The Vogue India Fashion Fund is part of a global initiative to mentor the next generation of fashion designers. Started in India in 2012 in collaboration with Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), the Fund brings together a panel of industry experts to identify six finalists and one winner.
Hemant & Nandita
The designer duo’s clothes always aim to mix Indian elements with sport luxe. Their signature elements (motifs, prints and embellishments) were evident at the judging session too. We spotted floral embroidery and exotic birds made with metallic thread in their capsule collection.
Ikai by Ragini Ahuja
Ragini Ahuja’s label is known by fashion insiders for its boxy silhouettes, edgy illustrations and animated details. The best part of her designs is the minimalist androgynous feel that comes through her use of fuss-free, supple leather.
[Ka] [Sha] by Karishma Shahani Khan
With all those colours wrapped up in one collection, it was hard to miss [Ka] [Sha] at the VIFF 2014 judging. Khan describes her label as one that comes from contemporary India but is obsessed with the past. It promotes handcrafted traditional techniques.
Bodice by Ruchika Sachdeva
Sachdeva’s minimalist aesthetic landed her a spot in Vogue's 2014 Style List, and her label is a fashion week favourite too. Her understated creations are gender-neutral and are an attempt to challenge preconceived notions of Indian fashion.
Quirk Box by Rixi Bhatia and Jayesh Sachdev
Quirk Box’s USP: wearable eccentricity. The label is now synonymous with offbeat prints and rainbow-bright colours. The label’s last big red carpet spotting: a multi-coloured jacket worn by Deepika Padukone.
What about the rest? Designers who did not make the cut, provided they still fall within the criteria can apply again next year.
Follow @VFFIndia on Twitter for updates.
VIFF 2014’S TOP 20 MEET THE JUDGES
Mumbai’s Palladium hotel opened its doors on the morning of June 24 to a pack of fashion enthusiasts: models ready to take on a day full of hair and make-up, 20 of the country’s brightest upcoming designers, and seven fashion veterans, on a mission to eventually decide the winner of Vogue India Fashion Fund 2014.
Handpicked from all over the country, VIFF 2014’s 20 finalists stand to win not just a hefty cash prize. Last year’s winner Archana Rao of fashion label Frou Frou also won a fashion shoot in Vogue India, one-year business mentorship with a professional from the industry and the opportunity to design for retail giant Westside.
This was the first time some of 2014’s semi-finalists met the judges — Vogue’s Priya Tanna, Anaita Shroff Adajania, Bandana Tewari and Oona Dhabhar, Dr Alka Nishar of retail bigwig Aza, Sunil Sethi of the Fashion Design Council of India and Tina Tahiliani Parikh of multi-designer boutique Ensemble.
“The experience just feels crazy!” says Ridhi Mehra – a VIFF debutante already well-known for her Bollywood fans (we’ve spotted Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Sonakshi Sinha in her floral pieces). “The judging day is already here; I’m both nervous and excited to meet the jury.”
“Each of the judges have so much expertise in fashion, the key is to just be honest when you’re talking to them,” adds Ruchika Sachdeva of Bodice, who is making her second appearance. “I’ll be showcasing my most recent collection because it’s the most relevant part of my work.”
After meeting all the contestants (“I can’t tell you who my favourite is yet, but there were some names that shone brighter than others,” says judge Bandana Tewari) the jury will now pick its five favourite hopefuls. Results will be out soon!
Follow @VFFIndia on Twitter for updates
Today Vogue India Fashion Fund announces its list of semi-finalists for 2014. The following 20 designers (in no particular order) have been shortlisted from hundreds of entries.
This number will be whittled down to 5 finalists in early July. Stay posted via @VFFIndia on Twitter!
1. HUEMN by Pranav Mishra & Shyma Shetty
2. Aarti Vijay Gupta
3. ikai by Ragini Ahuja
4. Ridhi Mehra
5. ilk by Shikha Grover & Vinita Adhikari
6. Quirk Box by Rixi Bhatia & Jayesh Sachdev
7. 431-88 by Shweta Kapur
8. Sneha Arora
9. Urvashi Kaur
10. Surendri by Yogesh Chaudhary
11. Chhaya Mehrotra
12. Hemant and Nandita
13. PINNACLE by Shruti Sancheti
14. anavila by Anavila Misra
15. Mrinalini by Mrinalini Gupta
16. [Ka][Sha] by Karishma Shahani Khan
17. Divya Sheth
18. Bounipun by Zubair Kirmani
19. GaGa by Tanya Sharma
20. BODICE by Ruchika Sachdeva
Note: Talented designers who did not make the cut, provided you still fall within the criteria, it is possible for you to apply again next year.
