Modern, for me, is a state of mind, says Sabyasachi Mukherjee at India Today Conclave 2018


By K Ashwin Mobile: 09920183006


At the India Today Conclave 2018, ace fashion designers Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Naeem Khan got candid with Harper’s Bazaar India Editor, Nonita Kalra, during a session called Front Row: Reinventing the Classic Speakers.


Talking about Indian aesthetics and heritage at a global level, Naeem Khan said, “My Indian-ness comes from my upbringing–the chaos of colours, the vibrant embroideries–what I design comes from the time I spent in India.”


Talking about making the saree modern and relevant, Sabyasachi said, “Women want uniqueness. The world is now fighting for individuality and uniqueness. Returning to roots is going to be the order of the world. I couldn’t have made the saree global without collective consciousness.”


Talking about tradition, Naeem added, “I grew up going to my grandfather’s factory. He was a worker himself. The ethic and discipline of the workers of that time was incredible. Playing with the looms of saree and thread made me. I wanted to go to a fashion school in USA, because there were no schools in India. Taking part of my heritage, I made a whole new fashion vocabulary.”
Sabyasachi further added, “Tradition cannot skip a generation. It has to be dynamic or it will die its own death. I think it’s important to understand that picking up good things from tradition will make it survive.”


Talking about reviving zardozi and other traditional works, Naeem added, “Every designer has a story. Embroidery is my story. Magazines talk about my work, because it’s me, it comes from India. We have to be open to the changes of today.”


“Modern for me is a state of mind, and not physical consumption. Millennial consumers are far more responsible. They want to go back to roots, and find their individuality. I have seen mothers, who are come in a saree, wanting to wear gowns, and daughters walking in western clothes, and wanting to wear a saree. Sometimes change for the sake of change can be very destructive. We come from the land of colour and embroidery”, Sabyasachi added.

Naeem further stated, “Every country has a story in fashion. China makes silk, we are known for our embroidery. We can make and promote it in different forms. We are taking traditional methods and modernising it in a way that machinery cannot compete with that.”
Sabyasachi further added, “We are not a company that modernises, we restore. Our responsibility as a brand is to be ferrymen between the past and present.”


Talking about Anushka’s wedding outfits, Sabyasachi shared, “My idea was, here’s India’s top actress getting married to legendary cricketer, it couldn’t be bigger than that. Accessibility broke the internet. Anushka wanted a no-makeup look for her wedding. Anushka wore a traditional Benarasi saree, that’s a big fashion movement.”
Talking about Michelle Obama’s dress for the President State Dinner, Naeem said, “I embroidered silver poppies, with a simple shape, but an Indian technique.”


Talking about being fashionable and making a statement, Sabyasachi defined the stark contrast between the two, and added, “Fashion business for the longest of time has made millions of dollars feeding on people’s insecurity. The difference between fashion and style is, if you’re in the fashionable space, you are in the insecure zone. A stylish person curates, picks what’s relevant, and doesn’t change, even if it’s not in fashion. A stylish person doesn’t renounce fashion. If you really want to be iconic, you can do it with repetition. Every iconic person has had an individual sense of self. When you have an individual sense of style, you are not brand static,” said Sabyasachi.



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