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent aes­thetic. Both Sarab­hai and Das have dis­tinct points of view. Das has a very orig­i­nal stake on fash­ion. Sim­i­larly, when Pero burst on to the scene eight years ago, the la­bel took very lo­cal, ev­ery­day things and pre­sented them so beau­ti­fully. That is what made it spe­cial. Maku looks at our ev­ery­day cul­tural mi­lieu with a fresh pair of eyes and then comes up with a unique vo­cab­u­lary that has al­ways ex­isted but is still new and ex­cit­ing.

While I think its lovely that gen-next de­sign­ers are do­ing novel things with hand­loom, I don’t think it’s a nec­es­sary pre­req­ui­site to use strictly In­dian fab­rics. Payal Khand­wala, for in­stance, is do­ing a crushed cape which is not a lo­cal fab­ric. She sim­ply found an in­ter­est­ing fab­ric and shaped it dif­fer­ently. So, es­sen­tially, it’s all about an idea and how you ex­e­cute it.

I wear Maku a lot and some of my favourite pieces are a jam­dani cre­ation, a sim­ple, long white pin­tucked kurta. I also love his Indigo col­lec­tion which has some re­ally charm­ing sa­rees that have a voice of their own and re­ally stand out.


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