Placing Indian traditions on Fashion’s Global Map
Inspired by India’s cultural roots, Archana Kochhar is a personality known for her global design sensibilities. Ever since a teenager, she enjoyed her time deciding her outfits for the next day. The perfect outfit put her in a better mood. At the age of eighteen, she participated in her first trunk show with four other friends in which she created garments that incorporated the fusion look and were loved by every attendee. This event gave her the courage to adapt her love for clothes into her profession.
Archana’s signature element is the fusion between floral and geometric patterns because of how the look sets you apart; it appeals to her aesthetic. Her unique style is an inspiration to designers and fashion enthusiasts around the world. Talking about finding her inspiration, she shares, “For a wedding, I usually use red shades with tinges of other bright colours to maintain the traditional look with a contemporary touch. For Western attire, I look towards our native art forms, such as the production of Ahimsa silk in clothing or using the iconic pattern of Warli paintings. This is how I visualize my muses: entwining a commoner with clothes that share a meaning beyond the everyday self.”
With her flagship store based at Juhu, Mumbai, Archana is also a favorite amongst Bollywood glitterati, including Shahrukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, and Kangana Ranaut, to name a few. She has dressed celebrities for the Cannes Festival and was also invited by Galeries Lafayette, Paris, to showcase her couture collections alongside international design houses like Armani, Versace, Prada & Gucci. She has also showcased her collection at various National & International runways, from Lakmé to London Fashion Week.
The global designer recollects her most memorable collection, for which she associated with artisans from Jharkand for PM Modi’s Make in India campaign, who introduced her to Ahimsa Silk or Peace Silk. It takes only one silkworm to produce this kind of silk, which she proudly presented at the New York Fashion Week. “The embroideries were a mélange of rich Indian traditional gold zari thread, interesting texturing techniques, and Swarovski sprinkle.” Collaborating with these tribal women and creating something extraordinary became yet another of her initiatives for India’s Make in India Campaign besides Warli and Banjara collections.
Archana’s achievements are innumerable. She has showcased her contemporary collections at the New York Fashion Week for several seasons. One of the most memorable ones was promoting the awareness of acid-burned victims through the “Bring Beauty Back” movement. Acid-survivor Reshma Qureshi took to the ramp, and it became a show covered by over 280 media houses across the globe, including The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, and Vogue, to name a few.
In her latest collection, Archana embodies the “Warli” motif. It is a thoughtful creation that imparts the intricate detail of warli painting, which depicts the story of the artisan’s lives. The new line focuses on contemporary silhouettes fused with a glimpse of Indian conventional cuts to bring forward the concept of the east meets the west. And in this manner, Archana’s designs continue to keep the Indian culture on the global map.
Archana talks about one of the most crucial things she learned in this colorful yet well-earned journey. “I’ve had many people come up to me and say, ‘You’re so lucky to have made it.’ However, I believe that the harder you work, the luckier you get. No one gifted me this success; I have worked extremely hard through every step to get here & every extra hour I’ve spent trying to perfect my art has been fruitful in one way or the other.”
The inspiring leader believes that India is becoming a fashion-forward country, which is a sign of economic improvement. It shows that people have the time and the financial means to indulge in fashionable clothing. “Fashion, being one the greatest arts practiced by every individual on their appearance, is now promoting causes that help society and the environment with the increasing buzz on sustainable fashion- fashion for all color, sizes and that which incorporates ancient forgotten art forms.”
Archana is among the few designers who firmly believe in sharing her fashion platform with various philanthropic projects. She is a goodwill ambassador for “Smile Foundation” with Cricket Maestro Virat Kohli and Master Chef Vikas Khanna to support girl child education.
Be it bringing out a story with every Bridal collection or creating opportunities to take the Indian culture to another level, Archana Kocchar does it all and with perfection.