This season, Mumbai’s fashion week is looking to add a little foreign flavour to the mix of designers showcasing. Joining hands with the the Japan Fashion Week (JFW), one of the shows will feature three Japanese designers as part of Tokyoeye — a unique cross-cultural exchange initiative by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) collections to buyers from India and all over the world.
Designers Tamae Hirokawa, Motonari Ono and Sara Arai will make their Indian ramp debuts on March 11. “This is my first time showcasing in India,” says Arai, whose label is called Araisara. “The Japanese government invit-ed designers to send in their designs if they wanted to be part of Tokyoeye and a few were selected.” Contrary to what most might think, the designs are not traditional Japanese, which means no kimonos and obi belts.Talking about her line, Arai says, "I am bringing a collection of specially dyed clothes that change colour depending on the light. They will be mostly dresses and shawls, which you can use casually and for parties." Arai also cites designer Rahul Mishra as a kindred soul, saying, "Indian designers have personality and realise the importance of handwork in their garments. I was moved when I met Rahul because his brand has the same idea as Araisara."
For designer Ono, this is his second trip to India, the previous one being to source local fabric and embellishment for his garments. “It’s always warm in India so I’m bringing my favourite pieces from my Spring/ Summer collections,” he says when asked about his debut line. Ask him if there are any misconceptions about Japanese designers that he would like to change and he responds with a grin, “They are saying the right things about us for now.”