What makes this edition of Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week organised by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) all the more significant is the fact there’s much more to it than a shimmer of sequins and drama of high-fashion digital films. This season is a turning point in Indian fashion as designers bounce back to take on the post pandemic challenges with not just well-crafted clothes but strong, thought-provoking messages.
Designer Rina Dhaka was moved to see many take the road home. Their struggle and courage both resonated with her and so she pays homage to them through her collection. “My fellow humans who struggled with great odds, went on till they reached home inspired me. I equate the road to our walk of life, a catwalk of a different kind and hence, I pay my tribute to them and applaud their courage,” explains Dhaka.
Designer Ashish N Soni’s collection is a tribute to the Black Lives Matter campaign. “I was brought up in Africa, my formative years were spent there so I have never looked at them as people of colour. This summer when the protests and violence started, I thought of bringing inclusivity and wanted to express my personal desire to move beyond colour. The fashion industry across the world has also not been open to colour, so this is my way of saying, let’s move beyond colour,” explains Soni.
Moreover, designer Nitin Bal Chauhan, who’s known for showcasing protest art through fashion, will be presenting a collection that revisits the gruesome episode of Jallianwala Bagh massacre. “Last year, when I visited Jallianwala Bagh museum in Amritsar, the terrifying incident that shook the world in 1919, grew closer to my heart. I drew paintings and sketches that are used as prints, ensembles are given a violent cut, 3D embroideries rise two inches above the fabrics and colour tones move from flesh hues to the darkest red. I believe fashion is a beautiful medium to communicate things, this collection titled Naevus, means birthmark – for me it is a birthmark on the body of India,” says Chauhan.
Even designer Rajesh Pratap Singh whose designs have always been deeply rooted in Indian craft and handloom continues to promote hand-woven and Indian craftsmen. “The show comprises handloom weaves which were then block printed. Indian fashion is a personification of craft. And the two are inseparable. Whatever be the times. A line of oxygen cylinder dolls, representing my craftsmen are christened ‘O2 Baby’, part of the sale proceeds of which have been committed to the #Giveindia Foundation for supporting displaced craftsmen of India due to the pandemic,” says designer Rajesh Pratap Singh.