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Fashion Talk

Nupur Kanoi

Founder
Label - Nupur Kanoi

I strive to create pieces that empower women

Nupur Kanoi, a NIFT Kolkata graduate and former fashion stylist and writer, launched her eponymous fashion label in 2006, known for its distinctive style and presence in leading multi-designer stores. Gaining national recognition with her debut at Lakme Fashion Week in March 2012, her designs have since been embraced by numerous celebrities, including Alia Bhatt, Aishwarya Rai, and Sonam Kapoor. In a chat with Fibre2Fashion, Kanoi talks about her brand’s core philosophy, stripes collection, and trends for 2024.

Fibre2Fashion: Can you share about your journey from being a fashion design graduate to starting your own eponymous label?

Nupur Kanoi:

My journey from being a fashion design graduate to starting my own eponymous label has been quite exciting. After graduating from NIFT, Kolkata, I began my career as a fashion stylist and writer with luxury lifestyle magazine Verve. It was a great opportunity for me to explore the world of fashion and gain valuable experience. In 2006, I took the leap and started my own label, which has been a dream come true. Over the years, my designs have been showcased in leading multi-designer stores like Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop, Aza, Ogaan, Collage, Aashni & Co., and Shop Kynah. In 2012, I made my national runway debut at Lakme Fashion Week, which was a major milestone for me. I'm grateful for the recognition I've received, such as winning ‘The Grazia Young Fashion Awards’ in 2013 and being featured in Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. It's been a journey of experimentation, attention to detail, and pushing boundaries. I'm thrilled to continue growing and evolving in the fashion industry.

 

F2F: What is the core design philosophy or ethos that you bring to each collection under your label?

NK:

When it comes to my design philosophy, defying conventions while celebrating the rich heritage of Indian fashion has been a quest from the start. Each collection is a reflection of my passion for blending traditional craftsmanship with contemporary aesthetics. I strive to create pieces that empower women and make them feel confident and beautiful. From intricate detailing to unique silhouettes, I aim to tell a story and evoke emotions. I'm constantly inspired by the diverse cultures and vibrant colours of India, and I incorporate these elements into my collections. My vision for the future is to continue pushing boundaries and creating unique experiences through fashion.

F2F: What inspired the creation of the UKIYO|STRIPES collection?

NK:

The UKIYO | STRIPES collection draws inspiration from the word 'Ukiyo,' which means 'the floating world' in Japanese. It's about embracing the transient nature of life and finding joy in the present moment. Stripes are a classic element of the 70s and possibly the most gender-fluid and androgynous fashion staple over centuries. Bold, contrast, and a key element of the Prohibition era (in the US), it was favoured by the anti-establishment subcultures during that time. Today, it’s timeless, versatile, trans-seasonal, and cheerfully chic. This collection is all about “Owning Your Stripes”.

F2F: What makes the stripes in this collection different from the traditional or typical use of stripes in fashion?

NK:

Stripes are a classic wardrobe staple. Our version of this universal trend is a very fluid, graphic statement which creates a sense of movement. The pieces as separates are also extremely gender-fluid, vibrant, and cheerful. The inclusion of monochrome stripes in each silhouette is what makes the pieces unique. It features a variety of stripe orientations, such as vertical stripes that elongate the silhouette, diagonal stripes that create a sense of movement, and even asymmetrical stripes that add an unexpected twist, to evoke a sense of modern elegance.

F2F: What challenges or opportunities did you encounter in creating a collection with a strong androgynous look?

NK:

This was by far the most delightful collection we ever made since stripes come very naturally to my personality. My personal wardrobe is mostly monochrome with a lot of stripe shirts, T-shirts, pants, and blazers, so having lived in them so much, pushing the boundary was extremely entertaining, more like a blast with the past.

F2F: Your label is available across leading multi-designer stores. How do you manage the balance between exclusivity and accessibility in your brand strategy?

NK:

Our garments are usually very versatile in nature, so one can personally style each piece very individually. I think today with IG and Social Media, accessibility is key to any brand, and exclusivity is based more on the design and availability in only select stores and online platforms across the board.

F2F: How do you see the evolution of your brand in terms of market presence and consumer engagement?

NK:

Today fashion is not just about making clothes. It’s about the story behind them, the process that goes into creating the product, the philosophy of the brand, and the final projection of the product in the marketplace. It’s more interesting and challenging than just creating a product. If one can keep evolving in all the above processes, half the battle is won. We usually style, produce, and photograph our content in-house, which in turn is a great learning experience in brand evolution and consumer engagement study.

F2F: Are there specific themes or styles you are eager to explore in future collections?

NK:

The list is endless.

F2F: How do you see the fashion industry evolving, and how does your brand aim to stay relevant and innovative?

NK:

The fashion industry is constantly evolving, and it's crucial for brands to stay relevant and innovative. At Nupur Kanoi, we believe in embracing change while staying true to our Indian heritage. We strive to defy conventions and create designs that celebrate our rich cultural roots. By combining traditional craftsmanship with contemporary elements, we aim to offer unique and timeless pieces that resonate with our audience. Our vision for the future is to empower women through fashion, encouraging them to express their individuality and confidence. We are committed to continuous growth, keeping an eye on emerging trends, and exploring new techniques and materials. By staying connected with our customers and understanding their evolving needs, we ensure that our brand remains relevant and innovative in the ever-changing fashion landscape.

F2F: What trends do you foresee making a splash in the fashion market in 2024?

NK:

When it comes to upcoming fashion trends, I believe we'll see a rise in sustainable and eco-friendly fashion. People are becoming more conscious about the environmental impact of the fashion industry, so we'll see a greater emphasis on ethical practices and materials. Additionally, I think there will be a continued focus on comfort and versatility in fashion, with relaxed silhouettes, breathable fabrics, and functional designs taking the spotlight. And of course, we can't forget about the power of vibrant colours and bold patterns to bring joy and positivity to our wardrobes. These are just a few trends to look out for in 2024!

F2F: What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers, especially those who are considering launching their own labels?

NK:

When it comes to aspiring fashion designers looking to launch their own labels, I believe it's important to stay true to your vision, build a strong foundation by learning about the industry, embrace collaboration, stay resilient, and connect with the right networks. It's an exciting journey that requires dedication and passion.

What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers, especially those who are considering launching their own labels?

Interviewer: Kiran Sahija
Published on: 08/01/2024
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