In recent years, many an Indian fashion label has begun to blend traditional Indian dress with contemporary global fashion aesthetics. Established labels and brands such as Anita Dongre’s ‘Global Desi’ are devoted entirely to fusion Indo-Western attire, while traditional Indian brands such as Fabindia and W have expanded to include lines focused on Indian-inspired Western clothing. In the sea of this trend, it’s been quite easy to stay adrift, meandering from one choice to another without fully committing to any, but independent fashion labels devoted to a similar ethos seem determined to give the marrying of cultures a more distinct visual identity. One such label, मैं Mae, celebrates India’s diverse culture through comfortable urban fashion.
Founded in 2014 and based out of Delhi, मैं Mae features contemporary pieces inspired by Indian patterns, cuts, textiles, designs, and even Bollywood. From tops and dresses featuring prints and patterns that pay homage to Indian tradition to bomber jackets inspired by sarees and kurtis, the label is an easy favourite for anybody who’s drawn to disruptive culture-fusing via fashion. While much of the label is geared towards women, refreshingly, they also produce men’s fashion, primarily outerwear. A quick scroll through their gorgeous page will let you know that they’re dedicated to making their clothing comfortable, colourful, and unapologetically Indian.
This makes sense given founder and designer Jayeta Rohilla’s multi-cultural upbringing. Hailing from Haryana, she has lived around the world, from China to Sweden and Bangladesh, but has said that it is Indian culture and fashion that most inspire her and the label मैं Mae. She began working on the label while still in college and hopes to create unique and affordable fashion that celebrates Indian diversity while still keeping up with the times. Sourcing her fabrics from all over India, Rohilla’s designs are an expression of an urban Indian identity, and the label’s name, मैं Mae, the Hindi word for ‘I’, is a homage to the same.
The label’s various collections are often inspired by Bollywood. “The collection names have a connection with an element of India. Like the collection Mitti was named after the song Ye Jo Desh Hai Mera from the movie Swades. I was listening to the song and got inspired. Another collection Bharat has items inspired by actress Sridevi’s Hawa Hawai song and it also consists of a Padosan hoodie,” said Rohilla in an interview with Indian Women Blog. Rohilla’s designs are also influenced by her family - for example, the ‘Dadi Gloves’ is a take on handmade woollens Rohilla received from her own grandmother.
Some of the label’s most striking pieces include their Ghunghat Hoodies, a series of hoodies inspired by sarees and the tradition of wearing a ghunghat. With vibrant colours and intricate patterns, these hoodies resist hard and fast categorisation. Just as likely to present itself in an urban streetwear connoisseur’s wardrobe as it is your mother’s winter wear, they’re innovative and traditionally fashionable. However, tradition isn’t something that restrains this contemporary label, with their focus on diversity and inclusiveness which is represented with their choices of unconventional faces, such as beautiful trans model Taksh Sharma, and some very gender neutral apparel.
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