If 2020 marked the 25 years of Tarun Tahiliani’s career in the fashion industry, it also testified to the way in which he graciously integrated the virtual world that the pandemic has imposed on us bluntly. It was therefore only poetic for him to also mark the return of fashion to the catwalks when he inaugurated the FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week in October 2021. And this is where the breadth of his experience holds the veteran of the Indian designer prominently as he continues to effortlessly evolve, this time in the form of Tasva – a spread of the ubiquitous TT sensibilities presented in a more accessible format of high-end menswear, in collaboration with Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd (ABFRL).
Recently launched in unmistakable TT style during a whirlwind, albeit fashionable, trip to the ancient ghats of Benaras in December, the choice of location wasn’t just ornamental – it represented a kind of homecoming. while it highlighted the place which symbolizes The nomenclature of Tasva as well as the ideology of being Indian at heart.
So what does Tasva mean? The word, in Sanskrit, roughly translates to “all that is me, all that is mine” and for Tarun, this essentially symbolizes the vast heritage of the Indian subcontinent, which the designer now wishes to make more accessible with competent help from ABFRL.
So how does one of India’s greatest fashion designers acclimate to the business operation of a ready-to-wear brand? “They really put me through a rigorous immersion to understand what this market entailed because they said, ‘you have absolutely no idea’ and I was! They showed me what all the other brands, prices, fabrics and samples were doing and I kept saying I couldn’t use 100% polyester. I said the clothes have to be beautifully made – as beautiful as TT. We had 7,000 fabric samples and I didn’t like any of them because they were 100% polyester and that’s how we ended up in Benaras and found the staple. I only found out about it last year and once you start sourcing the fabric it opens the door for new things and other factories that were doing that, ”Tarun said.
The attention to detail is evident in the clothes we were able to see at the famous Brijrama Palace, where the clothes were divided into five categories ranging from ethereal ivories, sultry pastels, rich jewel tones, whites and golds. and later, blacks. But since it’s TT, he made sure the clothes were not only seen, but also touched and felt, as the models strolled around us throughout the day even as we enjoyed light refreshments. Locals on arrival were watching the big aarti party at Dashashwamedh Ghat from the top of a barge, feasting on live music and indulging in a hearty local dinner, followed by dessert.
And if you thought Tasva was just your regular ready-to-wear label making one-size-fits-all clothes, here’s what Tarun had to say: “We wanted to offer clothes that were beautifully cut, beautifully crafted and perfectly fitted. . Even the perception among the wealthy is that Indian clothes are uncomfortable and that needs to change.
Aditya Birla sent out her master fitters who took our sizes from 38 to 44 and each size has a slim fit and regular fit, then we called random people from all over the factory to try on each garment in each size. So we tweaked the edit and worked with more factories to get it right. So there is a lot of technology and years of hard work that you won’t see in the garment that made this possible.
Achkans, bandhgalas, jodhpuris, sherwanis, stoles and shawls, embellished with ankle boots, flowers and vines are all part of Tasva which can be worn by a modern Indian groom and his friends at the same time.
In fact, the creator behind the ‘India Modern’ scheme made sure that this label also has the versatility of wear that a modern Indian man would want – from a shaadi to a cocktail party.
Tasva is indeed a neat little ensemble of the sharp aesthetic of the master clothier, tightly wrapped with ABFRL’s corporate production capabilities at very affordable prices. And how accessible are these price points? Kurtas start at Rs 1,599 according to the label’s website.
While 2021 has seen a number of Indian designers travel the business route, ABFRL has a well-thought-out strategy for Tasva. “We think ethnic clothing is going to be an important category as confident Indians rediscover their culture and heritage. Tarun Tahiliani was a pioneer in the Indian design industry and “Tasva” offers the emerging Indian consumer a new line of party wear reflecting unparalleled and exquisite design excellence. This partnership is in line with our stated strategy to create a brand portfolio that spans the gamut of ethnic clothing segments such as value, high end and luxury, ”said Ashish Dikshit, Managing Director of ABFRL, who also announced at our dinner their plans to open 70 stores across the country.
What’s also interesting is that in the midst of the business of dressing Indians in the best of India, the idea of honoring Indian heritage with a nod to tradition and a commitment to modernism also comes into play with the use of khadi, viscose, slub cotton and wool blends. , viscose blends and more, as 70% of the fabric comes from Benaras, where a tour of the handlooms and power looms operating side-by-side the next day seemed to be representative of the ethos behind the brand. .
“We wanted to eventually open factories to train women in hand embroidery and also give them stable jobs, so it works on a number of levels, especially with a group like Aditya Birla. And I was mentored throughout this process by Mr. (Kumar Mangalam) Birla himself and when he saw the samples he said, “We have to start dressing India like this” – because that they really believe in this product. And I said, “You provide the quality and I will continue to provide the design from my side,” Tarun said.
So, as Tasva and Tarun prepare for their next big festive launch in July (following the release of their Spring / Summer capsule), it also raises the question of whether Tasva will be moving into the more complicated terrain of women’s fashion. . “Well, women’s clothing is just a talk at the moment – if wishes were horses and I could be a model! Was Tarun’s cheeky response.
We wanted to offer clothes that were beautifully cut, beautifully made and perfectly fitted. Even the perception among the wealthy is that Indian clothes are uncomfortable and that needs to change. Aditya Birla sent out her master fitters who took our sizes from 38 to 44 and each size has a slim fit and regular fit, then we called random people from all over the factory to try on each garment in each size. So we tweaked the edit and worked with more factories to get it right. So a lot of technology and years of hard work that you won’t see in the garment that made this possible
– Tarun Tahiliani