Small town girls mark a different presence at WIFW
It is an unusual meeting point. India's ace fashion designers rubbing shoulders with a group of girls from a small Uttar Pradesh town at the Wills India Fashion Week in New Delhi.
These girls from Anoopshahr belong to the Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (PPSE), a non-profit organisation, which has set up a stall in the exhibition area to showcase their bed, bath lines and gift item range.
The PPSE works for rural empowerment by educating and giving vocational training to girls from below poverty line (BPL) families.
"We have understood that sympathy of people will not help us survive!" Renuka of the PPSE said.
"It is a competitive world and one has to be prepared to face it. So we train girls from marginal families, by providing them basic education for social empowerment and vocational skills like making gift items and home furnishings that ensures them livelihood," she added.
The stall is getting a lot of attention not only because of its unique name and social agenda but also for its contemporary products with a traditional touch.
The colour palette of the items ranges from beiges, whites and mossy greens to bright oranges, reds and pinks.
There are pretty linen cushion covers, bed sheets, bed covers, duvets, quilts and towels on display. Intricate zari, embroidery, sequin work and block prints are used to create floral and ethnic motifs.
Delicately embroidered gift bags made of silk, tissue and jacquard are also on display. Sequin work in silver thread is cleverly used to create ethnic motifs on wooden trays covered with fabric, on wall hangings, skip metal and wood photo frames.
The prices begin from Rs.50 and go up to Rs.7,000.
The organisation has a retail outlet each in Gurgaon, Meerut and Bhopal. These outlets stock and sell items made by the girls and the proceeds go back to them.
"The PPSE school has set up an account for each student, in which Rs.10 is deposited per day on the basis of attendance. By the time they are ready to pass out, an amount of around Rs.40,000 is waiting for each child."
"Till date, two batches of 12 students each have passed out. Of them, 12 girls are employed in the school as teachers and 12 are pursuing higher education."
There have been several queries at the stall and Renuka is hopeful these will soon translate into sales.
"Displaying our work at the country's biggest fashion fair is a great opportunity. Though there have been only enquires, I hope of getting orders soon."
"We have also seen the work of the designers. We will talk to them so that our girls can do the embroidery work for their collections," she said.
The fashion extravaganza ends March 16.