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Label Ritu Kumar
‘Classics will return’
"There are a lot of people wearing western clothes in India. At the same time, there is strong demand for Indian fashion."
Fibre2Fashion : You are one of the first Indian designers. What is your opinion about the Indian fashion industry especially compared to western countries?
quite a miracle that India’s indigenous fashion all around the world is
different. The reason is that it has been taken over by the multinational
conglomerate, where most fashion comes from France, Italy or America. We do not
have indigenous fashion any more in the world. It is quite phenomenal that India
still has a unique fashion identity.
Fibre2Fashion : Do you agree that Indian fashion is all about heavy sarees and anarkalis, which are not worn every day?
not true. Daily wear is influenced by indigenous and ethnic clothing. Not
everybody wears heavy sarees and anarkalis frequently. We have a number of
combinations of salwar-kameez or a churidaar-kurta or just sarees. If you look
around, not many people wear sarees around the year. So, if we are talking
about the bridal market, it is about heavy sarees and anarkalis. The advent of
the kurti has brought a drastic fashion change. This is really popular with the
younger generation. It is trendy and in fashion.
Fibre2Fashion : Do you think there is too much of western influence on Indian fashion?
it is not as much as I expected it to be, there is a lot of influence of other
cultures because of the internet and other sources which help us to connect with
the rest of world. There are a lot of people wearing western clothes in India
as well. At the same time, there is a strong demand in our country for Indian
fashion. India is not just Delhi or Mumbai. Across the country, what you really
see is the evidence of Indian fashion. There is great diversity in fashion
Fibre2Fashion : How can Indian clothing be a part of the working environment or formal work wear?
to look at the working environment and what people are doing, to see what
people are wearing. Cotton kurtis are popular with working women in India as
they are comfortable and are suitable for the hot temperatures in our country.
Western formal dresses are accepted but our climatic conditions make it
difficult to wear them.
Fibre2Fashion : You have dressed a number of celebrities. Is a celebrity clientele essential for a designer’s career?
It is definitely interesting
for people to look at celebrities and what they wear. I like to dress my
celebrity clients in clothes like bandhanis, block printing, hand work and
embroidery. It becomes easier for non-celebrity clients to identify themselves
with a well-known personality. When a celebrity wears my creation, it does get
much more attention. It is not true that one has to have a celebrity clientele to
be a good fashion designer. When we started, there was no media, so there were
no red carpet events. Yet, we all lasted and we are glad to work for our
Fibre2Fashion : You were awarded the Padma Shri for exceptional and distinguished service in fashion. Who are your favourite designers?
really hard to say as there are many talented people. I do not have one
favourite but many. Rakesh Thakore and David Abraham are on my list because I
appreciate their work.
Fibre2Fashion : Is it time for Indian as well as global textile and apparel industry to be sensitive towards environmental hazards? Are you satisfied with steps taken in this regard?
time for the Indian and global textile and apparel industry to be sensitive
towards environmental hazards. In India, we dress according to our budget and
not according to what is good for us and our environment. In the rest of the
world, you have to get testing certifications but in India we choose affordable
clothing and very often, those are not environment-friendly. Much more needs to
be done by the government in these areas.
Fibre2Fashion : Does fashion repeat itself?
is cyclic in nature because there are just a limited number of products that we
can produce from a piece of cloth. It is thus important to look at that
dimension. Sometimes, colours come back into fashion. The difference is in its
form. Patterns like parallels and Patiala salwars have come back in the past
few years. So do floral prints and hand block prints. Classics will return. Only
that which is trendy but does not work well in the market. People forget about
it. It does not need to come back.
Fibre2Fashion : What are the major transitions in the Indian fashion industry?
years ago, the fashion industry had no retail presence. There was no media and
no source of expression for marketing. Media has been of great help by
publishing images of how to produce clothes and with event images. So, if there
is a designer who has something nice to offer, he or she knows where to sell.
When I started in the industry, I simply did not know where to place my
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