SS17 has given fashion lovers more trends, sub trends and micro trends than we can shake a stick at, each of them totally wearable and lustworthy. (I’m looking at you gingham). If I’m honest, SS17 is when Fashion Month got its mojo back (with the exception of NYFW which was a soaking wet, drowning squib). FW17 had a tough act to follow and early shows out of the gate at NYFW showed promise. Now Voyeurs if you don’t know, pay attention: LFW is the younger, fresher, funkier sister of NYFW, the one that everyone loves and wants to cheat with, so as all eyes turned to the British fashion capital we expected great and wonderful things….
The early days of every capital’s Fashion Week are designated for the relatively unknown, new or emerging design talent and these are often some of the best shows you’ll see. With these showcases and presentations there’s zero expectation, often because we haven’t seen seasons previous or the label hasn’t quite established its niche. Enter N&S GAIA, a rising star in Indian fashion and originating from New Delhi, the label has contributed to the successful rebirth and modernisation of Dakmanda – a hand-woven embroidery technique of the Garo tribe in North East India. The brand is also a major proponent of the exploration of upcycling and use of sustainable fabrics. Dedicated to its pillars, the ‘N’ and ‘S’ in N&S GAIA standing for Nature and Sustainability.
Founded by designer, Sidharth Sinha in 2013, the brand made its second LFW runway appearance at Fashion Scout this show season. I hotfooted it over to the Freemason’s Hall wearing the most perfect vintage skirt and an incredibly rude tee to bring you the lowdown on this relatively undiscovered label.
Following on from the SS17 collection, which was shown in both London and Paris, and given a coveted Vogue Online collections report, N&S GAIA carries forward its signature style of colourful flowing silks punctuated by wide-legs, exaggerated ruffles, sweeping hems, bold, painterly appliqué and tapestry embroidery.
Exploring a deep, dark facet of meta-modernism, the FW17 collection, entitled The Hybrid, is centred on nature photography and existential transformation. Models walked the runway wearing simplistic pieces which grew bolder as the show progressed, starting relatively tame and occasionally rising above the parapet with something more dramatic. Soft, blurred lines adorned with tapestry embroidery and shapes which reflect the brand’s Indian heritage were the order of the day set in a muted colour palette, sometimes accented with a pop of metallic.
Shapes were fluid with constructed drapes offset by elements like wide flares, pleating and voluminous sleeves. Surfaces including the handwoven details of the Dakmanda mix with metallic embroidery echoing the hybrid forms in nature.
Nature starts with almost nothing, just a molecule; where humanity plays the role of the transformation.
A pioneer of sustainability in Indian fashion, N&S GAIA aims to use a balance of hand-woven textiles blended with mill-woven fabric and natural dyes in an effort to push the brand to the forefront of the fashion industry’s natural progression. Textile and craft are at the core of N&S GAIA and that’s evident in both the craftsmanship and the attention to detail in the embellishment.
Yes, it’s tame compared to some of the stalwarts of Fashion Month but it’s not just about the drama. This collection is wearable, relatable and ultimately, sustainable. This is a brand with a vision and some sense of direction, there are consistencies throughout the collection and that’s great news for a relatively new label. Measurable progression is key in the fashion industry and time is a key ingredient for progression. Fashion Scout is known for nurturing design talent so I’m interested to see how the RTW collection is received following show season.
I’ll be back for more in September for SS18 and N&S GAIA’s next power move…