'Fashion weeks just have entertainment value'

'Fashion weeks just have entertainment value'

Expressing concern over the growing number of fashion weeks, designer Rahul Mishra, who is known for his contribution to Indian handlooms and has featured in a National Geographic documentary, says most of them lack substance and have only entertainment value.

Instead, he advocates the maximum number of participants in a minimum of fashion weeks so that the desigers can remain focused.

"India has seen a tremendous growth in terms of fashion market in the last 10-15 years and (the major) fashion weeks have played an immense role in this success story. No one can deny the importance of (the major) fashion weeks in any context. But I feel there are too many fashion weeks happening in India today and unfortunately most of them have just entertainment value and lack substance," the 31-year-old told IANS.

The designer started his journey with Lakme Fashion Week in 2006. Since then, he has successfully showcased his collection at several fashion galas, including the bi-annual Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week organised by the Fashion Development Council of India (FDCI).

Apart from these two major events, India, in the past few years, has witnessed a sudden rise in fashion weeks, what with the Chennai Fashion Week, the Bangalore Fashion Week, the Hyderabad Fashion Week, the Kolkata Fashion Week, the India International Fashion Week, the Jaipur Fashion Week, the Pune Fashion Week, the India International Jewellery Week and this year, the India Resost Fashion Week and India Kids Fashion Week.

On one hand, he is unhappy with many fashion weeks happening in different parts of India and on the other hand he feels the  fashion industry is completely dependent on the major fashion weeks so these need to be strengthened with greater participation.
"I am a find of the Lakme Fashion Week. I am completely aware of the importance of the (major) fashion weeks in India. The Indian fashion industry is completely dependent on the fashion weeks...fashion weeks are also our window for the rest of the world. That's why I feel it is very essential for all of us to make fashion weeks stronger by participation to the best of our capabilities," he added.

Mishra is known for his contribution to Indian handloom textiles. Recently, a documentary film on handlooms of India, made for National Geographic profiled his philosophy and work.

This documentary, made in collaboration with Unesco and the ministry of textiles, explores the rich world of India's weavers and their magical creations through the eyes of Mishra as he is dedicated to the cause of exploring Indian weaves in the world of high fashion.

He feels Indian handlooms are not given due recognition in the country.
"India is a vast country and the handloom-dependent population in our country is massive. The condition of craftsmen and weavers is India is not very good. The handloom consumption has been on decline but it is poised for growth in the luxury segment. That is the way forward.

"We cannot keep placing handloom fabrics to compete with mass produced Chinese imports. With proper design intervention, I am trying to create a sustainable system to create a market for handlooms," he said.

Mumbai-based Mishra recently launched his 'Jaama' Indian wear collection in the capital at multi-designer store Ogaan.

"I was planning the collection for a long time. The Indian market is flooded with Indian outfits and I wanted to create a very unique look. So it took a lot of research and weaving exploration to be able to conceive it. The collection signifies the attire of great Mughals and is inspired by the opulent domes of the Islamic art and architecture," he said while explaining the concept behind the collection.

Next on his agenda is an accessories line."I am extending my brand into accessories like handbags. I will be doing a very high quality bespoke limited edition range. I am also working on a few collaborations with big corporates. I am also working on idea of creating a very affordable premium mass brand. We will be working on reviving more crafts from different parts of India in coming season," he said.

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