Why is slow fashion on an uprise?

Falguni Patel, Fashion Blogger in Gujarat, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Top 10 blogger in Gujarat, Fashion Critic, Fashion Writer, Stylist, Aesthete, Appleblossom,, slow fashion movement
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If you have been following fashion news, there are chances that you would have come across buzzwords like slow fashion, sustainable fashion and ethical fashion. International designers and labels have been on the sustainable band wagon since about three decades now. In India, the movement is gaining momentum, albeit in the marginal elitist fashion aficionados.

So before you head out and make the purchase under either of three labels- slow fashion, sustainable fashion and ethical fashion, here’s a breakdown of what do these terminologies mean and why do they exist…

Falguni Patel, Fashion Blogger in Gujarat, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Top 10 blogger in Gujarat, Fashion Critic, Fashion Writer, Stylist, Aesthete, Appleblossom,, slow fashion, kate fletcher, sustainable fashion, sustainable fashion and textiles

Kate Fletcher

Kate Fletcher, an eco-textile consultant, coined the term ‘Slow Fashion’ in 2007. It was adapted from the concept of ‘Slow Food movement’ started by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986.  Slow Fashion draws a parallel with Slow Food movement by aiming to strike a balance in consumption pattern of fashion consumers by increasing awareness and responsibility towards environment.

Since last century, the entire process of fibre to fashion has been ruled by fashion trends being showcased through four collections in a year. Growing cotton in the farms to ginning to weaving the fabrics to dyeing – all these essential process in textile production creates a huge impact on the environment.  Whether it is the use of fertilizers and pesticides to increase per hectare production, disposing effluents after dyeing the fabrics or overuse of water in producing one pair of jeans, there is a sizeable amount of environmental damage that happens.

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Cotton Fields

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Dye Effluents from Factory

Once the textile is ready to be converted in a fashionable garment and produced in bulk, factory workers come in picture.

Biggest fashion conglomerates outsource their production from countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, China and India as the labour wages are lower as compared to developed countries. However, most of these factories run in abysmal conditions where the workers are working overtime in cramped dim-lit environment. The machinery and venue safety is a perennial concern. While it might be passed off as ‘employment generation’ by these few governments, more often than not it is just outsourcing of cheap labour by the developed countries.

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Garment Factory workers

The Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, in which 1,130 people died and 2,500 were injured when a run-down eight-storey factory complex making clothes for Primark, Benetton, Walmart and other Western brands collapsed, highlighted the dangers of the industry in Bangladesh. Closer home, some Bengaluru factories keep women (the majority of garment workers) in hostels monitored by male security guards and severely restrict their movements. Most are allowed to leave for only two hours a week, usually on Sunday to buy groceries and other items, and only after registering with a guard. The rest of the time, women are expected to travel only to and from work, and guards record when they arrive at and leave the hostels.

Moving on from factory workers condition, these mass produced garments are then sold off at retail outlets at affordable high street rates. Mass-production and poor labour wages give the manufacturer/fashion house a huge scope to cut on the rates.

Falguni Patel, Fashion Blogger in Gujarat, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Top 10 blogger in Gujarat, Fashion Critic, Fashion Writer, Stylist, Aesthete, Appleblossom,, fast fashion,

Fast Fashion

However, the demand-supply economics works well in a competitive environment. Consumption pattern by the fashion conscious population has witnessed an upward growth in the past two decades owing to mass produced affordable fashion. We all have more than 100+ garments in our closet now as compared to an average of 30+ garments about two decades ago.

Quite a substantial increase right?

Top it up with the increase in landfill dump that is increased with the rise in amount of clothes being discarded every year. It is not just the energy-intensive process of making the garments from fibre to fabric that is causing environmental and human rights issues; the reality is that most of the clothes we wear end up in landfill.

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Landfill

So yes, while you flaunt around that bargain deal top that you just got from H&M, Zara, Stalkbuylove or Ajio, someone somewhere has paid the price for it.

This is exactly where Sustainable, Ethical and slow fashion comes in picture.

Falguni Patel, Fashion Blogger in Gujarat, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Top 10 blogger in Gujarat, Fashion Critic, Fashion Writer, Stylist, Aesthete, Appleblossom,, slow fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable fashion

Sustainable fashion focuses on environmental impact that a garment has; in laymen terms it means no use of fertilizer to produce the cotton used for fabric, using drip irrigation method for harvesting thereby saving water, using natural dyes to prevent the effect of toxic effluents on water and ensuring that minimum carbon footprints are generated in production of one garment. It means labour used is local and the garment travels very less from crop to final finish to avoid larger carbon footprints.

