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5 Famous 80s Fashion Designers In India

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5 Famous 80s Fashion Designers In India

The generation of 80s fashion designers strides on an impeccable fashion journey that sets on the creative vision to revolutionize the idea of fashion clothing.

Fashion is an art of storytelling and a form of expression through clothes. Fashion in India or any part of the world is an adaptation of regional, cultural, and social influences. Fashion also repeats itself, unlike history, and brings in the newest twists to the current fashion trends.

Talking about the latest fashion trends in India that reminisces the styles from the classical fashion of India. Fashion in India is as primeval as the human race. But fashion culture is redesigning itself with lots of creative and innovative ideas. The great fashion designers contribute a lot to the new-fangled fashion world through their artistic and skilled craftsmanship. The fashion designers of the 80s pitch in their work with lots of creativity and dedication brought a boom into the fashion industry. Rohit Bal, Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla, Ritu Kumar, Neeta Lulla, and Rina Dhaka are some of the fashion pioneers from the decade 1980 have now become great fashion names in the industry. But where it all started? From where does fashion bloom into our lives? We must acknowledge ourselves with a little bit of Indian Fashion history.

Fashion History of India

The fashion history of India has bloomed with lots of changing techniques and innovations. Technological advancement and accessibility to different fabrics and unique craftsmanship played an imperative role to engrave a rich and distinctive fashion history.

80s fashion designers
Blouses during colonial British period- source@BBC

Ancient India- The colors of fashion shadows ancient India when the Indus Valley Civilisation or Harappa civilization found some traces of woven cotton fabric. Silkworms were cultivated for silk and flax plant was grown to obtain the fibers of the plant. The robe over the shoulder and turban over the head was the fashion style for men. Women looked stylish in knee-length skirts with jewelry like earrings, bangles, and beaded necklaces. During the early Vedic era, for hot weather, a single cloth draped around the body, pinned to the waist, was the staple clothing idea. Paridhana or vasana was the bottom wear has a cloth wrapped around a waistline with a belt or string. Pravara, another garment for cold weather, was like a cloak. Stitching became a pioneer during this time that made sarees with ghagra choli and dupatta one of the easiest attires to adorn. Also, post-Vedic era, there was an introduction to fabrics like linen, muslin, cotton, jute, and silk that becomes fashionable in those times.

Medieval India- Our glorious history flashes back the beautiful pictures of our kings and queens, fine arts, and music. India has a rich heritage that signifies the fashionable instinct in the choice of clothes and jewelry. Be it Mughals, Marathas, Scindia, or Rajputanas, influence the latest fashion trends in India that also is significant of their own culture and religion. With the finest of craftsmanship and finesse in textiles, the royalty has maintained a distinctive heritage. It has been intact in the contemporary world by their heirs with their dressing style and traditions. From the Royals of Udaipur, Nizams of Hyderabad, Maharani of Kapurthala, to the Mughal Emperor Akbar and Empress Jodha, all of them illustrated the unique and classical fashion clothing ideas that seek inspiration for today's fashion designers. 

Royals of Udaipur- European dressing influenced the dressing style of the royals. The bandh-galas with western-style jewelry became a fashion trend. The traditional and royal garment includes a turban with a long embellished tail, flowyachkans with churidars, and a sash across the body with a Kamar bandh around the waist. A sword was the symbol of grandeur, and power was another essential dressing element.

Nizams of Hyderabad- The sherwani and a turban decorated with a sarpech became the traditional dress code. The Nizam Jewellery is world-famous adorned with pearls and colored gemstones. It is an inspiration for Indian ethnic jewelry and wedding jewelry.

Maharani of Kapurthala- The holder of the classic style and royal taste, Maharani of Kapurthala made the sarees super-stylish and elegant fashion trend. The deep-colored sarees included an array of colors like pink, maroon, and reds embellished with brocade embroidery or gold zari, which showed her palatial living style that inspired many fashion designers. 

80s fashion
The Mughal Period Fashion- source@pinterest- fabiclore

Mughal Fashion- With inspiring and impressive craftsmanship, Mughal fashion reflects magnificent designs. The luxurious silk, velvet, brocade, and muslin with elaborated designs and embroideries were the solitary characteristics of the Mughal Fashion. Men wore short or long robes, paghris, a patka on the waist, and loose-fitted pants. For women, a traditional dress of Persia or Khurasan due to the Purdah system became the trademark for fashion. The upper garment is designed with a V neckline paired with loose and wide pants.

Modern India- The Charkha brought innovation with the style of clothing. There was a changing scene of fashion when Khadi became one of the vital fabrics for garment making. Sarees, suits, kurta, and pajama, everything was Khadi made. Post-independence, with the western influence on our fashion choices, has completely restyled our wardrobes. Embroideries and prints became famous and were widely used in Indian fashion like lehengas, suits, and sarees. The western and Indian amalgamation, like embroideries used on the sarees and skirts, denim, and shirts, created some unique fashion statements. It was a complete modernistic move with the introduction of shorts, dresses, shirts, t-shirts, and denim that are comfortable and chic.

