Indian women designers blaze a trail

March 8th, 2008 - 8:59 am ICT by admin  

(Special, For Women’s Day March 8)
By Shweta Thakur
New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Ritu Kumar, Rina Dhaka, Anamika Khanna, Rathi Vinay Jha - be it making a splash internationally or blazing a trail at home, Indian women designers are at the forefront of the fashion scene. But in a country where luxury brands do not dictate fashion choices as much as factors like marital status, occupation and the weather, the rise of these women has not been a cakewalk.

“Today I feel extremely proud when I look at designers like Ritu Kumar and Anamika Khanna being appreciated globally,” said Jha, director general of the Fashion Design Council Of India (FDCI).

Jha herself was founding director of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) here. NIFT kicked off fashion consciousness among the people, much before the first fashion week happened in the country in 2000.

“All this wasn’t so easy. Being a woman you are playing many roles - homemaker, mother and a professional - at a time. You have to work hard and cannot afford to let down women,” Jha told IANS.

But still they have made it. Kumar has displayed her creative brilliance in the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel, Switzerland, Berlin and Pakistan.

Dhaka set the ramp ablaze at the renowned Miami Fashion Week in 2004, and also displayed in New York, London, Mauritius, Hongkong, Singapore, South Africa, Paris and Dubai.

Khanna has participated in the much-touted London and Paris Fashion Weeks and showcased her lines in the US, New York, Los Angeles and Singapore.

Women designers say self-confidence is crucial and the ability to understand women better gives them an edge over male designers.

“It is the confidence we have in ourselves that has worked wonders. We have a strong fashion handwriting that makes our designs stand out internationally,” said fashion doyen Ritu Kumar.

“Being a woman, a female style guru understands their different aspects and needs better. So we end up creating outfits that are stylish yet comfortable,” she added.

Said Dhaka: “Functional factors like undergarments, the use of volume to camouflage shortcomings play a very important role when it comes to designing clothes. Because we (women designers) become the guinea pigs for our own clothes, we make better outfits and have an edge over men.”

Shedding light on another facet, style expert Payal Jain stressed that design sensibility comes naturally to women.

“Fashion sense in women is inherent. For instance, if a woman decorates her house she does it better than her male counterpart. Why is that so?”

Budding talent Elish W. said: “For ages, people say that women are all about clothes, make-up, hairstyle…means fashion. And their indulgence helps them design outfits that are different and unique.”

(Shweta Thakur can be contacted Shweta,

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