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Indore coming out of its traditional time warp

Indore is slowly but surely coming out its bhaiyya-bhabhi traditional time warp when it comes to making a fashion statement. Mini Pant Zachariah reports.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2009 21:38 IST
Mini Pant Zachariah

Indore is slowly but surely coming out its bhaiyya-bhabhi traditional time warp when it comes to making a fashion statement.

Home to wealthy marwari, Sindhi and Bora muslim communities, this city had till recently shied away from being stylish. Despite the presence of four fashion design teaching schools -- SDPS, National Institute of Fashion Designing, Graffiti and Eve’s Institute.

But, now times are changing. Helping Indorites make a fashion statement are some young determined designers like Krati Sojatia. Seven years ago, her folks were shocked when they learnt their demure and tradition-bound ward would walk the ramp.

"Fashion was synonymous with modelling," said Krati. The city was yet to discover the business potential in designing outfits. Today, there is a realisation that “we have been left behind”.

Trained in the UK, Krati is teaching the youth brigade of Indore the nuances of fashion and apparel design in a three-year professional course at SDPS Women’s College. As secretary of the college, she has become the driving force behind the course that has attracted 300 bright, young and energetic minds.

Fifteen of them are making a beginning with Delhi fashion week starting Wednesday. They will be assisting designers backstage. “This exposure will do them a world of good and broaden their outlook,” said Nita Mathur, head of the department of Fashion Designing.

“Indore with its large pockets of conservative communities like the Jains, Sindhis, Bohra Muslims and Marwaris, has stayed away from fashion. Though the city spends a lot on outfits there is seldom an attempt on making it stylish,” Mathur said.

As the small city tries to grow into a metro, with a 20 per cent floating population, dress code too is changing. Poonam Vohra, who own Affairs label, used to specialise in Indian wedding outfits, today has added Indo-Western tunics and tights as there is a market for them now.

Anuradha Chandani would agree wholeheartedly. Her studio Adorn was born in 2007 after her internship in Mumbai. “While doing my internship in Mumbai, I realised Indore needed a western wear designer and I just thought I’d give it a try. My first exhibition in October 2008 was so well received that I have not regretted the decision.”

But still, yearning of the young for excitement in attire is tempered by apprehensions of “what will they say” to bold western outfits. Fashion designers like Chandani will help the youth overcome this by tailoring minor modifications to make the western wear acceptable to the elders.

There are fashion designers like Asif, who feel Indore does not understand fashion at all. He has some Bollywood names on his client list. “Even typically Indore fashion of covering the face, head and arms against the scorching sun can be turned into a pleasing fashion statement by throwing in an ensemble of a bandana instead of the staid scarf,” he is convinced.

What years of persuasion could not do to Indore fashion consciousness, technology has done in a flash. Cyber savvy youth brigade googles and ogles at fashionistas of the world and, yes, they ape – price no bar as fashion makers are discovering to their joy.