Ethical Fashion deals with advocacy of fair trade practices in fashion industry. It means right price is being paid to farmer, weaver, dyer, tailor and factory worker that is in sync with labour laws of the country.

Slow Fashion essentially deals with timeless styles that are unaffected by seasonal trends in fashion. It is a movement to promote cuts, silhouettes and colours that stay with the wearer always, regardless of changing seasons. It is an antithesis of fast fashion; the one where every week new styles keep coming up. It advocates buying quality garment that stays longer rather than buying 10 fast fashion garments that wear and tear easily…

Slow Fashion’s antecedents trace back to 30 years ago.

A revolutionary movement was started by Patagonia, outdoor retailer from USA, back in 80’s. It took the world by storm with its iconic ad – ‘Do not Buy this Jacket’ in a bid to promote anti-consumerism. It has played a strong role in environmental activism. It advocated buying less, repairing if needed and wearing the loved clothes more often.  It struck a chord with a segment of people who believed in this cause and its sales zoomed up by 47% in next two years. All through these years, Patagonia advocates buying less but buying good quality only.

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Patagonia

Eileen Fischer is another label that has spearheaded the slow fashion movement in last three decades producing quality organic work-wear for women.

Falguni Patel, Fashion Blogger in Gujarat, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Top 10 blogger in Gujarat, Fashion Critic, Fashion Writer, Stylist, Aesthete, Appleblossom,, Eileen Fischer

Eileen Fischer

India too is catching up with the slow fashion revolution indeed. There is an up rise of designers shifting to branding and re-branding themselves as the purveyors of slow fashion. With labels like Paromita Banerjee, Soham Dave, Shades of India, Naushad Ali, Three, Runway Bicycle, Doodlage and more, there sure are many options to check for a conscious consumer. Easy silhouettes, naturally dyed clothes, organic fabrics – all tick marks done while promoting sustainable and slow fashion in India.

However, is the slow fashion revolution truly democratic in India?

Is it all inclusive or is it catering to the niche segment only?

How does one promote conscious- fashion -consumer behaviour?

(Watch this space for the next article on the Series on ‘Slow Fashion and its evolution’)

 

 

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Forever in Blue Jeans

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Money talks
But it don’t sing and dance
And it don’t walk
And long as I can have you here with me
I’d much rather be
Forever in blue jeans
Honey’s sweet
But it ain’t nothin’ next to baby’s treat

And if you pardon me
I’d like to say
We’ll do okay
Forever in blue jeans

Neil Diamond 

Named after the city ‘Genoa’ in Italy way back in late 19th century, Jeans have retained the cult status of ultimate style staple for any fashionista worth her salt. The versatile fabric has been used in all forms of garment construction – be it pants, skirts, tops, shirts, jackets, dresses, jumpsuits and even sarees. Fashion experts have gone ahead and embraced denims season after season while designers play around with waistlines, hemlines and embellishments.

We bring you the top picks to style the denims in six different ways.

  1. Embroidered Denim

The 70’s flare is back and how. Gucci’s collection of butterfly, snake and flower-adorned denim is definitely the must-have item for the quirky fashion lovers. Decorated with hand-stitched appliqués, the jeans are cut in a flattering flared silhouette – perfectly in tune with the label’s retro-inspired aesthetic.  Pair it with a plain white tee for the eclectic vibes. If you are the DIY kinds, get kutchi embroidery done on your old pair of denims and give it a funky new look.

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Denim Trends SS 2018

 

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Amal Clooney being the 70’s goddess

2. Jacket

Layering is one of the biggest trends for 2017. Buy a classic blue over sized denim as the staple for layering. For the boho chic vibes, opt for patch-work embroidered back. Lay your hands on the spiked jacket for the cool biker look. For the sustainable fashion lovers, there are brands that create upcycled boro denim jackets. Wear it over a dress or throw it on as a cape. For the stylish edge, wear your jacket backward front.

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Harper Embroidered denim distressed floral jacket

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June Chapters Denim Jacket by Nidhi Lodha

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Boro Cape

3. Jumpsuit

Started as a fashionable trend by Coco Chanel in 1920’s and having later gained popularity as the ‘rosies’, denim jumpsuits have a polarised fashion view. Some love it, some hate it. But we say, one can never go wrong with a denim jumpsuit. Style it with basic white tee for or wear it over a turtle neck cardigan. Wear a peasant top for the bohemian look or style it with crisp white classic shirt for a Friday dress-up.