Our rich fashion history is a great inspiration to many fashion designers who wanted to create a traditional base with modern embellishments. Best 80s fashion designers who brought a boom into the fashion industry are: 

Rohit Bal
Rohit Bal

1. Rohit Bal- One of the respectable designers of India, RohitBal learned his art from the National Institue of Fashion. he started his career with his brother's export company in 1986 and four years later with an independent line of garments. He firstly started with men's wear, and his first collection was applaudable. He expanded his line to accessories, womenswear, women's handbag, eyewear, and fragrances. Born in Kashmir and spreading his vision into the world, the style becomes the key to his design. Khadi fabric was magnificently used by him in his collection with other fabric materials. He started with an export company and embarked on an inspiring journey to becoming a globally renowned designer, and held shows in New York, London, Dubai, Singapore, and Paris, including Paris Fashion Week. Time Magazine dubbed the designer "India's Master of fabric and fantasy", quoted by Business of Fashion. Traditional ideas and patterns amalgamating with modern influences, he brings out the imprint of Indian societies. He is famous for the use of Lotus and Peacock motifs. He is doing wonders in fashion by opening his flagship stores in different locations like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahemdabad, Kolkata, and Chennai. He has now entered into the jewelry making for Kirtilals and wants to introduce men's fashion accessories like cufflinks.

Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla
Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla

2. Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla- Two distinct personalities who combined their artistic instincts in the late 1980s gave Indian fashion a remarkable fashion house of Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. They are a great team of dreamers, artisans, and workers who have worked hard and embarked on a journey of over 30 years. Abu Jani, born in a high-class Muslim family, and introduced to the luxurious lifestyle of Mumbai, started his career and gave vision to his creative ideas by working as an assistant to famous costume designer Xerxes Bhatena. Sandeep Khosla was born in a Punjabi family in Kapurthala and joined his family business of leather. He was interested in learning dye patterns and inculcated knowledge about unique dying techniques. He also worked in the export company and learned about designs, materials, and fabrics. Later he moved to Delhi to start his label, "Limelight,' but shifted to Mumbai and started working with Xerxes Bhaten. The duo created a history in the fashion industry by opening a couture house. They are recognized for reviving Chikinkari and Zardosi work, which was earlier not elaborated and not used in the native parts of India. Ethnic wear becomes their uniqueness in the fashion world. Fashion designers of the 80s in modern times also revived the traditional mirror work and rich silk embroidery on the wedding lehengas. The light shades and exclusive Chikinkari is their signature style that has been modeled on the international ramps.

Ritu Kumar
Ritu Kumar

3. Ritu Kumar- Another best 80s fashion designerRitu Kumar began with bridal wear in the 1960s-1970s. She was the first one to start with the boutique culture in India under her brand name Ritu. She started with zardosi work inculcated to the bridal wear and accentuated a unique blend of fabric, prints, and gold embroidery. She held her first exhibition in the Park Hotel of Calcutta. Today she runs three labels, 'Ritu Kumar', 'Ri', and 'Label Ritu Kumar'. With 35 stores across India, she is experimental with Indian textiles, prints, and embroideries. Starting earlier, she became famous in the 1980s and strides with no looking back. 

Neeta Lulla
Neeta Lulla

4. Neeta Lulla- A fashion stylist, costume designer, and fashion designer, Neeta Lulla started her journey in 1985. She was born in a middle-class family in Hyderabad, and to pursue her studies she shifted to Mumbai. She was a Bollywood enthusiast and got her first Bollywood project in 1987 for Tamacha. Her first design was a disaster, and to improve that, she needed more machines and tailors. But because of a shortage of money, she started selling egg sandwiches that made her get her sewing machine. Slowly and gradually, facing the struggles, Neeta Lulla became one of the famous 80s fashion designers and now holds 4 National Awards. She has worked in more than 300 films and has become iconic in the fashion industry.

Rina Dhaka
Rina Dhaka

5. Rina Dhaka- The Indian fashion designer, Rina Dhaka, who projected herself in the 1980s with a vision to create art, is now ruling the global world. Being born and brought up in a conservative family of Rajasthan, she wanted to live in her way. She opted for a design course in Delhi and started working in an Export company. During her internship at Intercraft, the biggest export company in the country, she met RohitBal, GitanjaliKashyap, and the late Rohit Khosla. They encouraged her to get on with something, and she started her line at Khosla's atelier. She worked in the times when creating masterpieces was vital rather than making money and be competitive. She has been inclusive with her collection that embraces the idea of body positivity. She is into the lunch-wear, casuals, and ready-to-wear. She is also known for her theme collections of spider web motifs, sheer trousers, crochet, and jerseys. The 80s fashion designer is also known as the "Gaultier of East", reminiscing Jean-Paul-Gaultier, a French Haute Couture fashion designer. 

I Knock Fashion Desk

There has been a transition in the latest fashion trends in India and the world with the changing fashion inspirations. The fashion designers who have been the pioneers in the 80s and designed remarkable art pieces have also refashioned their creative ideas to bring out the modern style and trends. 

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