‘Fashion provides opportunities everywhere’

Designers from small towns as well as big cities have bright prospects in the fashion industry and Chandigarh itself is sitting on a goldmine of talent, say leading names like Raghvendra Rathore and Shantanu and Nikhil.”It is not the case of a big city or small city, we have opportunities everywhere. The future of the Indian fashion industry is very bright. Our designers have to stick to their basics and class and style in their work,” said Rathore.Rathore, Asmita Marwah, Shantanu and Nikhil were here to participate in Seagram’s Blenders Pride fashion tour, a six city fashion tour that kick-started here Aug 7.There is huge talent in Chandigarh. It is just like sitting on a goldmine. You just go to Sector 17 here (commercial hub of Chandigarh) and you will find youngsters following new trends,” said the erstwhile royal from Jodhpur in Rajasthan.Incidentally, leading designer JJ Valaya hails from Chandigarh.

Three students – Sabah Khan, Sukhwant and Aastha – from Chandigarh-based Inter National Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD) showcased their designs at the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai.Rathore himself is influenced by the rich Indian heritage and royal culture that is visible in his collection of band gala jackets, kaftans, achkans and lehengas.”I have given a new and vibrant look to Indian costumes by adding a pinch of Middle East designs. Indian designs have won appreciations at the global platform,” said Rathore who has also designed for Amitabh Bachchan-Saif Ali Khan-Sanjay Dutt-starrer “Eklavya – The Royal Guard” – a 2007 movie about a royal guard and his loyalty to a king who no longer rules.Delhi-based designer Nikhil of the duo Shantanu-Nikhil also feels fashion designing is an emerging market in India.”Fashion designing is a new industry in our country, which is emerging like anything. Moreover in a country like India, where the majority of the population is young, we have a very great future with a very big market to cater to.

“The industry is so big that it is ready to accommodate any number of young designers. No number will create any kind of saturation. There is a huge scope,” said Nikhil.Apart from designing for their own label, Shantanu and Nikhil have designed for sports brands, dressed leading sports personalities, including Serena Williams, Sania Mirza, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Glen Mcgrath, Stephen Fleming as well as top notch Bollwood stars like Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan.”We had designed clothes for IPL’s (Indian Premier League) Mumbai Indians team. We have also tied up with many big corporate names and we call it corporatisation of the fashion industry,” Shantanu informed.Hyderabad-based designer Asmita Marwah said: “According to me, the growth of the fashion industry has been somewhat slow if we compare it with other countries. But it is now growing at a fast pace and there is a huge untapped talent and unexplored market here.There is big young population, so many consumers for new trends and products. We have to take this industry very seriously.”

She also feels good fashion schools will help in nurturing talents.”We need more quality fashion schools to churn out good talent. In fact, there should be a specialised field called fashion journalism so that the media can also do justice to the industry,” said Marwah, whose clientele includes filmstars like Priety Zinta and Asin Thottumkal and renowned painter M.F. Hussain.Throwing light on her designs, she said: “While designing I look at a boundary-free world through the eyes of an imaginary and mythical character called Maya who is travelling through various places.”If we talk about current global trends, then eco-friendly fabrics are in. India is a big inspiration for other countries as they are using our embroideries, colours and fabrics in their designs.”The Indian fashion industry is evolving and it is evident from the emphasis that politicians are laying on their wardrobes.”Jyotiraditya Scindia is an example of a well-dressed person in Indian politics. Besides I am very much inspired by the personality of Karan Singh. He carries his class with exceptional dignity,” said Rathore. – TOI