Denim gets a new avatar with Gen Next Designer Naveem Shaikh

Creating her own design vocabulary through denim, Naveem Shaikh made her debut at The Lakme Fashion Week with her label Aaylixir. Unafraid to break the fashion industry’s conventions and norms; her breezy silhouettes, whimsical embellishments and the ease of adorning her creations make a strong statement, inculcate an instant liking to her work.

Giving denim, a classic fashion staple, a new avatar, Naveem firmly stands by the mantra,” If you believe in your work, people will start believing in it too.”


 Were you always inclined towards fashion?

Hailing from a business background I devoted the last ten years at my father’s printing press helping him, acquiring business acumen gaining experience in the commercial side of things. I developed an interest in fashion in the past two years.

How did you graviate towards it?

What you observe, feel and surrender to, becomes a part of your vocabulary. I researched everything there was to as far as fashion was concerned. My dream was to showcase at The Lakme Fashion Week. I applied for winter 2015 and did not get selected. I then applied for summer and finally got selected. I was overjoyed!


How did your experience in working for a business help you?

My experience with finance, administration and logistics helped me in the business aspect of my label. My vision needs to be support me financially. When I was setting up my stalls and designing my lookbook it gave me a direction and helped me get myself organised.

What is your design philosophy?

Innovation is an integral part of my design philosophy and goes hand in hand with making it commercially viable. Break the norms and tread on a path unknown yet make it wearable.

What was the inspiration behind your collection?

I wanted to design something very playful in a more mature way when it comes to wearability. Denim is something close to my heart and is a fashion classic. I played with it in various ways; dyeing, laser cutting and amalgamating it with different Indian textiles like chanderi, cotton and silk.


Where did you get the inspiration to make denim the centre of your collection?

I travel a lot and am always connected to fashion. I have observed that denim is taken too seriously. Ripped denim is so done. I wanted to reinvent denim in a way that’s never been done before.


A lot of embellishments were seen on your clothing. Where did that come from?

I have used alphabets and numbers, bugs and beetles. I injected fun into denim pieces that could be worn in a number of ways. Designers were taking denim way too seriously. I wanted it to be playful and wearable at the same time. I wanted to dwell into childhood and go down memory lane.

There was a lot of conflict in my mind serious vs playful design which I really felt I wanted to design and base my collection on. My quilted denim jacket has alphabets on it to make it fun.


Where did you name your label Aaylixir?

It’s a greek name. In Greece a magical potion Aaylixir, when consumed makes you immortal. I like the idea of the brand living on forever. And of course I loved the fact that it was a tongue twister.

What’s next in store for Aaylixir?

I am flooded with orders. Have to get that done! I want to get into the international market which is very mature compared to the Indian market.


picture courtesy: Vogue India, Elle India, Naveem Shaikh






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