Fashion fraternity turns socially conscious
The apparently 'shallow' world of fashion seems to be turning socially responsible and is announcing to the world that it also has a heart.
Several designers across the nation have caught the bug of social consciousness. Well-known designer J.J Valaya has launched the Valaya Magic Foundation to help support the cause of the girl child.
"There is great need to take care of girl children in the country and the Valaya Magic Foundation is an initiative to support this cause creatively. We have already taken a small school at Bhati Mines near Chattarpur. About 10-12 children come there to study from villages," said Valaya.
"We want the girls who join our foundation to be academically proficient and vocationally independent. But it's tough making their parents realise why they must send their children to us," added Valaya.
Similarly, stirred by the problem of child labour, Sunil Sethi, CEO Alliance Merchandising Company, is associated with Parivartan, a foundation working for the uplift of child labourers.
"It is an initiative to discourage child labour. There are nearly 100 children studying in the school. We want the global fashion fraternity to realise that Indian designers are not a shallow lot and are socially conscious too," said Sethi.
Ritu Kumar has turned her attention towards ecology. Her latest collection "Urban Roots" has made use of natural fabrics and vegetable colours.
"Kishan Garh used to be a forest rich area and now there are almost no forests left. This moved me tremendously. We have to maintain the ecological balance. I don't think you can dictate the mind of others but yes I have adopted vegetable colours and natural fabrics, which are eco-friendly," said Kumar, president of the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI).
Founded by Muzaffar Ali, Dwar Pe Rozi (Employment at Doorstep) is another charitable society. Set up in 1990, the society aims to address social issues in Ali's own village, Kotwara, 100 miles from Patna, to defend the cause of Art for Peace.
The society also runs a school in a 14-acre mango grove and Dhurie - a weaving workshop sponsored by UNESCO.
Kotwara is a shelter for crafts like chikan, zardozi and dhurie with inputs in design from Meera and Muzaffar Ali. Their team trained at the National Institute of Design (NID) and the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT).