Wonderland.

FRESH FINDS: DHRUV KAPOOR

The Indian contemporary brand embraces the ideals of Soul Tech to create a transgressive new collection.

shrub kapoor
shrub kapoor

The only thing better than building your very own brand from scratch, is building an entirely new mindset – something which Dhruv Kapoor accomplishes with his goal-driven fashion. Refusing to acknowledge the stringent boundaries placed on clothing by gender, Dhruv Kapoor embraces menswear and womenswear in a way which celebrates multiplicity and plurality — viewing them both as an “us” as opposed to “them”. Finding roots within the spiritual realm, Dhruv Kapoor is a brand which is not only transgressive in its mission, but empowering in its products. As such, they continue to pave the way for a more inclusive and unitive attitude towards fashion.

Bringing this vision to fruition, Dhruv Kapoor unveils his AW22 collection, which calls upon the empowering sentiments of Soul Tech: a growing subculture, bereft of a beginning or end. Cultivating the powers of technology, the collection incorporates the past, present and future — and begins a journey back to becoming “one” species.

With the collection pulsating with bold cuts and experimental silhouettes, Dhruv Kapoor’s narrative is weaved into every stitch. A Spring-native baby blue is used throughout the majority of looks, a colour which was once attributed to one specific gender, now uniting everyone in various hues. The influences of modern technology are promoted through the eclectic printing of fabric, some of which bows to the past in striking 70s patterns. With materials old, up cycled and new, nature and science collaborate to hand-embroider the geometric clothing — a testament to the new things we can create when all matters of energy collide.

Given the deep spiritual grounding of the brand, we spoke with the brands founder himself about the beginning of Dhruv Kapoor, what Soul Tech means to him, and the ultimate goal of his work. Scroll below for the full interview…

dhruv kapoor
dhruv kapoor

Where are we speaking to you from?
Currently in Dubai… on my way to New Delhi.

Starting at the beginning, what first sparked your interest in fashion and design?
It started with jewellery. Back when I was in sixth grade, I was fascinated with the design process — from the sketches to the final product. Gradually it moved to apparel and how clothes alone have the power to communicate. Ever since, my vision has been clear to me.

Where would you say most of your inspiration stems from? How would you describe your process of generating ideas?
Mostly the books I read. All collections have a spiritual root to them. It’s mostly hidden ancient knowledge or yogic science that drives me constantly. Personally, I like to project these truths through seasonal collections through prints, silhouettes, surface and sound. The process involves maintaining a calm state of mind, for new ideas to flow and to revisit age old concepts in a contemporary format. I find it essential to build around the clothes- to create an environment for one to feel the emotion through the product.

If you didn’t end up becoming a designer, what do you think you would be doing right now?
Meditating somewhere in the hills. I feel that’s my only other true calling.

How did living in Milan compare to life in India?
It’s similar in terms of lifestyle. However, the aesthetic is an opposite. India is famous for its maximal approach to things whereas Milan or Europe in general maintains a calmer, minimal approach. As a result, the brand combines these two extremes and delivers a new palette seasonally.

What impact did this have on you as a person as well as your designs?
I’ve lived in Milan for a couple of years which drastically shifted my initial approach to apparel. The brand is a clear combination of the minimal aesthetic, finished with the maximal approach of India.

As a brand, Dhruv Kapoor aims to break the archaic rules of gender. Could you expand on how you implement this in your designs and why you think this topic should be explored through fashion?
It is important to understand our interconnectedness. The fact that there is nothing defined by gender, and we are ONE. This comes effortlessly during the design process. We noticed a natural shift in silhouettes, surfaces and prints- they were always neutral. We look at creating a genderful vibe through our work.

In relation to the previous question, can you recall any experiences that pushed you to dissect these gender norms?
In India, it’s fairly visible. How women are subjected to run a household, whereas the men run the show at forefront. This was the biggest trigger. I was determined to infuse emotions of power in each product we design. I enjoy dressing the mind and the soul — after all, it is pure emotion that one feels when they wear something they love. It somehow psychologically triggers them to feel more confident or powerful or fearless or whatever one may desire.

Juxtaposition and pattern clashing is something that features heavily in your designs. Why is this?
This is my favourite part of the design process: styling the collection. Odd combinations, strange colours and a little bizarre — I love it all. For example: Sometimes 5cm of a bright orange can lift an otherwise dull brown coat. I enjoy trying new combinations — sometimes the market responds and sometimes they go unnoticed… either way, I push on exploring this space the most.

Would you ever like to collaborate on a collection with another designer or artist? If so, who would this be?
I would love to collaborate with artists or fellow designers who may have an opposite approach to mine. I feel in this case- the common ground we arrive to would be a refreshing take. My eyes are forever on the lookout and the list is getting longer… But I prefer revealing it as and when it materialises.

What can you tell us about your recent AW22 collection? What is “SOUL TECH” and how does this relate to the ethos of your brand?
Soul Tech responds to advancement of science and technology along with increased understanding of our eternal soul. A combination of “spirit” and “science”. The concept comes forward from multiple books and videos that I came across — talking about soul exploration by scientists and hidden ancient wisdom. As they expose these truths, it was interesting for us to build a narrative through clothes, concluding that there is more to it than just this 3-D reality construct. The brand believes in the power of emotion, that of love and our interconnectedness — which runs throughout the collection. There is no greater power than love.

This collection sees prints and patterns containing 70s iconography. What is the relevance of this in your collection? Is the 70s your favourite fashion era?
I love the playful mix and match from the 70s. Each season automatically starts to drift to that era when we are styling the looks. For this collection, we explored poster prints from the 1970s (originally designed for concerts) and translated them to posters with soulful messages along with skewed wallpapers from the 70s- part printed and part embroidered by hand. “Back to Source” is my personal favourite!

What do you enjoy about fashion week? Are there any parts of it that you’re dreading?
I enjoy it thoroughly. However, it does get hectic — but nevertheless I love exploring the city and different events during fashion week with my team. It offers great insight into future patterns and possible directions.

Ultimately, how do you want your clothing to make people feel?
Powerful, loved and fearless. As a part of the process, my team and I are determined to dress the mind and the soul of the wearer. Tapping into their psychological state is our main aim. Our target market is not defined by gender or age, it is the universal mind that resides in each one of us.

FRESH FINDS: DHRUV KAPOOR

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