'Who am I to save the sari?'

OUTSPOKEN DESIGNER

Rehane, one of Chennai’s most renowned designers, is confident, young at heart and a trendsetter. She is known for her modern Indian sensibilities with a strong sense of European haute couture. She spoke to Metrolife at Blenders Pride Bangalore Fashion Week, where she showcased her latest resort wear collection.

Proud of Chennai’s fashion sense, she says, “I want Chennai to be what it is. So what if it’s hot? It’s hot in paradise as well! Chennai has got a different mindset and philosophy from other cities. Just because they are not buying the usual Herve Leger bandaged dresses doesn’t mean anything. It would be boring if more and more people started dressing the same way.”

Her connection with Bangalore goes back a long way and she is a proud ‘Bishop Cotton product’, confesses Rehane. She elaborates, “Anything that is hatke started here. When I visited Bangalore from Italy during college, I saw one of my first laptops here. We have to pat ourselves for not being mainstream. That’s what sets us apart from the rest of India. We should focus on being as different as we are and not try to fit in.”

   While fashion designing is her forte, she’s also fond of writing, singing, painting and photography. “I’m never uninspired and love what I do. I’ve evolved as a person after so many years in this business and always keep a ‘bring it on’ approach to work and life. I was a tomboy when I was growing up but for some reason, I always wanted to make pretty clothes since the age of 13,” recalls Rehane, who only wears her own clothes. “The way I dress is more global than Indian or Western and my wardrobe has only my stuff. I don’t touch any other brand. I can’t bear them physically because the cut is wrong or something doesn’t suit,” she states.

Rehane has done some very interesting projects — from collaborating with Jimmy Choo to working with South Indian handloom artisans on jamakkalam mats. But she is not out to ‘be the messiah that’s going to save the weave’. “Who am I to save the sari? In 50 years, nothing will be there. The sari and ghagra will be there at weddings but 100 years later, even they won’t be around. The current generation is a write-off and we are the last originals. Soon, if you ask a kid sitting in any big metro across the world to draw a cocktail dress, it’s going to look identical.

A girl wearing a little black dress will automatically be more elegant than a woman wearing a long red dress and that’s unfortunate,” she notes. However, she is quite optimistic about the growth of Indian fashion. “We aren’t doing as well as we should thanks to factors like the government, infrastructure and price fluctuations. But we’re the last frontier for creative thinking, brain power and high fashion. There is nothing beyond us,” wraps up Rehane.

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