Mumbai is our muse-in-chief: Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla

  • Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 22, 2016 19:17 IST
Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla feel that the fashion industry needs to come together to lobby both the private and the public sector.

One of us (Abu Jani) was born here. The other arrived three decades ago, with empty pockets and a bagful of dreams. Mumbai is punishing. In the way that only the truly beautiful places and people are.

She will challenge your faith and test your resolve. She will squeeze you dry in ways you’ve never been juiced before. And it is precisely this exacting nature that unleashes your very best, and rewards you for it. To us, that’s what makes her the maximum city.

If India is our eternal inspiration, Mumbai is our Muse-in-Chief. A lot has changed in the past 30 years. She has changed too. The facade is now crumbling. The chaos is now more chaotic. All of it is disintegrating, but only to reveal a core that stands proud, resilient and tall. You see it in her people. From the youth who want to make it big in Bollywood, to the homeless asking for alms — it’s a city of diehard attitude and unbreakable self-confidence.

There is no dearth of talent here. What has changed in the past years is the opportunities for that talent to grow. Fashion is now a coveted career choice. From educational institutions and multi-designer outlets to online retail — the mushrooming of these concepts is a testament to the business opportunity it has now become. India, however, has a long way to go. We need to also indulge in some quality control. There are far too many fashion bodies and fashion weeks, and far too much mediocrity that is called high fashion. We need to come together as an industry to ensure we lobby both the private and the public sector to support artisans, heritage crafts and fashion houses. We need infrastructure and funding to grow both on the qualitative and the quantitative side. We need to take ‘Design India’ across the globe.

Read: Jani and Khosla on their ‘magical’ Bachchan connection

Mumbai is an incubator, a womb for unbridled creativity. She never sleeps. She won’t let you rest either. As young guns, we loved the freedom she afforded us; to disappear into our own worlds, to be who we are. No other city gives you that sort of space. The smallness of her flats, the constant jostling for space, the traffic that chokes every highway, street and lane — all of these become mere trifles one brushes off with a ‘chalta hai’ because of that far more fundamental space she gives you.

Read: The humble lehenga-choli gets a quirky makeover

But trends are more conspicuous and style is much more absent in Mumbai today. We would like to see the appetite for all forms of beauty and fashion to become more discerning and indigenous. It has to be about more than being part of the herd. It has to be about discriminating taste. Fashion is much more than what you see or labels. It is a statement of being.

Watch: Sonam Kapoor walk the ramp for Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosla

Mumbai isn’t a comfort zone, but then creativity demands that one be challenged, inspired and tested. Mumbai never lets you sit pretty, or rest on your laurels. The day one does, one is history. That’s why we love the work done by designers such as Monisha Jaising, Shahab Durazi and Pallavi Jaikishan.

Mumbai is raw and real. She is no escapist’s fantasy. But she gives birth to a million and more. No wonder Bollywood is her most famous resident, and continues to breed hundreds of ideas, plots, directors, writers and stars. Stars we have been fortunate enough to dress from our first foray into fashion in 1986. Stars who became our clients, and clients who became our closest friends and family.

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