“Fashion is about fit and finish,” says Kolkata-origin designer Ankit Maity who runs a craft-intensive line. Born to a Bengali father and Nepali mother, Ankit has been influenced by the arts and crafts of both countries which are immersed in colours, traditions and heritage. Ankit carries a bit of Kolkata and a bit of Kathmandu in him; the layered cultures peeping through his designs in more ways than one. Be it in the colour palette or the detailed embroidery, “I am like a sponge that absorbs cultures,” he tells us.
“A garment that fits badly or is poorly finished simply doesn’t fall under the designer category,” says the alumnus of the Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, Ankit specialised in pattern-making and hand-embroidery. “I love hand-finished garments. I feel the hand alone can give you an absolute finish.”
“My father never wanted me to become a fashion designer, he thought there’s no difference between a designer and a tailor. My passion was looked down on,” he recalls. “I went to Bangalore to pursue fashion designing but back at home, my family thought I was studying Interiors. Gradually, my many achievements in college helped me tell him the truth and convince him,” he adds.
Ankit elaborates on his fashion sensibilities saying, “I create non-fussy, symmetrical creations. The look veers towards minimalism. The garments are structured and the collection ranges from diffusion to couture. I call it pure fusion.” Though craft-intensive, Ankit’s work is marked by restraint. “To me, the embellishment must not scream, it has to be subtle. So, most of my embroidery is intricate, yet tone-on-tone.”
His line of textured saris and form-fitting lehengas with delicately crafted silk corsets whisper elegance. “I do over-the-top clothes too, but they are not my mainstay,” smiles the designer who has created clothes for beauty pageants and has a list of clients that feature Kathmandu’s crème de la crème.
A stickler for perfection, Ankit doesn’t repeat designs. “I am very particular that I don’t repeat my work. Even if a client insists on a repeat, I make subtle changes,” says the designer.
His work feature intricate embroidery and traditional textiles. “I have always framed the narrative of craft in my work within the demands of a marketplace. I strongly believe that craft cannot skip a generation. When it does, it dies. Endangered crafts need to be kept alive, but as an economically sustainable skill, not through charity. I believe fine Nepali heritage crafts should not be diluted by lowering their value or price. These crafts should be elevated and made accessible to consumers through beautiful luxurious products and today’s marketplace is a perfect platform for it,” he explains.
His designs are also influenced by travel. “I am a bit of a cultural magpie. From backpackers to the nomadic tribes and bohemian men and women, it all becomes a part of my creative process,” he says.