Experts talk recovery & solutions for fashion industry
Updated: Mar 10, 2021
New Delhi, June 24 2020 - With the impact of the pandemic globally, the idea of fashion as a whole and couture in specific is set to undergo a complete rehaul, believes veteran designer and couturier Tarun Tahiliani. "Couture in India is made for weddings, unlike in the West where couture is for ballet openings, the Met gala or big black-tie fundraisers. But India, as we knew it has changed. It has been changing for the last two years, with the younger generation looking at life, the material and the spiritual differently. Now, with the global pandemic, the idea of fashion as a whole and couture in specific are set to undergo a complete re-haul. It is imperative that as a design community, we adapt to the slowing pace of the audience," shared Tahiliani, in a report on fashion industry launched on Wednesday. Talking about Indian Weddings, designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee has said: "This is the time for weddings to promote tourism, art and craft, and build a robust grassroots economy. Reboot the economy with wedding consumption, why not?" The designer's whose namesake luxury fashion house is the leading name in the business believes, "Weddings are an example of extreme conspicuous consumption. But, most importantly, they are also responsible for providing jobs, making sure thousands have money in their bank. Whether sophisticated and small, or a big display, I have no value judgement on the kind of wedding you want to have. I think everything is okay. If you can sustain jobs with your wedding, grassroots or otherwise, you can create it any way you like." The designers have shared their views in a guest column for "Saving Value: TVOF Rebuilding Report" which documents the changes, challenges and seeking recovery led answers. The report by digital magazine 'The Voice of Fashion' (TVOF) taps the changing psychologies of the business of fashion be it shows or brands probing the changing matrix of retail, style, weddings, couture, crafts and creative partnerships. It also features columns by William Bissell, Chairman, Fabindia; Laila Tyabji, Chairperson of Dastkar amongst other leading industry voices. Bissell writes: "The world over, dramatic shifts are being witnessed as both consumers and brands learn to navigate a brave new world defined by isolation and intense technology enabled interactions. Ironically, today the world is more 'connected' than ever before. While the pandemic has underlined our vulnerability, what has emerged as the distinguishing feature of these times is technological innovation and technological adoption, that has enabled human beings to continue functioning, creating, contributing." On the impact of COVID-19 on Crafts and Handlooms, Jaya Jaitly Founder and President, Dastkari Haat Samiti, has said: "The short-term effect is the cancellation of craft bazaars. From April to September, karigars are anyway at home producing winter orders, from retailers, wholesalers. In the long term, though we feel human interaction at a bazaar is the best way to appreciate the texture and contours of craft products, currently e-commerce could be an option. The role of digital channels in selling handicrafts is yet to be seen. Another way of structuring work on a long-term basis is by engaging craft communities in big design and craft projects from corporates, hospitality bodies, architects, interior designers. These earnings are far more and give them a secure and better livelihood." Among the "Global Voices", Orsola de Castro, Founder and Creative Director of Fashion Revolution; Eva Kruse, founder and chief executive of Global Fashion Agenda and Caroline Scheufele, Artistic Director and Co-President of Chopard among others have shared their views. "If customers spent the exact same amount of time they spend researching the Coronavirus researching instead of, say, the benefits of organic cotton versus mainstream cotton, or the shocking truth about fashion waste, or the importance of collective bargaining for all workers, they would become homegrown experts. If only people who love clothes would truly consider 'choice' for their fashion future. By choice, I do not mean thousands of slightly different, cheaply," writes Castro. The report also features postcards from Garo Hills, Kochi and Sindhudurg where crafts entrepreneurs, local artistes and designers working with handlooms share their stories realigning their creative impulses.