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Charity begins on ramp

fashion-and-trends Updated: Feb 21, 2010 01:24 IST
Vinod Nair
Vinod Nair
Hindustan Times
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Last week, I went to an exhibition of saris at the Agha Khan Hall. It was organised by Concern India Foundation, an NGO working for the disadvantaged. I spent about half hour seeing the saris on display, which were affordably priced.

That’s when I saw Pia Singh, daughter of DLF chairman KP Singh, standing at the cash counter settling some bills. I must confess, had I seen her at The Emporio, the mall with all the high-end luxury brands, I would’ve recognised her as Pia. But I was surprised to see her at a charity exhibition. I saw her spend some time looking around and buying more from the stalls there. I thought it was nice of her to have done that.

I thought so, because in all the charity events I’ve been to in my career, without exception, the well-heeled of this city just walk in for social conversations and fake biddings. Most people wriggle out of the venue the moment the show ends and the auction begins. I remember, at the first fashion week in Delhi, there was also an auction and businessman Suhel Seth had to step on to the stage to prompt the richie richie to come forward to make their bids. Suhel, in his inimitable style called out some prominent names in the crowd, but none of them bothered to bid.

On another occasion, at one of Delhi happening night clubs, clothes from a Bollywood hit film were auctioned for charity. I was surprised to see Delhiites bidding excitedly and I almost changed my opinion about Delhiites’ hostile attitude towards charity fundraisers. A few months later, I bumped into the organiser and she told me that none of the bidders paid them the money.

Charity shops are mushrooming in cities such as London these days. These stores display designer items donated by the rich. Those who can’t afford to them, come to buy them here and the proceeds go to charitable causes. If concepts like these are tried here, fashion can successfully be used to help the needy and make it a little meaningful.