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Ruffled denim Jumpsuit Sea Resort Wear SS 2018

Denim jumpsuit Ajio

Denim Jumpsuit – Ajio

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Denim Jumpsuit SS 2018

4. Dress 

Move aside LBD. Say hello to the denim dress. Opt for 50’s midi denim dress for the poised feminine look.  Keep the hemline short, crisp and suave for a dinner date. Wear the easy denim shirt dress for the weekend lounging. Long maxi dresses with patchwork are the new norm for resort wear. Dress it up or down depending on the occasion.

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Denim Midi Dress – co-resort-2018

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Denim Maxi Dress

Koovs denim dress

70’s style bell sleeved denim dress

5. Skirt

Denim mini skirt has been a classic wardrobe staple since decades. The lengths of the skirts have altered cyclically. The current trend is towards midi length denim skirts, a trend reminiscent of the 50’s. Style it with blouson tops with bell sleeves for the hippy look. Comfort fit lovers can get a long flared skirt for the extra twirl and be ready to rule over the kingdom of bohemia.

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Vionett Long denim skirt

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Olivia Palermo in pencil denim skirt

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Dakota Fanning in classic blue denim mini skirt

6. Saree & Shirt 

Textile designers are pushing their boundaries while incorporating the denim fabric while retaining the softness of the saree so that the garment drapes well. Go stylish by opting for denim saree and team with floral blouses or opt for denim shirts /crop tops to add some cool quotient to that six yard drape.

Denim Saree - Fashion Market LK

Saree from Fashion Market

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Classic Denim Shirt

(The Original article was written and published in Femina Gujarat magazine – October 2017)

How are you styling your denims ? Care to share in the comment box ?

8 ways to boost hair growth

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In the fast paced maze of urban lifestyle, one inevitably faces the dreaded issue of hair-fall and hair thinning at one point or other in life. Detailed introspection in terms of dietary intake, hormonal imbalance, drug side effects, pollution and stress levels needs to be done to deduce the causative factor for hair loss which leads to stunted hair growth. Whether hair growth can be boosted or not is debatable, but there are certain tried and tested ingredients that can aid in increasing blood circulation of the scalp thereby stimulating the hair growth phase.

Hair growth cycle comprises of 3 phase – Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. Anagen phase is the hair growth phase wherein hair grows by ½ inch every month. It lasts for around 2-6 years. Catagen phase is the transition phase lasting for about 10 days. Telogen is the last phase in which hair falls from the bulb. It typically lasts for 5-6 weeks. At a given point, each hair is in different phase of hair growth cycle. Thus losing 80-100 hair per day is considered to be normal; anything beyond that is termed as hair loss.

So what are the easy remedies to boost the hair growth?

  1. Onion – Onion is rich in essential nutrient sulphur- a building block for keratin content of hair. Sulphur is known to stimulate the anagen phase thus aiding in hair growth. To try this remedy, cut a few slices of onion, squeeze out its juice and apply it on your scalp for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse it off with a mild sulphate and paraben free shampoo for healthy hair. Alternatively, one can try potato juice in the same way.

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  1. Hibiscus – This flower is rich in amino acids and vitamin C, both of which are essential for hair growth. It is one of the best home remedies used for hair growth. It prevents the pre-mature aging and improves the thickness of the hair. One can mix coconut oil or sesame oil in hibiscus flower paste and apply to hair. Rinse the hair with mild shampoo after 15 minutes for to get the bouncy locks.

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  1. Fenugreek– It is an age-old kitchen remedy for hair growth issues. Fenugreek contains proteins and nicotinic acid which is known to encourage hair growth. Additionally it also adds shine to the hair owing to lecithin. Add a tablespoon of soaked Fenugreek seeds and water in a grinder till a smooth paste it formed. Mix coconut oil to it and apply the paste on your hair and scalp. Wash it off with a mild shampoo after 30 minutes. Repeat this process every week to see results.

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  1. Amla – Amla or the Indian Gooseberry is rich in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. While Vitamin C accelerates hair growth, anti-oxidants keep hair follicles healthy by fighting off the damage-causing free radicals. One can mix 2 teaspoons of amla powder with equal amounts of Shikakai powder and mix it with water to form a paste. Apply it to the scalp and hair and let it dry for 30 minutes. Rinse it off with some warm water. Shikakai acts as natural cleanser whereas amla aids in hair growth.

Cures-A-Sore-Throat

Despite there being kitchen remedies, most women opt for salon treatments either due to lack of patience or lack of time. The salon treatments give quicker results and bring about a sense of relaxation. No wonder high frequency treatment, Mesotherapy for hair loss, keratin treatments, Organic spa and Moroccan spa are ringing the cash registers at salons.