Archana Rao takes a quick picture with her cheque alongside VIFF judges Anaita Shroff Adajania and Bandana Tewari at the Vogue office.
It’s barely been a month since Archana Rao won the second edition of Vogue India Fashion Fund on October 25, and she finds her days are suddenly fuller than ever.
“It’s been really busy. I keep jumping from Hyderabad to Mumbai for work now - but it’s fun,” says the name behind label Frou Frou on her visit to the Vogue India office, where she met the entire team and picked up her winner’s cheque today.
Along with the Rs 25 lakh, which she plans to use on growing her label through trunk shows, fashion weeks, and retailing from more boutiques around the country, Rao has also won a one year business mentorship with a professional from the industry and the opportunity to design for retail giant Westside.
“The critique I received from the panel during VIFF has taught me a lot,” Rao says. “And winning has made me much more confident as a designer. I’m more open to new opportunities and risks.”
Follow Vogue India Fashion Fund on Twitter
AT THE VOGUE INDIA FASHION FUND 2013 FINALE
Archana Rao winning the Vogue India Fashion Fund 2013 on October 25
The Vogue Fashion Fund, a brainchild of US Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, was a project undertaken to support America’s budding talent. With India’s own crop of designers growing every day, it seemed only fair that we start the initiative on our soil — and last year we did just that.
The contestants for the second edition of the Vogue India Fashion Fund had more than one reason to give it their all—a year-long business mentorship with an industry professional, a cash prize of 25 lakh rupees, a retail partnership with Westside, a chance to show at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, editorial and marketing support from Vogue India and a fashion shoot in the magazine. Quite a haul, indeed.
From over a hundred applicants, the group was whittled down to 20, and then five—a task shouldered by our intimidating panel of judges. And after much deliberation, exhaustive questioning, meticulous research and intensive factory visits, a winner was chosen. We’ve got just one thing to say before the big reveal: the future of fashion is bright.
VIFF 2013 second runner-up Tanvi Kedia, winner Archana Rao and first runner-up Masaba Gupta.
Winner 2013: Frou Frou by Archana Rao
“I’ve always loved the term ‘frou frou’. It’s the noise fabric makes when it rubs against itself,” explains Rao with her characteristic shy smile. While the term might evoke visions of all things girly, the designer knows just where to draw the line. “I’m inspired by contrasting elements,” she says. “The juxtaposition of soft with harsh, dreamy with sharp.” Her preferred palette of pastels and nudes is rooted by no-nonsense khakis, beiges and whites, the silhouettes a seamless blend of femininity and structure. In modern-day India, it’s the sort of ethos that appeals right away.
Vogue loves: Her sweetly girly vintage aesthetic.
VIFF 2013: THE FINAL ROUND OF JUDGING
Watch our 5 finalists show the judges their capsule collections, sketches for Westside, Tigre Blanc-inspired clothing and phone accessories for Micromax. Who will win this year? Results out in November.
HIGHLIGHTS: FINAL ROUND OF JUDGING
Fashion extends to more than just clothes. Keeping this in mind, it was only natural for VIFF 2013’s five finalists to design phone covers for Micromax.
"I thought it would be cool to have a phone covered in a palm print," says Masaba Gupta. Her second phone cover design featured variations of bright orange checks, something that’s very close to her brand’s DNA.
Just like the bottle, the Tigre Blanc-inspired ensembles by VIFF 2013’s finalists largely followed a monochromatic colour scheme.
Archana Rao of Frou Frou translated the theme of ‘Open Love’ with a white dress sprinkled with ebony flowers.
Masaba Gupta channeled the white tiger with a gold-trimmed ethnic look that she described as “Indian but global”, while Gaurav Jai Gupta spun together a silk and steel sari to convey Tigre Blanc’s luxurious and aspirational vibe.
As part of their final round of judging for Vogue India’s Fashion Fund 2013, our five finalists were given the task of creating a capsule collection for Westside to retail, called ‘Bombay Paisley’.
Masaba worked monochrome prints into outfits featuring pops of colour, Archana Rao picked folklore and fairytales to create an affordable line around, while Ajit Kumar of 5X looked to technology for inspiration. For Gaurav Jai Gupta, the task was simple - all he had to do was tone his classic silhouettes down and bring in traditional handlooms.
Frou Frou by Archana Rao