An inimitable style to call our own

An inimitable style to call our own
For someone who was completely clueless about fashion weeks or fashionistas when he debuted in the Gen Next 2007 of Lakme Fashion Week, Kolkata-based Debarun Mukherjee has made quite a name for himself in the world of couture. With pan-India client base, which is slowly spreading to international shores, the label Debarun has become a force to reckon with in the fashion industry today.

“One needs to be creative and know the pulse of the people,’’ says Debarun about his success on the eve of his show at the recently concluded Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) Spring Summer 2016.

He believes that a designer has to be open to suggestions and ideas, and incorporate those creatively in his/her own style to come up with sparkling designs. “I don’t subscribe to the idea where a designer feels that as s/he is the creative person, s/he should be liked by everyone. I listen to ideas from my brother Shubharun, who is my main support in planning and expanding our brand, and others too. Probably, that is the secret of our label’s success,’’ admits the low-profile designer, who in these days of social media craze, has very little presence on it.

The black sheep
Debarun recollects how he was almost termed a black sheep in his family, for they  couldn’t think of fashion as a profession. Though he loved to experiment with colours and fabrics and also dress up his mother right from his childhood, he did bow down to family pressure to complete his commerce degree and even got admitted to Mumbai’s Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies to pursue further studies. All this so that one day he could take over the family business.

“One year of management college and I decided to quit. Cajoled mom and she in turn convinced dad and then started my entry into the world of fashion,’’ recalls the designer. Armed with a fashion degree from London School of Fashion and the experience of working with Pitambari’s export operations, he launched his label ‘Debarun’ in 2006.

Today, Debarun believes, most Indians are a confused lot in the way they dress up. “Earlier, we had our distinct identity — women wore saris and men were attired either in dhoti-kurta or achkan-chudidar pajama. Everyone looked graceful, elegant and on the world arena, we made a mark of our own inimitable style.’’

But nowadays many don’t know what to wear, if one should follow trends or stick to what suits them. Debarun is of the opinion that one should stick to what is comfortable and what suits the person. “Saris are my evergreen favourite, especially khadi saris. They are so beautiful and I love their texture and they suit every one. Even if I am showcasing in New York or London, I must have a couple of saris in my collection.’’

Another constant is his love for embroidery. From the day he stepped into the world of fashion, he became known for his stylised use of embroidery. It has almost become his trademark, be it menswear or womenswear. He uses embroidery on Western, Indian and fusion wears.

Embroidery had, perhaps, never looked more beautiful and trendy as it did when he judicially exploited the beauty of Indian needle work. 

Admitting to his weakness, Debarun says, “I enjoy embroidery, particularly the part of mixing colourful threads and beading using different stitches. The mystery of the motif unfolding is mesmerising. I love zardozi, chikankari, phulkari and every other style found across India. There are many more varieties of embroidery I haven’t yet used. After all, India has such a rich culture of hand embroidery, that one can continue to explore it forever.”

Beauty of shapes
But for his latest collection at AIFW, he showcased geometric screen prints — geometry was his favourite subject in school, he says. So he wanted to explore the intriguing figures in his collection.

Debarun’s designs have been worn by celebrities like Aditi Rao Hydari, Chitrangada Singh, Aditya Roy Kapur and Richa Chadda, to name a few.

His collections have something in store for everyone. He retails Luxury Pret, which is more of an everyday statement having classical nuances of style, fusing them with simplicity and a dash of glamour that fits easily into any wardrobe. He retails out of leading fashion stores across India, UK, UAE and US. He also has Form Debarun, where every design is crafted by using an optimal blend of classical design elements with modern techniques. “I want women to fall in love with their grandmothers’ style!’’

Being in love with Indian embroidery, fabrics and colours, label Debarun Weaves was started to help weavers and craftsmen, especially those living in West Bengal. At present, Debarun Weaves is collaborating with ‘The India Story’, an initiative of contemporary Indian designs and arts which is being held in Kolkata till November 2, 2015.

With all this talk of fashion, trends and innumerable fashion weeks, the designer admits that on the international market, Indian designers have still not been able to make a mark. “If you ask me whether we have been able to produce a Versace, a Prada or an Alexander McQueen, then no. Keeping Indian sensibilities in mind, we have to figure out international fashion needs. We have to work hard not only on our designs, but also on our marketing skills!’’ signs off the designer.

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