  1. High frequency therapy – It is a type of intensive hair treatment to cure dandruff, hair-fall or alopecia, carried out by treating your hair with high-frequency infra and ultra rays. A comb that emits infra red rays is used on various portions of the affected scalp. This is process is done for two-three minutes, followed by a thorough oil massage for about 20 minutes, followed by hair mask, steam and UV ray exposure. If done for 5-10 sittings, this treatment gives considerable results while boosting hair growth.

 

  1. Mesotherapy – It is a non-invasive technique based on superficial microinjections. Mesotherapy is a treatment that stimulates the mesoderm – middle layer of skin, approximately 1 mm deep.The solution injected can contain a wide range of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, nucleic acids and co-enzymes that can be tailored to each patient’s individual needs to boost hair growth. The treatment itself takes between 10 and 30 minutes depending on the area being treated. Usually minimum of 10 sessions is required to stimulate hair growth.

Contrary to the popular belief of selling innovative hair treatments to increase hair growth, Hair research expert Saloni Mehta shares, ‘Hair re-growth is debatable topic in hair industry. It is not possible to re-grow the hair; it is possible to stimulate the scalp, improve blood flow and nutrients. It will aid in pushing more hair follicles in growth phase. It is important to maintain a healthy PH balance of scalp between 4.5 to 5.5. Healthy scalp means healthy hair follicles and better hair growth. It is also important to watch the micro-nutrients in your diet and get your dose of vitamins to maintain a healthy mane’.

She adds,”Start by getting yourself checked for vitamin B12 and D3 deficiency. In case one is suffering from thyroid imbalance or PCOS, hairfall is bound to happen. In such cases it is important to first solve the systemic disorder. Second step is to check on the stress levels and dietary inputs. It is important to maintain healthy diet full of micro-nutrients and essential amino acids to have a healthy scalp and hair growth.”

There are other salon treatments available in market for boosting hair growth and softness. Frizzy hair leads to lot of breakage and hair loss.

  1. Deep conditioning treatments are done with an aim to increase blood circulation through massages while hot steam aids the penetration of products in the scalp. Loreal, Schwarzkopf and Matrix have a range of deep conditioning spa that boosts hair nourishment and in turn improves hair growth. In the premium segment, sulphate and parabene free products are on an up rise.

 

  1. Organic Spa from Amsterdam based brand like Keune is the latest craze in the hair industry. 911 Quinoa from Biotop Professional is another product that is selling like hot cakes for the ones interested in organic hair treatments. Quinoa based products are like life-line for dry, damaged and lifeless hair as they contain natural protein.

quinoa+shampoo+500

Last but not the least, stay hydrated always. There is no better remedy than a healthy meal and happy sleep.

( This article first appeared in Femina Gujarat)

Musafiri – 5 Essentials

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Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
And bury them beneath the sea
I don’t care what the people may say
What the people may say about me
Pack Up your troubles get your old grin back
Don’t worry bout the cavalry
I don’t care what the whisperers say
Cos they whisper too loud for me

Eliza Doolittle

Monsoon has become synonymous with vacations and travel, for the urban working class. The thought of travelling through the greens while its still drizzling makes one start planning for the weekends that fall between June – Sep. Whether you are headed to north eastern- scape of the country to escape the city bustle or are travelling to the lesser explored beach destinations, you will always need to learn the art of packing right and light. It is important to select your bags carefully for travel while bearing in mind that it is utilitarian besides being fashionable.

So we bring you the list of 5 essential bags that you should buy for keeps.

  1. Weekender bag

Packaging is important, isn’t it? So why compromise on the bag that carries all your fancy summer wear. Weekender duffel bags are the perfect carry-me bags for those spontaneous weekend getaways. They are your best bet when you want to travel light and avoid baggage check-in.  There are various travel accessories label that design weekender bags in different materials like leather, nylon, canvas, denim and organic fibres.  We recommend weekender bags from The Burlap People and October Jaipur for the urbane travel look.

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Weekender Bag from The Burlap People

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Weekender Bag from October Jaipur

  1. Backpack

If you are a 90’s kid, you would have definitely carried these back packs to school and college. Guess what, Backpacks are back in vogue again. They are here to replace the mod purses and make preppy look cool. What more, besides looking hip, they can hold all your essentials like mobile, passport, make-up kit and shades in organised compartments. The creative nerds can add a customised patch to make their own DIY designer back pack.  The classic lovers can select from denim & leather backpacks whereas the eclectic ones can pick up the ones with boho chic embroidery.

