As the same-sex marriage debate rages in India with many eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision, couturier Mayyur Girotra is quietly but creatively making a statement. His latest collection ‘Aikya’ is his first luxury pret line that is debuting at an exclusive showcase that will kickstart Pride month.
The collection is a fusion of western silhouettes with Indian embroidery and techniques. Girotra says it blends colours and emotions that represent the LGBTQIA+ community worldwide. For the showcase, the designer has collaborated with Google and the Indus Google network Employee Resource Groups by being a concept partner for runway representation that includes various gender identities and sexual orientations.
Shilpa Maniar, Leader of the Indus Google Network in New York says they are excited about the collaboration and hope ‘to extend the conversation beyond conventional boundaries.’ The collection will be showcased to celebrate New York Pride 2023 on June 2 at Ave – Soho NYC agianst a backdrop of historic photographs of queer people from India.
Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us about your new collection Aikya.
It has been going on since the last two-four months. It is all about South Asian communities celebrating pride, but we wanted to keep the language of the brand intact which is traditional embroidery, non-binary, gender fluid fashion. Every garment of mine on the runway is gender fluid. This collection is luxury pret but acceptable in all forms. ‘Aikya’ means unity and it is dedicated to pride.
How is your gender fluid collection different from other gender fluid lines coming up?
My collection is all about Indian traditional culture, arts, embroideries, traditional heritage based mirror works, resham, Kashmiri aari work; very boho chic yet speaks in the light of India.
Do you also hope to make a statement through your collection in the light of the marriage equality debate?
My statement has always been clear. You have the right to love and marry whomever you want to. It is a personal choice and love cannot be defined. Gender fluidity has been there since humanity. Vedas and shastras, too, talk about it. How this positioning has arrived with us going to court is not clear but love has to win and will win. All my collection screams LGBTQIA because I am all about pride. I come from a Punjabi family and have gone through hell as a closeted, confused kid. I have seen so many lavender marriages happening because of family pressure. Things are changing in the metros but what about small cities where there is no education and many do not know what they are dealing with. There is a long way to go. I feel proud and soulful about this collection and I am attached to every piece.
On your collaboration with Google.
The team loved my work. One of the leaders from Google network contacted me and was very supportive. They gave me full freedom of to conceptualise the show and runway and it was a very smooth sailing.
With so many Indian designers going global, how has the perception of India changed on the runway?
India is centrestage now. A lot of international brands are getting embroideries done here, archiving our stuff, using mood boards with Indian concepts. I retail from New York, New Jersey and California and live between New York and India and have many international clients now. Many like to pair my lehengas with crop tops or jackets and sport a very boho chic look. Men like to wear my short kurtas with denims. My designs are no longer restricted to Indian or South Asian communities.
Are there any international collaborations on the cards?
Nothing is closed as such but something good should come up hopefully.
What is your next collection about?
It is going to be out in September. It is the Indian wedding couture and I am working on it. The collection is inspired by my trip to Istanbul and Cappadocia in Turkey. I had initially gone there for three days but then extended it for 12 days and ended up archiving everything and making mood boards. So, in my next collection, from the design inspirations to fabrics, everything has its inspirations from Turkey.