Wake Up Designers

Glasses are in,but wearing rose-tinted ones while reading fashion reviews may not be the best idea for some Indian designers.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published:April 20, 2012 4:13 pm

Glasses are in,but wearing rose-tinted ones while reading fashion reviews may not be the best idea for some Indian designers. After Express reviews on the recently concluded fashion week,a couple of them actually threw fits suggesting that they and their clothes were “not being understood”.

Easiest part of blame game is to accuse the opponent of ignorance. The first,weak excuse of one of them was “your journalist doesn’t understand (fashion) or my collection. I would like to explain why I did XYZ”. What initially seemed like feedback—because it is not as if every journalist understands fashion or that everyone is fair every time they pick up the pen—seemed to turn into a complicated argument as the day clambered on. The designer later insisted that Express had personally attacked her.

We tried to point out that every piece had the WIFW logo,it was in context of the event and the word ‘collection’ was used repeatedly in the piece,what did it have to do with a person but to no avail. My colleague who wrote this and who otherwise writes refreshing reviews without being burdened about fashion’s hierarchical “secret” wars,told me next day that she felt disenchanted about it. Her next review was too tentative,it had lost its zing to bring back a few truths home.

Another senior designer told me that I should make an effort to like what my friends do,instead of being “on a trip to not like things”. Ouch. The very idea that people suggest that journalists have personal agendas to score through a reputed Journalism of Courage newspaper is bothersome. It reeks of handshakes of convenience in the industry. It also means that designers respect their own work,but not ours.

When we took these issues to a veteran designer,also the most grounded person in the fashion industry,for a fair debate,he rightly said,“I have no patience for designers who first put themselves out in the public eye– to media and buyers–and then crib if they are not praised.”

Indian designers need to wake up. The review less culture they were formerly used to is far over. If they are now making money hand over fist and getting a hundred sponsors,it is also because they are under much more scrutiny than they ever were. The industry doesn’t have 20 megalomaniacs any more. On an average,more than 100 participate in a fashion week (138 this time in Delhi) and there are many others who show in other cities,some just feed into the fashion industry without ever participating in a fashion week.

This industry is no joke and one of the reasons it has remained frivolous in perception to outsiders is because some designers feel they are above critiques. So,Sachin Tendulkar’s performance on the cricket field can come up for national debate,Saif Ali Khan can be called a thug,VS Naipaul has been billed temperamental by his critics,some of Salman Rushdie’s books are talked of as difficult to finish reading,but Indian designers ? They feel they should be above this. I beg to differ and shall continue to write constructive,well-argued,well-substantiated critiques. If this means,no friendships in the fashion industry,so be it.

By the way,check this piece out by Robin Givhan in a recent issue of Newsweek. Karl Lagerfeld is overrated,she writes. It is not a debate,it is a statement. The piece which starts by saying Lagerfeld is brilliant at Chanel and questions his other creative pursuits,relies on facts and arguments,makes its point validly,never gets personal and retains a readership appeal value that makes good fashion journalism what it is. Wish our designers would wake up too.

Having said this,hats off to Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra. My review was critical,yet it attempted to explain the context of the current retail scenario. Shantanu’s PR called to thank me only to be followed by a text message from Shantanu himself,generously and large-heartedly thanking me for being contextualising their clothes in the market perspective. His graciousness made us feel more responsible. We owe it to people like him to be free and fair.

Tall Tales: Christian Louboutin in Delhi

We can now buy Christian Louboutin shoes in Delhi at the Emporio Mall. The news is some weeks old,but just got this store picture. Loubutin for all stooopid women in love with high heels like me is the GAAAD of High heels. See!

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