Mohawk Bags and The Burlap People have covered your back for your stylish back pack needs.

Mohawk Collection - Backpack

Backpack from Mohawk Bags

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Backpack from The Burlap People

  1. Tote Bag

Come summer, come winter; what can never go out of style are the quintessential Tote Bags. They are very much like the denims of the ‘bag world’; one can have multiple trendy options, but ought to have a classic piece. Invest in a smart brown tan leather bag and wrap a bright summer scarf to amp up the style quotient. For the fast fashion lovers, there are stunning canvas tote bags available with hand painted art work, digital prints and tassel embellishments.

If you are going for the beach holiday, don’t forget to carry the ‘mermaid tote’ by Cyahi and if your are just going to explore the cities, grab this luxury travelling piece from Nappa Dori.

Cyahi - MermaidTote Bag

Tote from Cyahi

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Jhola Bag from Nappa Dori

  1. Cross Body bag

Several travelling experts recommend one travel bag that can not only help you stay safe from pickpocketers but also look stylish– the ubiquitous ‘cross body satchel bag’. Opt for the bags with broad straps as they distribute the weight evenly across the shoulder. It is available in cotton, leather, denim and nylon fabrics.  Do you recall the ‘Jhola’ bags that come in bright traditional silk fabrics? They are an interesting take on bohemian cross body bag. Check out interesting ikat and leather satchel bag from Nappa Dori and classic leather bag from Chiaroscuro.

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Satchel Bag from Nappa Dori

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Satchel Bag from Chiaroscuro

  1. Woven Bag

Be it lazing on an exotic beach or walking down the French promenade, a woven straw bag is a must-have for the easy breezy summer vibes. The idyllic picture perfect postcard setting of a straw bag, a leather brimmed hat, pastel scarf and retro white shades is enough to prompt one to start planning the vacation ahead.

Woven straw bags have become a fashion staple for the fashionistas, be it summer or fall. Pick up the one with pom poms, tassles, coins or shells to stand out from the regular.

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Straw Bag from Camelcraft

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Get these travel ready bags now and get going, will you?

( Images from the respective websites)

Note – This article was first published in Femina magazine.

Original, Inspired or Plagiarized ?

falguni pate, top 100 indian fashion blog, ahmedabad blogger, fashion writer, fashion blogger in gujarat, inspiration, creativity, plagiarism, paul gauguin,
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 ‘Art is either plagiarism or revolution’

Paul Gaugin

Digital revolution has been the biggest boon and the bane of 21st century society. Our brain is over-exposed to a high decibel of information from various platforms throughout the day – be it print, digital, radio or electronic medium. We have the luxury of reading about the Cannes Festival or IIFA awards in real time while leisurely browsing through the next vacation destinations at the click of a button. Images are freely available on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and official websites for people to like, comment and share. Some download them for design reference; some modify them whereas most copy them.

So what exactly is happening in the Fashion industry in 21st Century digital age?

When does inspiration become plagiarism?

I can vouch for it that most of the talented designers, stylists, writers and photographers (read – creative field) go through an angry upheaval once in a while.

Who stole my design?

Who copied my style aesthetics?

Who magically created same ‘blush’ colour palette?

Who is ripping off my style of writing?

Who is stealing my photo compositions?

For starters, let’s get the basics straight.

Any non technical field, the biggest threat is no entry barrier. Any person can become a designer, a photographer, a writer or a stylist (I will stick to Fashion domain here) despite the lack of technical education. Education improves the thought process and lays down the foundation for strong design thinking. However, it isn’t mandatory…

The absence of any technical ground rules leads to over-supply. In a country that thrives on Darwin’s theory of ‘Survival of the fittest’, demand & supply dynamics are perennially skewed. It definitely takes time, energy, resources and money to create original design / product. But for the rest, it’s only copying, thus saving on cost and passing it to the end consumer.

The ultimate winner is the cheapest provider.

High street fashion is on a steady up-rise . What was last season for high fashion labels is so in for the high street fashion. It is easy and cheaper to take inspiration from high fashion designers who have spent months on research and trials. Design thinkers lead the way to create unique designs whereas the rest follow them. Some openly admire and take inspiration from it while most copy it without giving any credits to the original creator. Everyone’s favourite Zara has been the biggest culprit in ripping off designs straight off the run-away and in some instances graphics and illustrations off instagram. Yes you heard me!

In India, fashion is a growing industry where designers, merchandisers, curators, stylists, bloggers & reviewers are mushrooming, quite literally.

