Previously for our Fashion issue we featured designer Nitin Chawla of Theorem; creating designs with a gender-bending twist. Staying true to his sensibility and experimentation, as an artist he is unafraid of flying outside the fashion industry’s conventions and norms. Excerpts from the interview.
How has your creative process evolved, and has it changed over time?
Evolution is a natural process. With the passage of each season, I realise that a designer’s success is measured by the ability to create fashionable garments featuring new ideas, which customers want to buy. Trend-spotting, attending fashion shows and exhibitions, travelling overseas, referring to fashion journals etc., all this I guess has made my creative process evolve. Commercial viability, customer’s demand and production feasibility have slightly altered/changed my creative process, as now I firmly believe that for a design to be successful, it should ultimately sell.
Do you keep any gender in mind while designing? And what influences your art?
Yes I do keep gender in mind while designing, but with the passage of time, I ultimately started designing pieces that both genders could adopt for their wardrobes. Reason being, many of our men’s pieces were ordered by our female clients in their sizes, and few stores even started placing orders for our men’s styles for female clients at their request.
Theorem portrays that our subconscious mind has the ability to let our deeper thoughts resurface, and contemplate them in ‘Detail’. Then, ‘Storytelling & Expression’ are the two tools that give greater meaning to the products beyond their utilitarian purposes. This philosophy greatly influences our art.
Gender fluidity has been building up in fashion for a few years. Last year, non-gendered clothes progressed even further. In your opinion, what is the significance of the new trend?
I think that this trend of gender fluidity/non-gender clothing is going to stay for a good time. What we’re seeing nowadays is a profound shift in fashion, a widening acceptance of a style. Practically speaking, gender fluidity is going to prove a boon for designers. By showing men’s and women’s looks in tandem, we would be saving time and money, and honing an identity.
Lastly, describe your overall design vocabulary. When conceptualising a new piece, what is the most important aspect to you?
Whenever conceptualising anything, I start with the doodles/sketches. At the same time, I keep in mind the varied preferences of the different consumer groups that I cater to. My first task is to conduct a research on my market and to forecast the trends most likely to be successful and liked. When I say forecast the trends, I mean to narrow down upon the details/ trends, which would be something new for the customer, and at the same time sellable. I go with my intuition and take this further. The research process also involves sourcing materials and trims and most importantly, the fabric. Finally, the most important aspect to me is: when and where to stop… as at times it might lead to what we call ‘Overdone’.
Text Shruti Kapur Malhotra
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