Modern, for me, is a state of mind, says Sabyasachi Mukherjee at India Today Conclave 2018
9th March 2018, Mumbai: At the India Today Conclave 2018, ace fashion designers Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Naeem Khan got candid with Harper's Bazaar India Editor, Nonita Kalra, during a session called Front Row: Reinventing the Classic Speakers.
Talkingabout Indian aesthetics and heritage at a global level, Naeem Khan said,"My Indian-ness comes from my upbringing--the chaos of colours, thevibrant embroideries--what I design comes from the time I spent in India."
Talkingabout making the saree modern and relevant, Sabyasachi said, "Women wantuniqueness. The world is now fighting for individuality and uniqueness.Returning to roots is going to be the order of the world. I couldn't have madethe saree global without collective consciousness."
Talkingabout tradition, Naeem added, "I grew up going to my grandfather'sfactory. He was a worker himself. The ethic and discipline of the workers ofthat time was incredible. Playing with the looms of saree and thread made me. Iwanted to go to a fashion school in USA, because there were no schools inIndia. Taking part of my heritage, I made a whole new fashion vocabulary."Sabyasachi further added, "Tradition cannot skip a generation. It has tobe dynamic or it will die its own death. I think it's important to understandthat picking up good things from tradition will make it survive."
Talkingabout reviving zardozi and other traditional works, Naeem added, "Everydesigner has a story. Embroidery is my story. Magazines talk about my work,because it's me, it comes from India. We have to be open to the changes oftoday."
"Modernfor me is a state of mind, and not physical consumption. Millennial consumersare far more responsible. They want to go back to roots, and find theirindividuality. I have seen mothers, who are come in a saree, wanting to weargowns, and daughters walking in western clothes, and wanting to wear a saree.Sometimes change for the sake of change can be very destructive. We come fromthe land of colour and embroidery", Sabyasachi added.
Naeemfurther stated, "Every country has a story in fashion. China makes silk,we are known for our embroidery. We can make and promote it in different forms.We are taking traditional methods and modernising it in a way that machinerycannot compete with that."Sabyasachi further added, "We are not a company that modernises, werestore. Our responsibility as a brand is to be ferrymen between the past andpresent."
Talkingabout Anushka's wedding outfits, Sabyasachi shared, "My idea was, here'sIndia's top actress getting married to legendary cricketer, it couldn't bebigger than that. Accessibility broke the internet. Anushka wanted a no-makeuplook for her wedding. Anushka wore a traditional Benarasi saree, that's a bigfashion movement."Talking about Michelle Obama's dress for the President State Dinner, Naeemsaid, "I embroidered silver poppies, with a simple shape, but an Indiantechnique."
Talkingabout being fashionable and making a statement, Sabyasachi defined the starkcontrast between the two, and added, "Fashion business for the longest oftime has made millions of dollars feeding on people's insecurity. Thedifference between fashion and style is, if you're in the fashionable space,you are in the insecure zone. A stylish person curates, picks what's relevant,and doesn't change, even if it's not in fashion. A stylish person doesn'trenounce fashion. If you really want to be iconic, you can do it withrepetition. Every iconic person has had an individual sense of self. When youhave an individual sense of style, you are not brand static," saidSabyasachi.