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Runway Ready

Sep/02/2023 / by Team Seema

Four South Asian designers who look to make their mark at this year’s New York Fashion Week this month

Each year, while the press and fashion retailers revel over New York’s Fashion Week frenzy, at SEEMA, we’re looking for designers who are making an impact on the South Asian fashion world. Here’s our preview of four must-watch South Asian designers who are sure to have an impact on what we’re buying in the seasons to come. 

Archana Kochhar

During this year’s Spring Fashion Week, Archana Kochar presented handloom textiles, woven by women from Madhya Pradesh. As one of the most sought after designers in the wedding space, she’s known for her glamorous designs, intricate embroidery, and global sensibilities. 

What to expect: Plenty of bold colors and a mix of draped lehengas, saris, and gowns. The brand has also always taken a stand for inclusivity in fashion, featuring differently abled models and acid victim survivors on the runway. The designer is one of the most sought-after in Bollywood, so don’t be surprised if you see designs here echoed in places like the Cannes Film Festival in the upcoming season. 

Website: | Instagram: /archanakochharofficial

Bibhu Mohapatra 

Bibhu credits his mother for instilling a deep appreciation for textiles and clothing, and how fashion could translate to something both powerful and functional. Not only that, but she also taught him to sew, an inspiration that continues to influence his designs. He grew up on the east coast of India until he moved to the US in the 1990s giving him a global perspective. 

What to expect: Formal occasion clothing is this brand’s go-to. Expect seamless tailoring, dramatic sleeves, and tulle embroidery. The brand often picks a muse as an inspiration—last year the designer opened with the reading of a poem, Nancy Cunard’s “Cunard’s “Wheels,” which he said pointed to who he wanted to be as a person. 

Website: | Instagram: @bibhumohapatra

Naeem Khan

NEW YORK, USA – FEBRUARY 14: Fashion designer Naeem Khan walks the runway during the Naeem Khan Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 2023-2024 fashion show as part of the New York Fashion Week on February 14, 2023 in NY. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Studying under his father and grandfather who designed for India’s royal family, Khan doesn’t lack in design history. Every piece in his collections, which tend to include gowns and elegant separates, is embroidered by hand. Ubah Hassan, newly cast in the remake of Real Housewives of New York, is a noted fan. 

What to Expect: Last year’s show, celebrating the brand’s 20th year, had no shortage of drama, and included a sparkling cocoon dress, feathers, and intricate geometric beating. Known as a hard worker, Khan always has a high level of craftmanship that always surprises. 

Website: | Instagram: @naeemkhannyc

Prabal Gurung

After a tenure at Cynthia Rowley and Bill Blass, Gurung launched his own line to high acclaim. Both Michelle Obama and the Duchess of Cambridge have worn his designs. Plus, the designer stays dedicated to his New York roots, manufacturing 90% of his collection in the city. 

What to Expect: His past shows have continued to push toward questioning rigid gender binaries. Last year, Gurung mixed mini dresses with trench coats and cocktail attire with street shoes, and featured male models in corsets and makeup. Whatever the theme may be this year, expect it to have strong social undertones. 

Website: | Instagram: @prabalgurung

BOX: For more on one of the most influential brands in fashion, check out the cover story on Falguni Peacock (“Savoir Faire” on page 48).

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