Jumbo footprint bags latest American fashion statement

July 26th, 2008 - 4:25 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sanu George
Thrissur (Kerala), July 26 (IANS) Indian elephants are now walking a fashion ramp with a difference, providing their footprints to be printed on textile carry bags of New York-based fashion designer Barbara Gerard, who is here getting her models to perform. Gerard is at this cultural capital of Kerala to also introduce a new concept for children called “Elephant House”.

She said her concept was an innovative exploration of the Asian elephant involving the six senses as seen through the lens of video, film, painting, photography, music, dance, story-telling and creative writing.

“I have invited 20 children tomorrow (Sunday) to be my guest and would weave the world of elephants for these children in a different manner. I have pictures of elephants from across the globe. Sounds of elephants would also be played, besides films on elephants would be shown to these children,” Gerard told IANS.

Elaborating on the new ‘elephant’ products, she said she has already made samples of carry bags with the footprints of elephants on it.

“I am leaving for New York next month and am carrying samples of these carry bags. I have screen printed the elephant footprints and this would be printed on the carry bags to be made out of textile fabric,” said Gerard.

Footprints of elephants are unique to each elephant. To become a fashion model, the elephant is directed to walk on paint and then told to step on a sheet of paper. When this happens, the foot prints of the elephant get embossed on the paper and it is screen printed for multiple use.

Another product which is in the developmets stages is paintings done by elephants.

“Once I am back, I will hire a few elephants and teach these animals how to paint using a brush. The aim of these products are to see that the elephant owner and the mahout benefit through additional income,” said Gerard.

She is keen to have Elephant House branches across the country but right now she is thrilled that her hard work in organising such a unique event has been successful.

Jacob Cheeran, an elephant expert, said though paintings done by elephants in Thailand and Singapore have proved to be a great hit, this is yet to happen in Kerala.

“This is going to be a good income for the elephant owners because elephants will be more relaxed. It will not have to toil hard or stand in the sun during festival times. And moreover paintings by elephants fetch huge money too,” said Cheeran.

He added that it would take a week for an elephant to be trained to paint.

“The paint brush will be held at the end of the trunk and initially it would be taught to paint on the floor. Then after a few days the painting would be done on a wall. Finally when it understands the painting technique, it would be painting on the artist’s board on chart paper,” said Cheeran.

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