When it comes to the direction of Indian fashion, expectations are limitless, and the only way is going forward, points out Antar-Agni’s Ujjawal Dubey

 

The world of Indian fashion today, is at its finest and creative best. Our mark isn’t just here, most of our designers are spread out across internationally too. They are becoming the flag bearers of Indian fashion. So it is safe to say, I think we’re doing amazing and there’s no doubt about it. In the past couple of years, we got to witness the disruption of fashion, which was always required. We have started seeing the maturity in it, which was also much needed. We are not limited to a particular genre of clothing and the recent years of Indian fashion have proven that. But we can’t just brush what has been happening under the carpet. And we can’t let it stop us either. Communication is a key in the same. If we’re talking about a situation where we’re all at home, then the focus to communicate does strongly fall on digital, since that automatically becomes our primary method of consuming everything.

As soon as the world started locking down, people immediately came down to the digital side and we, as brands, companies or businesses, will definitely be harnessing that power. However, I believe we’re humans at the end of the day, and as humans, we learn to cope and adapt. With time, we will gain economy, we will gain everything back. This fight is one that’s inevitable, that we will just have to just get through. The direction of Indian fashion is only forward. This is a setback, but we will eventually learn to cope up and we will. We have to bounce back, there’s no other option. Yes, there will be an economic decline and there may be loss of employment as well. We will definitely take some time to recover, but I think the next financial year might end up being a bit better. I don’t think our ideologies will be deterred, or our way of working is going to change just because of this. There might be an extra push, digitally.

Strategies will be pushed, when it comes to connecting with consumers. But I feel marketing, even influencer marketing, has nothing to worry about. In fact, it might see a boost with this extra emphasis on digital reach. Of course, the crisis might end up affecting the way people are going to consume fashion, but it will be temporary, because there is no limit to our expectations or needs and wants. It will take some time to recover, but I’m confident it will eventually stand back on its own two feet. When it comes to consumption, this might be a bit of a jolt, but we felt that jolt before, especially when people started thinking about conscious clothing.

Indian fashion also saw another word that was being used and marketed everywhere — sustainability. But it is diminishing, since everything is going small scale and resources are getting tied up. However, as an ideology, I believe conscious fashion should be the need of the hour more than sustainable fashion, because nothing can be 100 per cent sustainable anyway, unless you grow locally or consume locally. Oddly 15 or 20 years back, the idea of handlooms picked up, and making handwoven products found its way back to India, where consumption is much better. But in reality, Indians have always tried to be sustainable. The term and concept is not foreign to us.

I read a study some time back “The crisis might end up affecting fashion consumption, but it will be temporary, because there is no limit to our expectations. It will take some time to recover, but I’m confident it will stand back on its own two feet” which said that if everyone consumes at the rate of an average Indian, then we would require 0.75 planets, but if we consume at the rate of an average American, we would require almost five planets. So there, you have it. We have grown up seeing our parents or grandparents not just simply throwing things or reusing them. We never looked at this as a great thing. In fact, we always looked down on this habit of theirs. But eventually, the whole world started appreciating the very same thing.

The Indian fashion industry is on a rise, this is the big picture. But it is crucial for everyone in the industry to understand that this one big picture is made up of a thousand small pictures. And each picture has to be taken care of. That harmonious feeling and genuine effort has to come from everybody involved. As soon as that is fulfilled, you won’t need to go out of your way or force the industry to evolve, it will automatically boost itself to new heights.