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Sabyasachi

Indian luxury fashion brand acclaimed for modern Indian fashion and heritage jewellery

Categories

Fashion and Textiles  
Summary

Indian fashion and jewellery designer Sabyasachi launched his eponymous label in 1999. He is one of the Associate Designer Members of the Fashion Design Council of India and the youngest board member of the National Museum of Indian Cinema. Additionally Sabyasachi is renowned for his heritage jewellery collection also retailing in his flagship store in New York. 


History

Sabyasachi Mukherjee graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kolkata with honours.. winning all four major awards. He rejected job offers from top designers in India because he was ambitious right from a young age, envisioning opening India's biggest luxury fashion brand his way. In 1999, he borrowed 20,000 INR from family and launched his eponymous fashion label with a workforce of three people.

Sabyasachi won Femina British Council Most Outstanding Young Designer Award, an internship with Georgina von Etzdorf and a research assignment at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He returned home armed with global exposure, volumes of research and realisation of the West’s lack of awareness of India’s history of luxury fashion. Determined to carve a niche- Sabyasachi increased his workforce and charted the course for his luxury brand.

In 2002 Sabyasachi debuted at Lakmé Fashion Week with a show titled "Kashgaar Bazaar". Here he showcased his signature multi-cultural bohemian design aesthetic that combined art, craft, culture, intellect and high quality. Becoming one of the first Indian fashion designers to create contemporary silhouettes with Indian heritage crafts, he proudly showcased textile crafts and a distinct point of view that are now hallmarks of the iconic fashion brand.

The following year Sabyasachi showcased overseas at the Mercedes-Benz New Asia Fashion Week in Singapore where he was bestowed The Grand Winner Award  which paved the way to a workshop in Paris by Jean Paul Gaultier and Azzedine Alaia. In his collection "Kora" at Lakme Fashion Week 2003 he used unbleached and hand woven fabrics with Kantha and other hand embroideries.. winning critics acclaim yet again.

Sabyasachi soon becomes one of the first Indian luxury fashion brands to retail overseas.. all the way to a window at Browns London. Shortly he debuted at Milan Fashion Week with a collection titled "The Frog Princess" blurring the line between pret and haute couture. There was no looking back. He was voted by Asia Inc in Singapore as one of the ten most influential Indians in Asia. The next year he presented a collection at Oxford University Charity Gala Show in London and bagged a spot on British Vogue’s Hot List. Noticed by fashion insiders.. Sabyasachi began retailing at Selfridges London. 

In 2005 "The Nair Sisters" was inspired by hand block printing, hand embroideries, bagru prints and the extensive use of cotton and other hand woven fabrics. The collection was retailing at Browns and Selfridges in London when he was requested to showcase his collections at Oxford University annual black tie charity dinner fashion show.

Shortly Sabyasachi diversified into costume design with his Bollywood debut and won the National Award for Best Costume Design. Not one to follow trends- he rejected blockbuster films of the era and chose a quiet classic, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's ‘Black’. Shortly he debuted at New York Fashion Week with "Snail"—a homage to slow luxury. The collection beautifully showcases his design philosophy of showcasing heritage artisanal crafts in modern silhouettes and construction.

After spending years on the global stage, Sabyasachi envisioned bringing haute couture and artisanal craft back to the “big fat Indian wedding”. He introduced a bridal aesthetic rooted in tradition and heritage but combined it with his bohemian modernism. Per Vogue: "Sabyasachi Mukherjee may claim to be “anti-trends” however when it comes to bridal fashion, he is the trendsetter. Whether it is bringing a new sense of modesty to Indian blouses or taking necklines dangerously low, he dictates the trends. Mukherjee has worn this bridal badge of honour for well over a decade now. The fact that every Bollywood bride of note has turned to him from Anushka Sharma to Katrina Kaif, cements his position in the wedding industry."

The fashion designer is renowned for showcasing the finest Indian textile crafts by working with craftspeople and craft clusters on models of economic sustainability. He travels across the country establishing projects with weavers, hand block printers, hand embroiderers, dyers, craftspeople, goldsmiths, mill workers, stone masons and artisans working with jewellery, clothing, leather and interiors. Till date the fashion designer believes that the future of artisanal crafts and handwoven textiles is in the luxury segment and that is India's strength and contribution to the global fashion and jewellery landscape. 

Having carved a niche on the world fashion map Sabyasachi launched his first store in Calcutta. Over the years he launched stores in major cities across India followed by the largest flagship in Mumbai. Per Vogue: “From contemporary to antiquated, the braiding of fashion, art, architecture and music, in one monumental space, is Sabyasachi’s grand tribute to his passion for cultural multitudes and creative potentialities.  Walking through a figuration of Chinese blue and white porcelain, an artform risen aeons ago from cobalt ores imported from Persia by the rich Tang and Song dynasties of China- you are immediately swept into a magical entanglement of past and present."

