Friday, February 29, 2008

Subcontinental Fashion Trends! On the Decline?

We have so far seen the pride of the subcontinent- sarees. We shall explore the nuances of the subcontinental garment market, with regard to how open the subcontinental market is to newer fashion trends.
Indian designers may be making a mark across the world and the country may be dotted with fashion training institutes but there is a big dearth of seminal literature on the subject.
There are very few books and magazines each on fashion and very less titleson Indian textiles, handicrafts and techniques penned by domestic authors. Though India has people of the repute of Designer Ritu Kumar's Costumes and Textiles of Royal India, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla's A Celebration of Style, author Rta Kapur Chisti's Saris In India and Tradition and Beyond - Hand Crafted Indian Textiles and Hindol Sengupta's Indian Fashion are among the few on offer.
As far as fashion magazines go, there are In Touch With Fashion, Images Business of Fashion, M: Men Informed in Style, FNL: Fashion & Life Made Easy, Sports Wear, Couture India, Designer Mode and GQ to name some.
Says Namrata, a student of Fashion at NIFT, a famous institute for fashion in India "There are fewer than 10 indigenous books on fashion. But the market is flooded with international titles because we use them as reference books in most fashion institutes".
Everybody seems to be enamoured of Western fashion and wants to read about that. Even most of the subcontinental designers' collections are influenced by Western fashion. Unfortunately, when publishers approach style gurus to write a book on Indian fashion they do not show interest. So thats where a fundamental flaw is where at the root, the indigenous fashion is not developed well.
Most NIFT Faculty members reason that their approach is generic and global. Nonetheless they stress that homegrown fashion content would help students understand domestic market needs better.
"Our approach is global in which international books help a lot. But it can't be denied that if students read Indian they would understand the domestic market better because the country's weather, lifestyle and orientation are completely different," said Asha Baxi, senior professor and dean of academics, National Institute of Fashion Technology.
Sumeet Nair, executive director of the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), which organises the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW), blames it on the "lack of fashion historians because of a nascent industry".
D.S. Mehta, secretary of the Sarabhai Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of science, art and literature, offers another reason for the lack of literature on the subject.
"Compared to foreign scholars, Indians are increasingly losing interest in conducting research on Indian textiles. They find it boring!" he said.
"Research work doesn't yield instant results. Moreover, it doesn't promise monetary benefits. So subjects like Indian textiles, handicrafts and techniques doesn't interest the youth," said author Rta Kapur Chisti.
For native fashion magazines the situation is no better.But still India has a lot of hope in the Fashion Market. Stay tuned to Fashion Networks to find out why next week.

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