By the virtue of two domains that I work in, I have been fortunate enough to encounter hundreds of designers, stylist, curators, bloggers and reviewers by now. What perplexes me the most is that most of the ideas, designs, details and thoughts are borrowed, copied or infringed…

However, each claims to be original.

I sit back and smirk.

One look at the digital platforms can give away the truth – Instagram timelines don’t lie.

Colour palettes, cuts, silhouettes and even motifs are copied to death.

No wonder one sees a rush of anti fit silhouettes in ivory tones. Add in a little bit of grey stripes or fuse in some checkered blush pink tones. Grey, ivory and dull red tones are the darling daughters of the slow fashion promoters. At a recent exhibition, I saw many sustainable fashion apparels from different designers. Most of them fell in the same bracket of designing; the irony was while all claimed they were different and exclusive, each was just a repeat copy paste.

I guarantee that no one can differentiate between these brand aesthetics if you remove their labels. They all fall in the same design philosophy.

As far as fabric is concerned, the sustainable brigade procures it from select craft and textile clusters in the country. The sources are same, buyers are different. To reduce the product development cycle, best practices and tested designs are used with minor tweak in colour palette. End result thus is the similar fabric tweaked a bit, almost duplicate design but a brand new label claiming to be different than others…

Leave alone apparels, even the photography style, frames and fonts are ditto same. Photographers have been copying the same compositions from the leaders in the field whereas bloggers have been ripping off blog formats, style and writing pattern based on the popularity of the others.

Adding to this jamboree are the Curators. I have met more curators than designers in past one year. Any socialite who can bring together 5 designers under one roof becomes a fashion and style curator. I think the word ‘curation’ should be checked off the Oxford dictionary soonest.

Looking at the current scenario, one thinks of  a pertinent ethical and moral question.

Who is copying whom?

How can designers/ photographers/curators/bloggers insist on the authenticity while they have been copying?

 Why does a consumer pay premium for a plagiarized product?

 Where does one draw a line between inspiration and plagiarism?

Most creative people will argue that they follow other artists for inspiration. It is a part of creative exposure and personal style building – be it designer, photographer, blogger or writer. I agree, influence is necessary to build up thought processes.

I understand not the art, but its expression is what differentiates one from other. But what if these forms of expression are same?

Under the garb of exposure and learning, when does inspiration become too close for comfort is a million dollar question..

Thin moral line it is then, isn’t it?

In case you would love to read up on cases in plagiarism in Fashion industry, here are few links :

5 Times Fashion Plagiarism Got Called Out In 2014

Plagiarism is by-product of fashion industry: Anita Dongre

Look who copied Rohit Bal’s design, and got shamed on Facebook for it

Fashion brand Zara accused of copying LA artist’s designs

 

 

Reliving the 70’s – Old World Charm

Falguni Patel, Appleblossom, top 100 Indian fashion blogs, fashion blogger in gujarat, ahmedabad blogger, saree blogger, saree pact, assam silk, silk souq, ivory, regal, festive wear, brunch wear saree, elegant, royal, susegad, slow life, old world charm , silver jewellery
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Past is as elusive as the future.

Always yearned for, almost always distorted and yet amusingly beautiful. It takes you back in time with the blink of an eye and paints those days with the sepia tones- the times when everything seemed more simpler than today, only but in thoughts.

Yes, nostalgia does that to you. Takes you for a trip down the memory lane, somewhere in the old dilapidated city areas while you reminiscence the fading beauty of the old world charm.

I am a sucker for all things old, vintage and beautiful. Old movies from the yesteryear’s, especially from the 70’s, are my personal favorites. Sunday afternoons are spent with art house cinema as the constant nostalgia inducing companion. Smitten by the detailed cinematography, I always end up oohing and aahing over the colour palattes of the frames.

Case in point being Smita Patil’s movies like Bhumika, Arth, Mandi, Bazaar, Mirch Masala and Ardh Satya where besides appreciating her stellar performance, one cant help but notice the raw and earthy beauty of her humble sarees. Far away in the glamorous and high on trend LA, iconic movies like Godfather, Breakfast at Tiffany and Citizen Kane were made that left an indelible impression on my visually alert mind. Woody Allen created surreal magic with frames in his movies Magic in the Moonlight and Blue Jasmine while Baz Luhrmann stole the show in The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge , Romeo & Juliet and Australia.

Besides the perfect stories and phenomenal acting, these movies had one thing in common – stunning visuals.

It is indeed an integral element in identifying a good movie from a mediocre one, much like any other visual field. My brain chose to memorize only the visuals – the one that induced a longing for being a part of the old world charm, the one that pushed me to recreate some of those frames in the current time and age, the one that filled me with nostalgia.

