Fashion journos lack basic knowledge: Designers

September 11th, 2008 - 12:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS) The cut, the texture, the fall…how many fashion reporters in India have knowledge of these styling basics? Very few, rue designers while pointing out that the media tends to focus on parties and celebrities instead.”Fashion reporting is not at all serious in India. We do not have qualified fashion journalists who have knowledge of this field,” designer Vijay Arora of the label Anant that designs Indo-Western clothes for men and women told IANS.

Young designer Amit GT, who specialises in men’s resort wear and women’s evening wear, said: “Fashion journalism in India is at a nascent stage and journalists lack basic knowledge of fashion. They are not aware of new trends and developments in fashion.”

Designer Gunjan of the Rahul-Gunjan duo said: “For any fashion event, we expect the right questions and unfortunately most journalists miss out on these.

“Ideally, they should know everything about the fabric, cuts and work, they should be able to forecast fashion trends. Fashion journalists should be given more international exposure so that they can understand what exactly a designer is doing to move ahead in the global market.”

Many designers believe that today’s media is celebrity-driven and mostly report juicy gossip.

Designer Neeraj Chauhan said: “Fashion journalists prefer to report about celebrities and gossip. People don’t gain much from such stories.” His label Azara offers a wide range of women’s wear in Western and intricate Indian silhouettes.

“We as designers get inspired by international trends and design for people. If a journalist is ignorant of the subject, how can he or she forecast and write about such trends?”

Some suggest that professional courses should be conducted for fashion journalists.

“There should be workshops for budding fashion journalists, giving them an overview of fashion basics,” Gunjan told IANS.

Said Arora: “People who are really serious about writing for this beat should join a professional fashion-related course, nothing else will help. To write about fashion, you have to understand it first.”

Amit GT believes journalists themselves have to take more initiative. “A conscious effort from the reporter is also required to be in sync with the latest fashion trends. If one is serious, he should read a lot about the international fashion scene.”

Though India’s fashion industry has seen an upsurge in recent times, there are hardly any institutes teaching fashion journalism.

Hyderabad-based Abids Lakhotia Institute of Art & Design is a rare example that offers a three-month course.

Former journalist turned entrepreneur, Chandralekha Roy, who began reporting the business of fashion in the early 1990s, says while it’s important to have some prior knowledge of the subject, one can learn a lot on-the-job too.

“One can surely learn the tricks of the trade by observing from the environment and going back to the archives and history of this subject. There is so much available on the Internet,” Roy, a former editor of the Sunday edition of Economic Times, told IANS.

She pointed out that a mushrooming media tended to focus more on parties and pictures, with the exception of some magazines.

“There are some magazines and newspapers that are completely entertainment driven. They write 300 word stories with colourful pictures. On the other hand you have magazines that do meaty stories on fashion,” Roy explained.

She said covering fashion was not easy for journalists.

“This industry is not at all organised. It’s impossible to do a serious business story. There are no figures available to give any idea of this business and, worst, designers do not give their inputs,” she maintained.

(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at shilpa.r@ians.in)

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