Celebrated Indian fashion designer Manish Malhotra feels Bollywood has revived its fashion consciousness, bouncing back from the slide of the 1990s when costumes were garish and sometimes even bizarre.
"Bollywood has always been fashion conscious but I feel in the 1990s, there was a downfall in fashion and the clothes became garish and did not look good on screen. But it has definitely bounced back and is showing a lot of consciousness to incorporate stylish top-end clothes," Malhotra told IANS in an interview.
Malhotra, who designs for most leading stars and has an envious career spanning about 17 years in which he has established himself as a brand in the Indian film fraternity, says it took a lot of hard work to make Bollywood fashion acceptable.
"I made people accept that Bollywood fashion is a style statement," he said.
"I have shown the path and thankfully people can now relate to the clothes worn by their heroes and heroines. It feels great and it will go on. No one can take it away from me."
The designer, best known for his innovative cuts and wide colour palette and said to be the only person who has the ability to create a look for a character, admits that his initial years were very tough.
"It has been a 17-year ride. I must admit that I faced a lot of trouble during the first five years," he said. "The concept of costume design and fashion designers was simply not there when I started. It was a very tough fight for me to earn my place in the industry."
Malhotra started his stint in Bollywood in 1990 when he designed for Juhi Chawla in Swarg but it was his costumes for Urmila Matondkar in Rangeela (1995) that catapulted him to stardom.
Since then, the versatile designer has faced little competition and has gone on to make exquisite costumes for some Bollywood biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukerji and Shilpa Shetty to name a few.
He feels his love for cinema motivated him to join the profession.
"I think I was destined to become a fashion designer," he said. "I loved movies and I could draw very well. I used to model when I was in college and then I started working in a boutique and worked for around a year. Then I thought why not try my hand at the movies and then everything fell into place."
Malhotra also feels that Indian designers are gaining global reputation, which is a healthy sign for an industry that has been often criticised for not being innovative and for blindly copying the West.
"There is a huge change that the fashion industry is witnessing. There is a lot of demand for Indian glamour, colour and culture. We have too much to flaunt and I think that is being noticed."