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Lakme Fashion Week X FDCI

NEXA Presented an Informative Discussion on Growth in Fashion with 'NEXA Presents The Spotlight' Alumni at Lakme Fashion Week in Partnership with FDCI

Nov 07, 2023 17:34 IST 
New Delhi, Delhi, India

Being one of the most sought-after and influential fashion and lifestyle events in India, Lakme Fashion Week in partnership with FDCI is known for bringing together the best of India’s fashion and design talent through innovative showcases and thought-provoking discussions, each season. One such interesting and informative conversation on fashion was spearheaded by NEXA on Day 5 of the recently concluded season.

Designer Varun Bahl in Discussion with NEXA Alumni - Siddhartha Bansal and Akshat Bansal moderated by Carol Gracias


NEXA’s philosophy “Create. Inspire” has discovered and supported many of the talented and brightest minds in the fashion industry, over the past few seasons through the coveted ‘NEXA presents The Spotlight’ program.


This season, against the backdrop of the NEXA Invicto at the NEXA Lounge, the very lively interaction between iconic couturier Varun Bahl and NEXA Spotlight alumni, Akshat Bansal and Siddhartha Bansal was moderated by veteran model Carol Gracias. In this enlightening conversation, ace designer Varun Bahl spoke about his monumental career journey, while the ‘NEXA Presents The Spotlight’ alumni excitedly spoke about their debut, honours, and their growth in the fashion industry.


Carol set the ball rolling when she queried Varun on his 20-year journey and what made him love the profession with such passion. Varun admitted his life has been an exciting one and laid emphasis on passion, which for him is the driving force of success in everything one does. He also admitted that he does not see himself doing anything else, than being a designer in the fashion industry.


While Varun had the options of a traditional career trajectory, it was his father’s garment export business that got him acquainted with beautiful clothes. Varun however revealed that he started off as an embroidery designer, which then charted his fashion path. Confidence came with experience and the relationships formed in the fashion industry. From that to designing for celebrities, Varun added modestly that it has all happened along the way. An important moment for him was when he showed at Milan Fashion Week in 2004. “What really excites me is seeing a fabric and moulding it how I want to and see how that translates into a collection down the runway. That is pure joy that I can’t compare with anything. And it’s really why showcasing at platforms like Lakme Fashion Week x FDCI is an exhilarating moment for me as I get to indulge in this creative process, once again,” Varun added.


Turning to Akshat Bansal, whose label ‘Bloni’ is now an international brand, and Siddhartha Bansal, Carol urged them to reveal their journeys and experiences with Lakme Fashion Week x FDCI and ‘NEXA presents The Spotlight’.


Akshat Bansal won The Meher Castelino Most Innovative Garment Construction award in 2013 for his graduating NIFT Mumbai collection. He further honed his talents at Central Saint Martins and worked with top designer Tarun Tahiliani before making his debut at the INIFD Presents GenNext showcase in August 2017, ultimately winning ‘NEXA Presents The Spotlight’ in October 2022.


NEXA Presents The Spotlight was my first solo show and gave me the opportunity as well as the freedom to showcase my creativity. NEXA is known for its innovative approach and believes in avant-garde spaces. And therefore, for my showcase, I could present what I really wanted and not have to worry about commerciality. Thereby, putting my best foot forward, always. ‘NEXA Presents The Spotlight’ is a talent program that stakeholders in the industry are always looking forward to, so it pushes you to showcase your best and that has been helpful. For my brand, it helped increase visibility, something that a new brand is always seeking. And, if it happens in an early stage of your career, like it did with me, that’s a win-win situation,” Akshat admitted.


But Akshat also revealed that his unconventional designs created an opinion. “When I created clothes which were unconventional, people questioned me if it was selling? But the journey for each designer is so different. Luckily for me, everything that is supposed to not sell, sells the most. From blurring boundaries to not understanding what really is conventional - that's the journey that is so motivating every day, and doing something new daily, that is not mundane, is my way of saying I have had and will continue to have a great journey.”


Siddhartha Bansal, an INIFD GenNext winner from 2015 worked with the very creative Manish Arora and went on to win ‘NEXA Presents The Spotlight’ in March 2023. For Siddhartha, the program was a great platform, which brought him immense attention. Siddhartha admitted, “I never imagined that I would get the opportunity to present a solo show at fashion week so early on in my career. Previously I had always showcased my collections as a part of multi-designer presentations. It was only possible due to NEXA’s immense support. They gave us the budget and the platform to showcase my work at a premium spot at Lakme Fashion Week X FDCI. With NEXA coming into the picture, we also received a lot of media visibility, there was an interest in the brand and we were spoken about for our work. This had a direct impact on me pushing myself because I had to make a point. I was given this platform and wanted to make sure that I optimised everything.”


Carol also queried the designers on how magical the madness of fashion was, which brought an almost unanimous response from the three panellists – that they would do this till the end of time.


Akshat credits styling Kareena Kapoor and being in the Forbes list of “30 under 30” in 2020 as some of the most epic moments of his life. Siddhartha feels that every instance wherein a client buys any of his pieces and gives him feedback, as the most important aspect of his career as he believes there's a difference between art and design, and with design being more commercial, he works for his everyday clients more than a celebrity.


When Akshat and Siddhartha questioned Varun on how he was so consistent for 20 years, the couturier responded, “You wake up every day and you want to do the same thing. Whether you have had a downfall or a successful moment, you still only want to do this, because you were born to do it. There is no other way. I think you would probably understand, what I'm saying, it's an emotion, it's in your heart. I wake up every day and I only want to do this, whether people like it or not, it’s up to them. I like what I do.”


Carol thanked the three panellists for their inputs and concluded this insightful discussion. Winner of ‘NEXA Presents The Spotlight’s’ sixth edition, Sushant Abrol of Countrymade showcased his winning collection, No Man’s Land in tune with NEXA Spotlight’s theme, Veracity that enthralled audiences on the last day of Lakmé Fashion Week X FDCI. ‘NEXA Presents The Spotlight’ continues to be a platform for nurturing emerging design talent across the industry and will return for its next edition in 2024.


About Lakme

Lakme, is India’s no.1 colour cosmetics and leading premium skincare brand from Hindustan Unilever Ltd. Lakme has been the pioneer of the make-up and colour cosmetics in India since 1952 by launching numerous trends leading and high-performance products. Combining international cosmetic technology with an in-depth understanding of the Indian woman’s needs, Lakme offers women a comprehensive beauty experience through its extensive product portfolio.

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About Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI)

A non-profit organisation, the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), is the apex body of fashion design in India, represented by over 400 members. Founded on the premise of promoting, nurturing, and representing the best of fashion and design talent in the country; its prime objective is to propagate the business of fashion. FDCI stays true to its commitment to promote the ‘Make in India’ label as handlooms take centre stage, in a country, who’s heritage is soaked in the flavours of indigenous crafts.

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Designer Varun Bahl in Discussion with NEXA Alumni - Siddhartha Bansal and Akshat Bansal moderated by Carol Gracias
Designer Varun Bahl in Discussion with NEXA Alumni - Siddhartha Bansal and Akshat Bansal moderated by Carol Gracias
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