He wants to make 'non-violent' silk a way of life. He has also contributed to the revival of the Bhagalpur handloom industry in Bihar. Thirty-year-old designer Samant Chauhan is a man on many missions.
Designing under the label Samant Chauhan, his collection for the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week to be held from March 20 to 24 is dedicated to the unsung hero of fashion - the silkworm.
"Silkworms are killed by millions while producing silk. This is totally uncalled for and can be done away with easily. I want to condemn such an inhumane practice and make non-violent silk a way of life," Chauhan told IANS in an interview.
"The silk used for my collection has been hand woven and made from an eco-friendly process without the use of any dyes. Maximum treatment is given to the fabric to make it wearable," he added.
The NIFT graduate has taken part in the Singapore Fashion Week (2005), London Fashion Week (2007, 2008) and Ethical Fashion Week in Paris (2008) and this year too will be participating at the London Fashion Week during Feb 20-24.
The designer is also known for promoting Bhagalpuri raw silk and has used it a lot in texturing, interlacing and knits to create layered outfits.
Over the years the handloom industry in Bhagalpur town, which is Chauhan's native place, was dying out with no patrons and no one coming forward to save this craft. But he took up the challenge to take traditional Bhagalpuri silk to the global audience.
"I have been working on Bhagalpur silk ever since I was in college because I could see that the craftsmen, in spite of being so talented, were not getting their due. So I decided to do something about it through my work and I am happy they have got their due credit," Chauhan explained.
The designer also laments that even though "we are a country with a glorious history and abundant talent, not many designers are doing much to promote that cultural heritage".
"Unfortunately, we still are not realising the importance of our cultural art and heritage and as a result not many of us are doing what our work demands - explore Indian craftsmanship and talent as I am sure that each state has its own heritage of craft and culture," he said.
Chauhan feels Indian designers have the potential to beat international designers because of the country's rich history of craftsmanship.
"Our designs are so intricate and rich that international designers can never match that level. It is a good opportunity for us to take our traditional craftsmanship forward and present it in such a way that it is liked in the international market," he said.
"Indian craftsmanship is deeply rooted in our tradition, so if we want to sell our products we have to adapt their cuts and use Indian textures," he added.
Chauhan also feels that most designers are doing the same kind of work and one cannot differentiate between their clothing lines because they all look the same.
"The need of the hour for all of us is to have clothing lines that reflect our independent identity. There are only a handful of designers whose work you can identify even from a distance," he added.