So here it is.

The old world charm.

The times that remind you of slow pace of life;  when reading a book on the verandah was the way of everyday life, when cooking a lavish spread was a Sunday family ritual, when getting hair oil champi was a family event, when shopping new clothes was only restricted to festive season and birthdays, when getting dressed up for a party ( read – wedding/mehndi/cocktail) was once in a blue moon affair and hence very celebrated, when time in itself had some leisurely time to breathe in and soak the surroundings to appreciate the small joys of life.

Don’t you miss those simpler times ?

Nostalgia does that to you, doesn’t it ?

Old World Charm is an ode to the simpler times of life.

‘Saree Summery’– an event by Red Earth was hosted recently at Options, Ahmedabad. I shared my love for saree with other saree lovers of the city through ‘Saree Gossip’ while the effervescent Himanshu Verma aka The Saree Man took us through our first memories of wearing sarees.

Presenting ‘OLD WORLD CHARM’ – a photo story depicting my state of mind and yearning for all things beautiful and vintage, for all things simple and understated.

First in the series is Kutch Kala cotton saree by Three Threads.

Falguni Patel, Appleblossom, top 100 Indian fashion blogs, fashion blogger in gujarat, ahmedabad blogger, saree blogger, saree pact, kutch kala cotton, Three threads, Ministry of utmost happiness, bibliophile, girl reading a book, susegad, slow life, old world charm , silver jewellery

Kutch Kala Cotton in ivory white and powder blue shade from Three Threads.

 

Falguni Patel, Appleblossom, top 100 Indian fashion blogs, fashion blogger in gujarat, ahmedabad blogger, saree blogger, saree pact, kutch kala cotton, Three threads, Ministry of utmost happiness, bibliophile, girl reading a book, susegad, slow life, old world charm , silver jewellery

The susegad life

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In case you haven’t read ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ , do give it a try.

Falguni Patel, Appleblossom, top 100 Indian fashion blogs, fashion blogger in gujarat, ahmedabad blogger, saree blogger, saree pact, kutch kala cotton, Three threads, Ministry of utmost happiness, bibliophile, girl reading a book, susegad, slow life, old world charm , silver jewellery

 

Up next – Ivory Assam Silk saree from Silk Souk

Falguni Patel, Appleblossom, top 100 Indian fashion blogs, fashion blogger in gujarat, ahmedabad blogger, saree blogger, saree pact, assam silk, silk souq, ivory, regal, festive wear, brunch wear saree, elegant, royal,  susegad, slow life, old world charm , silver jewellery

Brunch Wear – Ivory Assam Silk saree with fuschia motifs by Silk Souk

Falguni Patel, Appleblossom, top 100 Indian fashion blogs, fashion blogger in gujarat, ahmedabad blogger, saree blogger, saree pact, assam silk, silk souq, ivory, regal, festive wear, brunch wear saree, elegant, royal,  susegad, slow life, old world charm , silver jewelleryFalguni Patel, Appleblossom, top 100 Indian fashion blogs, fashion blogger in gujarat, ahmedabad blogger, saree blogger, saree pact, assam silk, silk souq, ivory, regal, festive wear, brunch wear saree, elegant, royal,  susegad, slow life, old world charm , silver jewellery

Last in the OLD WORLD CHARM series

Falguni Patel, Appleblossom, top 100 Indian fashion blogs, fashion blogger in gujarat, ahmedabad blogger, saree blogger, saree pact, assam silk, silk souq, ivory, regal, festive wear, brunch wear saree, elegant, royal,  susegad, slow life, old world charm , silver jewellery

Evening Wear – Black Assam Silk saree with gold motif from Silk Souk

Falguni Patel, Appleblossom, top 100 Indian fashion blogs, fashion blogger in gujarat, ahmedabad blogger, saree blogger, saree pact, assam silk, silk souq, ivory, regal, festive wear, brunch wear saree, elegant, royal,  susegad, slow life, old world charm , silver jewellery

Did you notice the seedha palla drape – a classic gujarati drape

 

Falguni Patel, Appleblossom, top 100 Indian fashion blogs, fashion blogger in gujarat, ahmedabad blogger, saree blogger, saree pact, assam silk, silk souq, ivory, regal, festive wear, brunch wear saree, elegant, royal, susegad, slow life, old world charm , silver jewellery

Did you slow down for a bit, took a pause and thought about your own old world charm?

In case you didn’t, I suggest put on the track ‘Do Deewane sheher mein’ from the old classic -Gharaonda (1977) and drift to the 70’s.

