Spotlight falling on a cause

Last Updated 21 September 2016, 18:29 IST
In the past couple of years, we have seen fashion designers take the stage to promote social causes — the lives of the Syrian refugees, environmental awareness and acid attacks are just a few of them. However, does promoting serious issues on platforms like fashion shows really help serve the purpose? “Yes, it does,” says fashion guru Prasad Bidapa. 

“Fashion shows are an attractive platform, and the best of societies attend these shows. So using that as a vehicle, if we pass on a serious message about education or cancer awareness, it has a trickle-down effect. If we can manage to target the best influential audience, those people in turn can influence at least 10 more people. So these shows have a great ripple effect on people,” he explains.

Every year there are at least three such shows he is involved with and most of the time, it is the people of the organisation themselves (especially children) who walk for these fashion shows instead of professional models. “These shows help these children become more aware of the society and the cause of the event. And it exposes the high society to the reality on the ground, so it works great both ways,” he says. 

He points out that on an international level too, one can spot designers using fashion as a vehicle for promoting a social cause or any other charitable funding. Designer Archana Kochhar has a valid point to make, when asked about whether such shows benefit in the long run. “These shows create  a momentary impact on some people, but in many others, it will create a considerable change. And that is what is important to us,” says designer Archana Kochhar.

Fashion shows she believes is a great way to communicate and reach out to a whole new audience. “Media has been a great support to bring these shows forward garnering a huge gathering, focussing on making them more aware of an issue. I have always been involved when it comes to promoting a social cause,” she adds.
Archana recently showcased her collection at the New York Fashion Week, where is supported the initiative — ‘Bring Beauty Back’— where she encouraged acid attack survivor Reshma Banoo Qureshi to walk the ramp. Another highlight was at the ‘Bangalore Fashion Week’ where she promoted ‘Global disability inclusion’.

Through these events she wanted to tell the world, that having a disability doesn't hold anyone back. “My only aim is to make people understand that everyone should be treated equally. We hardly see people with disability hanging out normally in a theatre, shopping mall or in a  restaurant. We need to change our attitude and start accepting them as one among us,” explains Archana. Promoting a social issue in a subtle manner can leave a lasting impression on people. 

Echoing the same, designer Payal Sethi opines that these shows have emerged as one of  the best platforms to reach out to people. She says, “The fashion industry has a large audience and giving out a message or discussing serious issues can spread like wildfire among the informed people.” She highlights that apart from bigger shows, this can be seen in colleges as well, where a fashion show is incomplete without a message. The young generation is interested in  fashion and fashion shows can be a good platform to create  awareness about various issues.

“Talking about an acid attack or a cancer survivor also encourages these people to come out in public with their head held high. We have seen that people, in the long run, has accepted them. It is a proud moment, when the fashion industry is successful in creating a difference in the world,” says Payal
(Published 21 September 2016, 15:55 IST)

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