New Delhi, Oct 10 (PTI) For designer Gaurav Gupta, the clothing line he unveiled at the grand finale of the second 'phygital' edition of the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week on Sunday night was a "freedom of expression collection".
Gupta introduced his interpretation of #DefineToRedefine, a range made entirely of upcycled ocean plastic, with an aim to motivate the fashion industry to move towards more sustainable practices.
"We could be working in any segment of fashion, be it couture, ready-to-wear or streetwear but we need to at least start moving towards sustainable practices," said the Delhi-based designer, known for his futuristic silhouettes.
Talking about creating his new range amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gupta told PTI in an interview, "I think it has been the time to reflect upon and consolidate all our conscious thoughts. This collection came about from wanting to redefine the way we look at sustainability, fashion and beauty." The fabrics for the collection are created with wrappers of crisps and biscuits, plastic bottles and other daily consumables that have been excavated from oceans and landfills. The base fabrics and linings have also been made environmentally friendly by using pet plastic.
Gupta, who is an advanced diver, said it was his diving retreat to the Andamans in January that inspired him to make this range.
"I became an advanced diver and I saw this amazing underwater life which I have always been fascinated by. But then I went to the beaches and saw a lot of plastic from our everyday consumables which are collected there. A chunk of this collection is made out of recycled and upcycled plastic from daily consumables woven into fabrics and sculpted into garments," he added.
He also talked about the Lakme Absolute Precision Lip Paint, which can be used for "makeup art other than for your lips".
Gupta said he wanted to flip the notion of sustainability, which is often defined by the designers as casual wear made from organic fabrics.
"I wanted to literally take plastics from the ocean and landfills and weave them into garments which are sexy and evening wear and make sustainability glamorous.
"We are known for glamorous, sexy gowns or evening wear or couture. It's not like I suddenly start doing organic cotton and make daywear clothes because that's not my aesthetic right now," he said.
The designer said one can't ignore the very real threat of climate change.
"Ninety-seven per cent of the world's plastic doesn't get reused at all. It's single-use plastic. Climate change is a burning reality upon us. I wanted to redefine how sustainability is looked at. You can actually pick up plastic, get it woven and as a designer I can make that into glamorous clothes. That for me is the statement I want to make." Gupta said he fell in love with the sea when he travelled to Mumbai.
"I have always loved the endlessness of the ocean. How vast and enigmatic it is. I love the feeling of infinity which is always a part of my aesthetic. It all came beautifully together," he recalled.
The colour palette of the collection is quite metallic and basic, he said.
"When you are inside the ocean, there's a metallic energy to the ocean which you feel next to your skin. That subliminal feeling is what has transformed into the colours and forms of this collection.
"There are lots of fins and challenging shapes of silhouettes and gravity defying structures around art sculptures fashion. There is some kind of blue but that's in the metallic range. There's gold, silver which came from the biscuit wrappers as a fabric. There are some whites and some blacks, which came from the darkness of the sea." Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor Khan turned muse for Gupta and the designer said he had a great time collaborating with her again for the fashion gala.
"Kareena is a favourite star of all. She is very magnanimous in her stardom. I love the nonchalance about her. There's a sense of lightness and humour which is very connectable. At the same time there's a star quality to her. The combination of these two things is very lethal and that itself is very sexy," he said.
Khan described Gupta's work as personal designs that suit one's body.
"Gaurav is known for his cuts and designs... It's been a while since I walked for him, and this time the collection is so different. I love his work so much this time," she told PTI.
The fashion gala, which opened on October 5, concluded on Sunday.