We at UrbanEye are always on the lookout for interesting collaborations in the Indian menswear space. Case in point, we recently discovered a sartorial partnership between The Arvind Store (the multibrand retail space of Arvind Brands) and Mumbai-based menswear designer Kunal Anil Tanna. The designer has released a nifty capsule collection for the Arvind Store, comprising a limited range of beautifully designed Indo-Western silhouettes, aimed at the style-conscious urban male. The pieces are not bespoke, but made to measure, where customers choose form Tanna’s designs and then have them customised to your size.
I recently caught up with the designer at The Arvind Store in Mumbai and he talked me through the collection and the inspiration behind it. From the collection, I picked one piece, a stunning blue bandi jacket, which I wore on the red carpet as I represented India at the Travel Bloggers Conference Asia in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The effervescent designer highlights the architectural influence that shapes this capsule collection featuring 15 ensembles. “Gujarat is a strong influence in my design sensibility. For this collection I have been inspired by two architectural characteristics of the region — the step wells and the temples. If you look at the clothes, you will see motifs that reflect the step wells and temples. Step wells are descending geometric patterns, while temples are ascending structures. It’s almost as if they are reflections of each other,” the designer tells me.
This geometric influence is evident in the collection. I did not notice much floral elements nor were there highly stylised motifs. The collection, to me, remains resolutely masculine, which sharp lines, clean cuts and, of course, geometric precision. “I love things which are intricate. I love meticulous work. And I am trying to showcase that through this collection,” says Kunal.
An interesting collaboration between a standalone designer and India’s retail giant could surely have great results. How, then, did it all start? The designer explains, “The concept is simple. The collection features their fabrics with my design. I began by working with The Arvind Store to pick out the fabrics. Once the fabrics were shortlisted, I started to delve into the design aspect and zeroed in on the structures. It was important for the aesthetics of both brands to be in sync with each other.”
Moving onto the subject of silhouettes. “Indo-Western” is, in my opinion, the most abused word in men’s fashion today. I question the designer on this. He laughs, “I do agree, Indo-Western is indeed the most abused word today. However, it does best describe this collection. There’s nothing wrong with that now, is there?”
What i like about the collection is that the focus seems to be more on individual garments, separates, if you will, rather than ensembles. A decision that Kunal says was a conscious one, as it is more appropriate for Arvind’s large-scale retail format. It’s easy to pick pieces and even mix and match them if you like.
Here’s what I finally picked. A beautiful purple bandi jacket with a front panel and geometric chevron patterns (not the descending step well motifs). I paired it with a light cotton kurta (my own) and red chinos.
Kunal Anil Tanna’s capsule collection is available at The Arvind Store in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The collection is a mix of suits, shirts, tunic shirts, kurtas, jackets, bandi jackets, sherwanis and achkans, in a variety of fabrics, entirely custom-made to your size.