There was good reason why veteran designer Anju Modi looked emotional when young duo Ankur and Priyanka Modi (behind the label AM:PM) took their bow after showing their Spring/ Summer 2014 collection on Thursday at the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW).

The two may be family for the senior Modi (son and daughter-in-law) but that’s probably not the only reason behind her warm applause. Tribus, AM:PM’s collection which used isolated tribal motifs in innovative and fun-inspiring versions on their garments added weight to a point begun to be made strongly by younger Indian designers: an unflinching loyalty to personal signature, reverence for the dressing needs and fabrics of this country, yet a non-fussy global wearability.

They are the reason why the global fashion market should relook at India as a boutique of inspiring clothing as well as some serious fashion. That too, without the dominance of familiar bling and dense embroidery. In fact, many collections suggest embracing a sporty approach, both literally (with sporty shoes, accessories and printed or digitalized technique separates) and figuratively. Even three years back, it would have been difficult to predict this turnaround that Indian fashion would retain the unique stamp of India without salma-sitaras.

In this heap designer duo Pankaj and Nidhi and Rahul Mishra—both, incidentally, winners of the International Woolmark Prize (the former in 2012 and Mishra this year)—stand out.

Pankaj and Nidhi on the other hand, are fast catching up to become front runners as the younger leaders of the pack in technique and surface embellishments. While their collection was called the Grammar of Ornament, it did not have even one drop of bling or shine. It shone through because of the use of three-dimensional applique techniques to create effects of sculpture in marble, fresco-like silk embroideries and mosaic work achieved by hand-cut fabric biscuits. This was true luxury inside pret.

Not just that but the silhouettes created by the designers listed above are wearable and saleable anywhere in the world. Sporty jackets, shorts, jumpsuits, short and long dresses, cocktail pieces, palazzos, long and soft handloom coats, transparent pants, buzzy blouses, crop tops…

Now to work towards the making of their brands, they need to take a leaf (and not the whole tree) from the multi-facetted fashion sensibilities of seniors like Manish Arora, JJ Valaya, Tarun Tahiliani, Sabyasachi or Anamika Khanna among others. They don’t just rely on making India-inspired garments but know how to create magic out of fashion.

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