We cannot ignore the importance of bling in fashion
Oct 28 2013
From a business point of view also, we see that on the world map of fashion, India is looked up to for its textiles and craftsmanship in which embroideries play an important role. We can also say that it is our biggest USP in the global fashion market. One major concern here is that already we see a lot of cheap substitutes of hand embroidery in the form of machine-made and computerised techniques in the market. This reduces the cost and provides an affordable alternative to hand embroidery, but their quality is so poor that discerning buyers prefer paying for the original stuff rather than settling for cheaper imitations.
Ironically, the generation of tomorrow looks for a one-time wear and is ignorant on the source. Thus, the challenge to maintain the quality is not just from the demand side but from the supply side as well. The embroidery, whether blingy or traditional, till today has given the fashion and apparel industry a lot of space to experiment and revive dying textiles and techniques. We can’t ignore the huge demand of bling in our country, which is very hard to evaluate. I know a lot of designers who have one commercial line which is viable on bling and another line with more experimental garments, with which they keep on trying to make a change in Indian fashion.
Recently, we have been seeing a lot of designers trying to use Indian textiles on western silhouettes and that is an experiment, which is very critical for our future in global fashion. However, this experiment can only be done with funds. Since there are very few institutional investors in the fashion industry in India, the paucity of funds discourages lot of creative brains. The only solution to balance this out is to have a commercial collection running parallel.
Yes, we the designers need to work out on ways to use bling in a smart way ensuring that the end user of our design doesn’t look over the top or feel out of place wearing it in a global ambience. That way, we can retain our rich heritage in terms of embroideries and also cater to the contemporary audience.
(The writer is a Delhi-based fashion designer)