Alan Alexander Kaleekal | 29 Image: Nishant Ratnakar for Forbes India
Founder, creative director, Kaleekal
By the time Alan Alexander Kaleekal finished studying applied electronics and instrumentation, he knew that his calling wasn’t in the world of engineering.
So, the then 21-year-old packed his bags and left for Paris to study at Studio Berçot, where he spent the next three years learning fashion design. “It was a big decision and my parents were supportive of what I was doing. I had always known this is what I wanted to do,” says Alan, who grew up in Thiruvananthapuram.
After training with some of the biggest designers, including Jean-Paul Gaultier, Azzedine Alaïa and Rick Owens, Kaleekal returned to India in 2015, and launched his eponymous label. The funds came from his own pocket with his work primarily focusing on Indian artisanal crafts and handloom fabrics, his design sensibility contemporary and rooted in the idea of finding “perfection in imperfection”. Due to the experimental patterns and fits, his clothes tend to be gender neutral. Over the past couple of years, Kaleekal has been showcasing at various events, including Lakme Fashion Week. Click here to view the full Forbes India 30 Under 30 list
“As a young designer, Alan has been working with the artisans on the ground level and, at the same time, has developed a design language that is appealing to the global audience. Very few people have managed to do that,” says Jaspreet Chandok, head of Lakme Fashion Week and vice president and head of fashion at IMG Reliance.
Now, Kaleekal is setting up an experiential space in Thiruvananthapuram, which houses an art gallery, design space, library and an experimental lab kitchen, which is expected to open this year. His company is yet to break even, but Kaleekal has some serious plans for the next few years, including collaborating with Raymond for their menswear, applying to international fashion awards and eventually showcasing his line at Paris Fashion Week. “I want to take the brand international and open up stores globally,” he says.Click here to view the full Forbes India 30 Under 30 list
(This story appears in the 16 February, 2018 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)