There was a time, not so long ago, there were only a handful of fashion designers in India. Those days, whoever were in the business did their job seriously.
Soon enough, many more got the whiff of glamour that comes free with fashion designing. And the profession called fashion designers started mutilating and before we knew what happened there were a battalion of designers in the industry vying for attention, mostly from the media.
This mostly consisted rich, bored housewives coming out through their kitchen doors with a copy of a fashion magazine and a masterji. They found it easier to copy from the magazine, put some embroidery on them and of course stitch their labels on them as well. Many of them, with their ability to throw cocktails and grab media attention because of their connections with prominent society faces, thus became fashion designers in the eyes of the ignorant (but yet powerful) media and thus in the eyes of the public as well.
And there were those guys who (again with their money) became fashion designers by throwing parties and introducing collections that they bought from other countries as their own. Again, just because of the mediaâ€™s attention on them, they too have become fashion designers.
Some of these, I think finally got themselves genuinely interested in what they were doing and started doing fairly okay collections. I guess this happened mainly because of their constant interactions with their masterjees and eventually getting some brush-off effects from them pertaining to designing. And the rest continue to torture all of us alike with their creations with which I will not even dare to mop my floor!
There was a time when I used to think that our fashion industry has become stagnant with the stalwarts who did what they always did, mediocre ones who did what they did forcibly for mere survival and the totally talent-less ones for mere media attention.
But, the last five years or so have made me change my perception of the industry when I saw extremely bright and innovative young designers taking over the industry slowly, but steadily. I will always give the credit for this to Lakme Fashion Week that has given a platform for young talents to showcase what they were capable of through all seasons. Some of the best and brightest designers of today have come to the limelight through this platform.
What happened with fashion and fashion designers in the beginning seems to be happening with fashion weeks these days. When wannabes found fashion designing as a means to get into society columns of newspapers in those days, fashion weeks and its organizers are using them as a means to make their business more lucrative.
Now many have started fashion weeks all over India. Calcutta and Bangalore are already on. Chennai is happening soon. I hear that Hyderabad is also wriggling and writhing. But the biggest of all jolts came when someone from my home state Kerala called and told me that there’s going to be a Kerala Fashion Week soon!
It took me a couple of days first to digest the news. Now I am sitting here as if I just heard the announcement of a Hurricane Katrina hitting my house soon. Kerala Fashion Week! Looking at some of the Malayalam TV channels and their fashion programmes is good enough to know how well they can pull a fashion week off! No offense to my country cousins, but I am really sad to say that a fashion week simply cannot work there.
Moving away from there, I really don’t know how many of these fashion weeks are actually being formed to generate business for fashion designers. I get this feeling that it’s more or less of what wannabe fashion designers did in the initial stages “more for media attention” along with the fact that, along the way, they can also make some fast bucks. Fashion means glamour and brands will only be too happy to associate with glamour.
So brands get their visibility and organizers get their money. The real question, however, remains that how fashion designers will be benefited from this?
This is something we will have to wait and see in the coming seasons.