Style of Oz

Style of Oz

Australian designers have teamed up with weavers in Varanasi for this edition of WIFW,where Brett Lee launches his scarf line

The inaugural day of WIFW Spring-Summer 2014 will have a surprise from Down Under. Sydney-based designer duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales will be presenting a specially created collection under their label Romance Was Born. Their ramp show will be followed by the unveiling of a limited edition woollen scarf line by Australian cricketer Brett Lee. “We are bringing contemporary Australian fashion to India in this season of Oz Fest. The time is right to turbo-charge collaboration and exchange between Australian and Indian designers,” said Patrick Suckling,Australian High Commissioner to India.

Last year saw designer Suneet Varma team up with Dutch couturier Jan Taminiau while designer duo Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna of the label Cue,partnered with Dutch label *DIED* to co-create collections that were showcased at WIFW Spring-Summer 2013. “This fashion diplomacy works two ways and has been fruitful. While the Australian designers worked on textiles woven by Indian weavers,a senior Indian designer would head to Sydney to work on a collaborative collection as well. We would announce the name at the inaugural,” says Sunil Sethi,president,Fashion Design Council of India.

This connect with weavers in Varanasi was facilitated by an Australian NGO,Artisans of Fashion (AOF) led by its founder Caroline Poiner. The group works to bring together global fashion industry and Indian artisans in the textile space.

The designer duo at Romance Was Born,known for their colourful and quirky ensembles that include “a pastiche of craft work such as applique,tie-dying and crochet” will showcase a collection of 25 exclusive ensembles made using silk brocade woven by the weavers in Varanasi. Meanwhile,cricketer-singer Brett Lee,who already has a signature menswear label to his credit,will launch ‘The Brett Lee Six Stitcher Limited Edition Scarf Collection’. Made from 100 percent Australian merino wool,the scarves have been woven by Kumaon-based Panchachuli Women Weavers. A photo exhibition “Yatra”,highlighting AOF’s work,will also be on display till October 13.