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Home / HTLS / HTLS 2019: Fashion designers Prabal Gurung, Mary Katrantzou and Manish Malhotra on fashion, activism, sustainability and more

HTLS 2019: Fashion designers Prabal Gurung, Mary Katrantzou and Manish Malhotra on fashion, activism, sustainability and more

HTLS 2019: Three designers from different fashion capitals of the world, Prabal Gurung, Mary Katrantzou and Manish Malhotra spoke about ‘Fashion and Luxury- The Road Ahead’ at the 17th edition of Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2019 in New Delhi .

htls Updated: Dec 07, 2019 18:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Prabal Gurung, Mary Katrantzou and Manish Malhotra during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit at Taj Palace, in New Delhi.
Prabal Gurung, Mary Katrantzou and Manish Malhotra during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit at Taj Palace, in New Delhi.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
         

Three designers from different fashion capitals of the world, Prabal Gurung, Mary Katrantzou and Manish Malhotra,were in conversation with Anindita Ghose, Editor, Mint Lounge on ‘Fashion and Luxury- The Road Ahead’ at the 17th edition of Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2019 in New Delhi on Saturday. The theme for this year’s thought conclave is, “Conversations for a better tomorrow” and will see political leaders, corporate heads and torchbearers from various fields debate and ideate over the course of these two days.

On one of the biggest issues plaguing the fashion industry right now, Gurung said, “For me, it is the lack of apathy, lack of desire to speak up. One thing fashion can really do is accelerate the conversation whether it is through runway, design or advertising among others. Be it women’s issues or climate change, fashion is the perfect platform to carry these conversations as it is the biggest player right now. Everyone is interested in fashion right now. It is about challenging the status quo.”

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Fashion designer Mary Katrantzou addressing the issue said, “It’s a very competitive business. You know what each designer is doing and that’s a part of the dialogue. We must focus upon where are we heading as a community. The fashion industry is so reflective of our times. We must use the platform for good. There is uncertainty as to how to use the platform, to affect change, to heighten the sense of community. I also use fashion as a wellness tool. The biggest issue is as a whole to come together as we are on a similar path, to grow together.”

Fashion designer Manish Malhotra added, “ We must speak about sustainability. It’s like something that should come naturally to us like taking care of our environment. It is a must and if we have to be a part of the process, we have to use our platforms to spread awareness. As designers we must look at wastage and how to solve that issue. We need sustainability but we also need art. Each one of us has to be conscious about these things for a better tomorrow.”

He added, “A lot of designers abuse the word sustainability. It has become a hashtag. Sustainability and handloom do not need to be preachy all the time. All of us as designers need to connect and give back to the community and the cause.”

On fashion and it’s role in activism, Mary Katrantzou spoke about how to draw a line between creative expressions and social responsibility. She said,“The context is also as important as the other elements in terms of design when it comes to a collection. People are drawn to you for so many things apart from just the clothes- your warmth, your inclusiveness, your approach. Going back to your roots pushes you in a different way emotionally . Design and activism are interlinked. As a woman entrepreneur, I thought about how women make decisions.You have to be bold in your choices, you have to stand by those choices.”

Gurung, who has dressed personalities like Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton, Oprah Winfrey among others, said that he cannot just pick one name in terms of who he would like to dress up now. He said, “I would like to dress millions of women. When they wear my clothes, they represent what I stand for. When I started the brand, I was surrounded by women who loved design.As a man and as a designer my job is not to dictate women as to what to wear. I always believe that minorities and women need to be in a position of power. I wanted to create a luxury brand with a soul. I am in business because of women. I have been supported by them. It’s my responsibility to speak up and support their voices. It affects us. We can’t pick and choose causes any longer. It is the most exciting time to be alive. The climate crisis is the biggest crisis that is threatening the world. You see now that power lies in courage, not in experience and age.”

Manish Malhotra, who is currently working on director Karan Johar’s magnum opus Takht, said that he is really enjoying the process of creating the garments and even though the process is stressful, he does not like breaks and he hates Sundays. He said, “At this stage of my career, it really pushes me in my mainstream work to experiment and create something that I have not done before. Use the outfits that you have, the traditional patterns, the beautiful sarees that you have inherited, wear them as that also is a form of sustainability. When people come to my store, I want to offer more than just clothes.”