Fashion weeks always throw up something new, and the audience was rewarded when Radhika Apte ‘broke though the wall’ of tall, lean male models to take the ramp in an all-black athleisure suit. The designer, Pawan Sachdeva, asked her to model his gender-fluid clothes:”She’s comfortable in menswear and that is important for me,” says Sachdeva. We caught up with the two just before the collection, Decode, hit the ramp.
What does fashion mean to you in real and reel life?
Fashion means comfort to me. I also believe it is an art; I admire quite a few fashion-conscious people, but I understand little. So I am trying to gain as much insight into fashion. On screen, it all depends on the character I am assigned.
Your take on the kind of clothes Pawan makes?
Pawan’s gender-fluid outfits are the highlight of his collection. When we say gender fluid, we mean that it has feminine, masculine as well as all other gender identities. I simply love it. I think that I am apt for this as personally I too am into gender-fluid clothing.
What do you like about the collection?
The diversity. It goes from athleisure to formal, structured garments. We have black as well as neon in the design. There are also jogger pants and zipper details.
What made you rope in Radhika?
Radhika is a perfect star to carry an androgynous style and she moulds well with my vision. When I spoke to her over the phone, she asked me: ‘What are you going to give me?’. When I told her it was gender-fluid, she said ‘I love that sporty look.’ And when I revealed that the outfit will be all-black, she replied ‘I love wearing that colour’. Personally, she is very sincere, honest, hard working and comes across as a strong personality.
What is the lure of the gender-fluid?
Traditional outfits are only for weddings and ceremonies. People now want gender-fluid outfits for a party or to travel too. Cuts and silhouettes are very relaxed, with a mix and match of stripes and checks. Inner layering is like a T-shirt. So it becomes very comfortable. Designs are sharper, edgy, and a little bold when it comes to athleisure or structured formal wear. The colour story includes a palette ranging from rust and brown to neons and blacks.
Where did gender-fluid clothing begin?
Gender-fluid clothing began somewhere around 1960s and 1970s. In a man’s world, women started wearing pants and suits with grace and elegance. Power-dressing was a contribution to women finding a place and respect for themselves in a male-dominated society. It gave them a sense of confidence and equality in power and fashion.
(Pawan Sachdeva Design Studios, D-4, C-Block Community Centre, Naraina Vihar, Naraina. Price ₹ 40,000 upwards)