EXCLUSIVE: Shantanu & Nikhil on their latest LFW X FDCI collection, sustainable fashion, & more


Designer Duo, Shantanu and Nikhil believe in the seamless integration of the Indian tradition and western expression. The age old Indian culture has an undying character and spirit hence, Shantanu and Nikhil believe in their brand’s philosophy ‘Progressive Unification’. They have always strived to create a modernised design language with their label. This year, at the Lakme Fashion Week, the duo are all set to showcase their new collection, Nomad. In this interview, the duo talks about their new collection, showcasing it after 2 years at Lakme Fashion Week, sustainable fashion and a lot more! 


1. Tell us about the collection you are presenting at FDCI x LFW and the inspiration behind it (integrate realme)

Returning to the ramps and the hustle of backstage after two years feels surreal, especially when FDCI and Lakme are united to create this groundbreaking synergy. When we began working on Nomad late last year, our overriding desire was to make something that would grab our own interest first, something that would shake us up a bit. After over two decades of designing haute couture, it wasn’t surprising that we were looking for a new outlet: something defiant, yet more soft and intense—a lineup that would allow us to express what’s in our minds.


2. How does it feel to showcase at a physical edition of FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week after 2 years? 

We have always been a fierce supporter of doing traditional shows which garnered a large audience and introduced us to a plethora of opportunities and brand visibility. There is a true sense of chaos minutes before the show backstage and we honestly missed that during the last two years. The adrenaline rush a successful show with loud rounds of applause gives you is unmatchable. Digital platforms take way the look and feel aspect one experiences during a physical show. People are looking forward to physical events now, it gives them a reason to step out and establishes an emotional connection with us.


3. Florals for summer, while iconic, are done to death: what are some patterns we can play with in these months to look stylish and beat the heat?

Kaleidoscopic patterns and geometric prints are definitely a go-to this season. If experimented right, not only do they add to the silhouette of the body, but also look off-beat for the heat!




4. If you could collaborate with any one designer, who would it be and why?

Definitely, Alexander McQueen. As design forces, we share the same fearless spirit and the courage to step outside the comfort zone to create art and not just clothes.


5. More designers are starting their Pret labels, can we expect you to as well?

We launched our Bridge-to-luxury line- SN by Shantnu Nikhil in 2020 amidst the pandemic. Celebration Wear by S&N reinstates the idea of celebrating oneself, the journey and the destination. It is
where design is governed by the rich Indian heritage, art and craft; all with a hint of millennial spunk. ABFRL and S&N have come together as a driving force to take the Indian fashion narrative to a global audience with the aim which aspires to reinvent the conversations around luxury wear. Whilst our couture ensembles act as conversation starters at a cocktail party, the bridge-to-luxury collection shall empower millennials and Gen Z to take up their cause while maintaining their effortlessly chic fashion sensibility.




6. Sustainability has become a major aspect of fashion, how do you think the industry can curb its carbon footprint and how are you doing your bit?

Lately, fashion hasn’t been just about sporting the new trend, it is about an ethical approach towards a better environment while looking chic. We’ve noticed a shift in how people feel about fashion these days; they’re a lot more emotive in their decisions and responsible in their consumption. Brides are looking for timeless pieces which can be worn a few years down the line and can be Re-loved, Re-owned, and Re-Used. Fashion is being looked at as a fraternity of global impact and community for change. We have integrated this shift in our philosophy & are now envisaging a future focusing on art, creativity, sustainable development and collaborations. 

We are a part of ABFRL, a conglomerate that is constantly exploring newer opportunities to be more sustainable through our #ReEarth pledge. From reducing carbon emissions to going 100% plastic free, we are rethinking our brand models to showcase relevance and resiliency. As a brand we have reinvented our production model to ensure no overproduction on either side of the brand. While couture follows a more seasonless, bespoke model of design now, we ensure limited inventory for S&N where the same inventory is shared between the physical & digital stores thus controlling production.

Furthering our new manifesto we even launched a one-of-its-kind sustainable initiative ‘The Buy-Back’- a programme that allows proud owners of Shantanu & Nikhil couture to exchange their old outfits for credit values that they can use on their next purchase. This not only drives responsible consumerism but also ensures controlled production at our end.


7. Tell us your top 3 favourite celebrity looks in your label.

As a brand we’ve always followed an Anti-Trend path and we love when our patrons, especially celebrities represent in the same manner. Our favourite look has to be Ranveer singh in the asymmetric drape kurta, Karan Johar in the Tux-Pseudo, and Ishaan Khatter in a classic Bandhgala which he accessorised in the most impeccable manner. 


8. If you could, what would you change about the fashion industry? 

The industry’s insecurities. Designers feel that the opportunities are scarce which is quite opposite of its reality. The idea is now to be fearless and reach wider horizons. 




9. Tell us one pattern/silhouette/material that you haven’t experimented with so far but would love to experiment with in the future?

Now that we’ve shaped Nomad in such a hype-street manner, We’d love to explore with oversized silhouettes and patterns. It comes with a sense of ease but does that miss that dramatic flare. 


10. For the fresh designers entering the industry, what’s one piece of advice you think would help them?

No rules, Be fearless. Play your own game.


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Also read Exclusive: Designer Varun Bahl on his latest FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week collection, sustainability & more


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