“It is the synchronization of collection after collection that builds up a brand, not a sponsored participation in a group showing in some Fashion Week.”
Ever since they launched their fashion house in 1984, the brand Lecoanet-Hemant has been one of the hot sellers in the Indian and International market with their Haute Couture and Ready To Wear collections.
Though the number of designers in India just keeps increasing every passing day, there are very few, who can bring the aesthetics of French fashion combined with Indian dexterity the way designer duo Didier Lecoanet and Hemant Sagar do.
We got a chance to talk to them recently, about their brand, evolvement of Indian fashion industry and their predictions for the upcoming seasons.
Here are the excerpts…
SR- I remember actor Sanjay Suri saying somewhere that he had to wait for long to see you enter in the Indian market, whereas the west was getting the best of you. Why such delay?
HS- Indian Market does not exist as far as Fashion is concerned. What we call “Fashion” here is ramps with models walking on them but nearly no innovation for new clothes, mainly because of the heavy copying from each other’s work. Also the average Indian Fashion statement comes far away from the past, culturally speaking. Mostly copied either of the west or of each other, the norm is traditional i.e. Time-less clothes, not innovation. Likewise the shops that form the market, are more of depositories of garments than fashion forward.
SR- But your brand has become a pioneer label in Indian fashion industry in a very short span of time. What do you think is the success mantra of your brand?
HS- I don’t see success the way you do, as we only have two shops so far. People here don’t understand comfortable well cut garments, they all seem to be obsessed by over embroidered wedding garments they can wear only once. This simply means that the exception is more important than the regular, and it is the regular that Lecoanet Hemant makes. A ‘regular’ that makes you regularly special! A different point of view for a different kind of lifestyle that is probably just starting here!
SR- Talk us through the working chemistry between You and Hemant!
DL- No big deal! When you’ve worked together for donkey’s years like us, it’s more of a symbiosis than a working chemistry. More of two brains for a single thought. Anyone of us can come up with the first ideas that then evolve according to discussions and above all fittings. If we find anything similar, to what we might have created during the establishment of the main lines, then we don’t think twice before we cancel it. This has insured 100% pure creation since many years and also takes care of an intact image and flawless recognition well beyond “like and don’t like”.
SR- What kind of research goes in while you plan your collection(s)?
DL – Trend research is definitely needed whatever the ‘wise guys’ tell you, because working outside trends is near impossible with all the information that one is surrounded by. By research I mean one part trend i.e. deciding on what you accept as new and different and fitting to your vision mixed with what I would call intellectual luggage: the sum of all your work and how that has to continue logically to be in sync with what you wish to express.
It is the synchronization of collection after collection that builds up a brand, not a sponsored participation in a group showing in some Fashion Week. Deciding a collection and holding on to that plan without modifying it is another ingredient of success. If you keep on changing your plan, don’t be surprised to land somewhere you didn’t want to go. There also has to be a uniting pattern for the complete collection. A certain amount of characteristics that pop up all over the collection: a blouse collar that looks a bit like a lapel that has a line repeated in a cuff etc etc…
SR- How do you think Indian fashion market is developing? The bright(s) and the dark(s)?
HS- The real big change is the amount of imports and the growing influence of western culture versus the lack of new culture in India. Repeated tradition to me is a bore and I miss the opinions you are surrounded by in the West, a very big influence we don’t have here.
Truly directional shops with a assertive style do not exist here. Shops decide their merchandise according to the racks they rent out to designers and the designers decide what to hang on the racks according to their stocks; all a very financial handling of a so-called culture. In that context there is not much place for fashion and lifestyle and of course no real market.
SR- Didier, there are so many fashionistas who admire you as a designer, especially men who want to dress up like you or wear your designs. How about a little tip-off for them?
DL- The essence of fashion is the body and I am happy to see fewer bellies than before even though we still have a lot of them in North India. If you plan to look good and endure better fitted clothes that can help bring out the best of you, then stay fit – that should help.
SR- Ok, this question is for both of you. What would be that one thing that would add or remove from each other’s wardrobe?
HS- His old stuff.. He ‘never can say goodbye’ unlike me, wherein, I give away lots of clothes every season making way for the new.
DL- Adding I don’t know, as he buys so much, but removing for sure! Mainly because we actually wear the same size for everything, except trousers! Me being a bit lazy for shopping, he makes up for two!