Ace fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee says that the organised retail sector in India is still very poor and hence designers have to take the bridal route to grow in both stature and turnover. Sabyasachi, who is mentoring brides on season seven of the “Band Baajaa Bride” wedding reality TV show aired on NDTV Good Times, said: “The bridal market is very important for the trickle-down theory in business.”
“In India, the organised retail sector is still very poor and corporate investments are tentative. Hence, for a designer in India to grow big in both stature and turnover, the only route option is bridal,” Sabyasachi, who is known for pioneering the use of Indian textiles in a modern context, told IANS in an e-mail interview. Asked why bridal couture is stressed upon in India, Sabyasachi said that the market for this has grown extensively over the years.
“It’s almost become a revolution right now. If that didn’t happen, my brand wouldn’t have grown. Bridal wear is one of our big businesses but there are lot of myths about bridal market that I wanted to demystify for larger audience in India through the show,” he said. The designer, who has almost two decades of experience in the industry, is known for giving Indian textiles and crafts a modern look and presenting it in the most glamorous way possible.
Asked how the perception of Indian textiles has changed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, the designer said: “At one point of time the ‘Make in India’ tag used to be an apology, but right now it is one of pride and exuberance.”
“I think it is because of the fact that when people were not connected globally through social media or through travel, they were very insular and happy with un-authentic products being passed off as luxury because they didn’t know any better,” he said.
“But right now people have become more open, confident and more discerning in their choices; so they do want to source luxury products from areas where they truly belong. They want authenticity and real-time experiences. They also want luxury that has a sense of history and culture attached to it. No other country in this world at this point of time can tick all the boxes like India can; so the ‘Make in India’ tag right now has reached the new supermodel status,” he added.
Sabyasachi is one of the few designers who have dressed celebrities like Shabana Azmi, Renee Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Tabu, Sushmita Sen and Kareena Kapoor Khan and also commoners through his designer label. He says that Khadi is the only fabric that can cater to both the classes.
“Khadi is refined, sophisticated, individualistic, eco-friendly, sustainable and sensitive. Each and every piece of the 90-odd lehengas in my Khadi bridal collection (Opium) sold out. It has been my best-selling series till date.
“It also left me with many observations. Those who have old money aspire to be like royalty. Royalty means culture. Those who have new money, drip diamonds and buy all the big brands and also aspire for culture. Only Khadi can lend culture to both these classes. I know my customers are rich women who own everything. What they need is a point of view. Khadi gives them that,” he said.
Sabyasachi, who appreciates the young designers whose “focus is not too much on being ‘in fashion’ rather is on creating styles”, is also passionate about food and is planning to “open a restaurant which showcases Indian cuisine” and hopes to fulfill his wish by next year.