Fashion needs to grow

Close to three decades and we are still far behind when it comes to making it to the global fashion arena. Is that enough? Not quite.

Barring a few, very few at that, Indian fashion is not really accepted in the world markets. Whether it is the complacent mindset or the lack of opportunities provided by those who are responsible, the fact remains the same the: none of our designers have made it big worldwide as is the case with other such Asian designers as Yohji Yamamoto, Kenzo, Rei Kawakubo or Issey Miyake.

What could possibly the reason for this?

First let’s examine this from the designers’ side. While all the other Asian designers who have made it big in the Western fashion scene have successfully translated their country-specific sartorial styles so as to suit the markets there, those who attempted from here either tried to imitate those successful Western fashion designers (of course with a little here and little there kind of Indianness on their garments) or did an over doze of India in their collections. While they all know the essence remains in the conversion of Indian onto wearable western sensibilities, they somehow left that very essence behind while trying their hands in these markets. Add to that their overzealous price tags. It is rather unfortunate that we still don’t have a name that screams loud its global acceptance.

Second, none of the organisations that exist in India are known anything more than organising fashion weeks. Whether it is the Chambre Syndicale of Paris, CDMI of Milan, British Fashion Council of London and CFDA of New York, they all are known much more than organising just fashion weeks. They push hard for their member designers and do other activities related to fashion through the year.

Five years or so into the formation of the Fashion Design Council of India, I used to tell its Executive Director that time that the Council should indulge in all possible activities related to fashion for promoting its member designers. If nothing happened that time, it remains the same even now.

If fashion needs to move forward, as it should, we need to make a concerted effort to give it the push that it needs. So far no one does it and that includes the media and its editors.

Until that happens it will remain a small scale industry with big egos and attitudes.

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