Life After COVID-19: Highlighting The Heritage Of Craftsmanship
Fashion designer and co-founder of HUEMN, Pranav Misra, sees the future bringing back focus on textile and the beauty of our craft.
India, essentially, is a sustainable landscape, also an outcast when it comes to the global fashion environment. There are very few designers who actually have to depend on an import and export model to keep their businesses alive. This, of course, has exceptions, as there are brands that cater to a wider audience and want to be a part of the global scenario. When you think of India internationally, the word that comes to mind isn’t essentially fashion, it’s textile. It’s the source of craftsmanship. You think of production. You think of supply chain. But, you don’t think of fashion. Since the inception of our brand, I’ve always had an issue with the fact that globally, we’re not opinion makers, be it in fashion or even the media. We’re more about our entertainment, we as a society have failed to leave a strong impression that we are a collective of our art and culture and history and literature (which we are so rich of). I always feel like we are some sort of a mixed media landscape where we have not found enough balance and rich base and end up making everything look and sound loud.
Fortunately, there are many young players among my peers who are helping change the landscape of Indian design, which makes me hopeful of the future. I feel like in the new world that we are entering, collaborating within industries will become a bigger part of our lives. Marketing or reaching out to the consumers is going to go through some tumultuous changes, in my opinion. I can already see those changes when it comes to even being part of interviews or publications. The models of communication are changing. The market will boom, but in a very different manner and that will take time. I strongly believe we have already entered a new world. And right now, we are practicing the lifestyle of a new world. Fashion is not just clothes. Fashion is about making a lifestyle.
HUEMN’s DNA comes out of stories. The need of the hour for any brand is to understand the people and their circumstances. The sentiment is not going to be about consumption, so you have to keep your brands alive accordingly and at the same time you have to see the number of families that are dependent on your company. As an industry, we have to focus on taking the society forward. We have to think of those who we call the working class. Your tailors, dyers, embroiders. There will be a sense of fear in the labourers in the near future, and we have to address it. It’s not going to be like opening our factories and going back to being productive.
From a global perspective, the countries demanding and almost celebrating reduction (due to the after effects of this pandemic) in consumption and manufacturing of goods, function differently from ours. We largely are an industry of slow fashion already. Each and every product is hand made and hand tailored. We have to be sensitive when we have the conversation about consumption. The US and Europe are known for fashion, for brands. We are production houses. When you talk about the fashion industry, we as a country make things happen for brands, which are outside. Imagine the supply chain when it gets cut. The privileged are not going to get affected. It’s the tailor who’s going to get affected. We have to come up with a sustainable approach for them first, because they are our countrymen, they are our people, and they will not have jobs.
We need to market the Indian product more aggressively and need to guide the world on a more sustainable, handmade and slow fashion path. The future is storytelling. We need to back entrepreneurs who provide jobs. We need to make sure that in the coming years, our farmers and our tailors and our embroiderers, don’t suffer from hunger and unemployment, which can be avoided if entrepreneurs are backed and don’t have to shut their doors. Also, in the new market, designers need to make products that resonate with the consumer. As an industry too, we need to proceed towards a better tomorrow, and we can’t leave the underprivileged behind. We have to collectively take a society forward.