Sharp, crisp, edgy and cool with an eye for detail. Antar-Agni’s inaugural line of footwear is an extension of the brand’s DNA. We spoke to designer Ujjawal Dubey on the new feather in his cap.
Congratulations! Absolutely stunning line of shoes. How satisfying was putting together this collection for you?
Times are very hard, but we wanted to keep doing something new and shoes were the first on the list. We have done it for our shoots and campaigns before as well, but never took it out commercially on our website. So we decided to do it. Firstly, it is a good change. Secondly, it is a very important accessory too, which also goes with the kind of clothes that we are doing.
The current collection was a part of Echoes that we did last season. Out of the remnants and fabrics that we were left with, we have done the shoes. And it has actually pumped us up.
Was that in the pipeline while you were making Echoes?
Yes… but we did not decide on doing shoes commercially or selling it out (initially). We only did it for the current collection. We believe in the power of repetition. Here you will see the repetition of the details we use on the clothes, the pintucks, the gathers…. That was there and we paired it up with some interesting soles and we found a good friend who can do it for us also. Now we are doing it properly. There’s more to come… more thoughtful shapes and solutions.
Is it unisex? The styles look simple and comfortable…
Yeah, it’s for both men and women. The current collection is pretty easy-going and has a laid-back feel to it too. Also, the current situation we are in, everyone is at home and I don’t think anyone is in the mood to even bend down and tie those laces. I was thinking about myself that I don’t have anywhere to go and I don’t even want to bend (laughs). So the slip-ons. In a couple of months, we will come up with lace-ups and interesting soles and shapes.
We sit with our technical person and decide our sole height. Based on the restrictions we end up with something we like. It has not been very different for me honestly.
We are sure the feedback has been amazing, like with all your other collections…
The feedback was amazing even before we launched the line. That gave us more encouragement to come out with the line.
Are you particular about shoes?
(Laughs) I don’t really collect many, but I am particular about the fact that it should not make me feel uneasy. I follow simple, basic styling, but I look for one quirk element, be it the sole height, the boxiness of it or the colourblock.
I love Adidas among others.
Echoes looks fantastic…
What is Echoes? It’s the sound that you hear back. We wanted to work with an element that has been overused and existing since time unknown. Pleats and pintucks have been a part of menswear and womenswear since centuries. We wanted to play with that element in the most destructive and dramatic way but yet not look that destructive. We have cut it, placed it asymmetrically… that element has helped us define our clothing in most of the pieces. In many we have decided on the silhouette later and placed the element on the fabric randomly.
It looks like a lot of fun and cutting-edge…
I am happy with my collection after a very long time (laughs). This one pumped me up quite a bit. I am happy the way it came out. It’s fluid.
You have always made womenswear but is there more emphasis now?
The percentage hasn’t increased but the styles are gaining prominence. It is still 15-20 per cent of our collection but we are trying to make each piece impactful and strong.
The seven-year journey has been great. Looking back, what has been your takeaway?
Growing up, as a kid and in my college days, I realised that thinking so far ahead gives me anxiety. That’s when I stopped thinking! (Laughs) I just go with the flow and I just have one belief that I will do it.