When one sees the range of goods on display in a typical Indian market, it is clear that there is a great demand for cheap textiles and styles. But this side of Indian fashion sometimes hides the great demand for premium, luxurious products.
Indian designer Nachiket Barve believes that ‘in many spheres we are still reeling under the colonial hangover, be it our embellishments, our way of living or our diet. We need to generate a self belief and a strong sense of identity.’ The designer believes that Indian designers often wait for native styles to be imported to the West before feeling confident enough to incorporate textiles, designs or styles.
‘For the past 20 to 25 years, there hasn’t been any sort of love for India or Indian aesthetic which has been cultivated. We blindly ape the West. We have killed our aesthetic in every way. However, we do have designers like Aneeth Arora and Rahul Mishra, who have integrated Indian textiles into their works and are selling internationally,’ says designer James Ferriera.
Fellow designer Shruti Sancheti agrees, saying ‘there is a mindset which feels that tribal embroidery, rustic printing techniques are not cool enough. However, the West is fascinated by these labour-oriented skillful tasks and deeply appreciate and patronise it. People still are not understanding the unrestrained opulence and understated luxury of these traditional crafts and it is unfortunate that designers from abroad have to educate us about our own aesthetic.’
Designer Anamika Khanna, on the other hand, disagrees. She believes that ‘Indian designers [do not] wait for the West’s validation at all.’ She believes that all part of the world are influenced and can influence them equally, creating a global exchange of fashions and styles: ‘it’s true at a global level, when the international designers use something, it is more visible and becomes a trend,’ she says.