Sabyasachi launched his first heritage jewellery collaboration with Gaja in the film Guzaarish. This was also the beginning of his relationship with Bengal's jewellery artisans. Up next was the launch of The Sabyasachi Art Foundation: an economically sustainable initiative that mentors and employs underprivileged artists from Bengal. Over the years the foundation has created original art works that have been translated into prints for collaborations with brands that range from H&M and Christian Louboutin to Pottery Barn and Starbucks. Sabyasachi’s first global collaboration with Christian Louboutin witnessed a collection of limited edition shoes and handbags showcasing Sabyasachi's hallmark hand embroidery and heritage craft with Louboutin’s iconic red sole. He then collaborated with Elephant Family for their Travels to My Elephant initiative supported by King Charles III and Queen Camilla. 

Sabyasachi decided not to showcase at fashion weeks in India and instead launched a collection on Instagram- a practice that the luxury brand continues to follow. His homage to slow luxury continues with hand dyed signature colours- iconic hand blocked prints created by The Sabyasachi Art Foundation- and the house's hallmark artisanal crafts and handwoven textiles layered in his signature multicultural aesthetic.

In recent times Sabyasachi debuted at Bergdorf Goodman New York with a collection of High Jewellery. After the success of the pop up, he continued to retail his jewellery at Bergdorf’s. This was followed by the launch of a flagship store in New York. Per Vogue: “The space sees hallways covered from the floor to the ceiling in framed paintings inspired by Qajar art from the Persian dynasty, 16th-century Mughal miniatures, Indian Pichhwais, and vintage photographs…"

Few know that Sabyasachi is also a revivalist. His project Save the Saree retails hand-woven Indian sarees on a non-profit basis and the proceed goes to the weavers of Murshidabad. He has been developing textiles from Dastkarin-Andhra Pradesh, Berozghar Mahili Samitiin-Bihar, Tantubay Samiti-Fulia and Kotpadin-Orissa. The designer uses rich Indian fabrics in his collections particularly the extensive use of Bananas- based fabrics. Of late he has also been involved in reviving cotton Banarasi sarees in pure khadi and vegetable hand block prints from Bagru. the crowning glory was perhaps when Sotheby's London hosted an exhibition of contemporary design named 'Inspired by India' where the designer showcased his khadi collection.


Mission

Luxury fashion brand Sabyasachi's homage to slow luxury continues with hand dyed signature colours- iconic hand blocked prints created by The Sabyasachi Art Foundation- and the house's hallmark artisanal crafts and handwoven textiles layered in his signature multicultural aesthetic.


Vision

Sabyasachi's vision and design philosophy is rooted in showcasing heritage artisanal textile crafts in modern globally- relevant silhouettes and construction. The Kolkata-based fashion designer uses unusual fabrics, textures and detailing.. fusion of styles, patch-work with embellishment in vibrant colors. He describes his collections as "an International styling with an Indian soul".


Key Team

Sabyasachi Mukherjee (Founder)


Recognition and Awards
Sabyasachi is acclaimed for his passionate celebration of maximalism in Indian craftsmanship, culture and heritage. And very popular since the label's inception for his more-is-more aesthetic layered patterning, saturated colors, accessories and art. In recent times Sabyasachi's high jewellery debut showing made headlines across the globe. Per Vogue: ‘From setting a new standard for high jewelry in the country to intermeshing Indian heritage crafts with North Calcutta goldsmithing, Sabyasachi is all about disrupting the norm while honouring the longstanding traditions of jewelry making in India.'

Products and Services

Kolkata based fashion designer Sabyasachi retails revivalist couture and ready to wear in addition to heritage jewellery and high fashion accessories.

His showing in 2010 established Sabyasachi as a luxury fashion brand to reckon with. Per Explosive Fashion: 'The showing begun with the national anthem followed by scenes from the film '1947 Earth' playing above the runway lined with antique trunks as the models walked out in traditional Indian eveningwear. These trimmings gave the Kolkata-based couturier all the ammunition he needed to cut a swath through the vintage-fused theme: the embroidered velvet coats and achkans layered over saris with seedha palla; the lehengas with zardozi flourishes; the muted red, forest green and rustic orange hues juxtaposed with antique golds.'

The haute couture showing in 2013 was another milestone. 'The designer crafted volumes of luxurious velvet and silk and swing-back swagger into every silhouette. For garnish there was embroidery with resham and sequins. Topping it off: vintage hair. All that richness suggests the collection teetered on the brink of overload but the air of Sixties hauteur in the shimmering saris and lehengas.. lace leggings and floral menswear (accessorized with printed turbans) came over as chic. There was no scaling down here or in the jewellery (loved the maang tikka and nathni) and the only thing that rivalled it were the shimmering headbands worn by Sabyasachi's guests.'


References
Sabyasachi
Leadership team

Sabyasachi Mukherjee (Founder)

Industries

Fashion and Textiles

Products/ Services
revivalist couture, luxury ready to wear, heritage jewellery, fashion accessories
Headquarters
P-545, Lake Road, Kolkata 700029
Established
1999
Company Registration
111286
Social Media

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