 

OLD WORLD CHARM Creative Team –

Photography by Kavan Solanki – Design Shoots 

Make-up & Hair – VLCC Ahmedabad 

Location & Accessories – Options, Ahmedabad 

Make way for Gender Fluid fashion in India

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Fashion reflects the times we live in. 

The perennial changes in style, be it a puff here and a nip there, flared hemlines or tapered cuts, are more often than not influenced by the social, economical, political and cultural changes in the society. The 20’s flapper dress was symbolic to women’s liberation and the first wave of feminism, the 60’s bohemian prints and bell bottoms were indicative of the counter culture movement whereas 90’s was focused on relaxed jeans and basic tee shirts- a sign of minimalism(Oh , don’t roll your eyes )

In the current times, gender fluid fashion is on the up rise. The menswear shows in London last fortnight have witnessed fashion brands clamouring for the co-ed badges. Be it men wearing silk dresses at Vivienne Westwood’s show, puff-sleeved gowns at Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, and hooped floor-length skirts at Edward Crutchley’s, gender neutral fashion is here to stay. High street brand Zara has capitalised on the market for clothes that can be worn by men or women, offering a gender-neutral fashion range.

We are living in interesting times, aren’t we?

Closer home, away from the stiff upper lip London Fashion week scene, a saree-clad desi man has been initiating dialogues around gender neutral fashion. Himanshu Verma, aka Saree man, has been the torchbearer of gender fluid fashion in India since 2006, almost a decade after David Beckham wore sarong and took the world by surprise, dare I say pleasant?

The Saree man moves around the town draped in his six yards with an enviable nonchalance. He wears handloom sarees with eccentric shirt blouses while colourful nose pin and ear studs are his evergreen style companions. On the days when he doesn’t wear a saree, he opts for dhotis, almost always.

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Himanshu Verma aka the Saree man displaying Saree Summery at Options, Ahmedabad 

Himanshu Verma was recently in the city to display ‘Saree Festival‘ at Options, Ahmedabad for the very first time. For the non-initiated, ‘Saree Festival’ is a unique saree exhibition curated by Himanshu wherein he brings together about 10 indie fashion designers from across the country and displays it in various cities across the country, spreading the love for rich Indian textiles far and wide.

In an exclusive interview with Ciceroni and Appleblossom, he opened up about his penchant for the gender fluid fashion and what influenced his sartorial choices.

Here are the excerpts from the interview.

  1. What is your earliest memory of wearing saree?

Though I graduated in English literature from Mumbai, I found that probably language wasn’t interesting enough for me to pursue career in it.  Back then, I was in love with Hindustani classical music and I aspired to be a vocalist. The classical music, poetry and its accompanying aesthetic sense had a strong influence in my formative years of career.

I formed a company ‘Red Earth’ under which I dealt with interesting initiatives in art, music and poetry. During one such art exhibition in 2006, where the theme was Changing Masculinity in India, I decided to explore and dress thematically by wearing a saree.

That was the very first time I wore a saree.

It was my mom’s embroidered saree in magenta pink colour. I was enamoured by its intricate detailing and how its drape felt on me. Since that day and now, I have consciously worn sarees as I firmly believe; saree is gender neutral apparel. It’s only about 150 years since there has been a clear distinction in men and women’s draping norms.

  1. Which is your favourite kind of saree?

I am a big fan of ilkals from Karnataka and Maharashtra. I personally like fabrics that are thick since they hold and drape really well. I am sucker for the masculine sarees – the ones that have solid coloured plain body and a big border. If I were to evaluate my fashion style, I have indeed graduated. Starting from fashion novice’s fascination with bling and jazz to gradually transitioning to connoisseur’s choice of timeless handlooms in neutral tones, I have come a long way.

For now, I am onwards on my journey towards minimalism.

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  1. Do accessories play an important role in styling?

Accessories form an integral part of fashion styling. They help in creating individualistic styles. I often wear full sleeves blouse and style it with brooch, chaabi-challa, nose pins and ear studs in old silver.

My personal accessory collection is memorabilia of my travel sojourns. Antiques and old silver are my go-to options when in dilemma. I generally scour for vintage pieces in small jewellery shops located usually in the old cities.

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Saree Man aka Himanshu Verma with Falguni Patel , Appleblossom in Ahmedabad

  1. What led to the inception of ‘Saree Festival’?

The first ‘Saree Festival’ was conceptualized in 2014. We did the first festival in Delhi, our home territory. The idea was to curate indie- designers who worked on creating handloom sarees from different parts of the country and educate the locals about the different weaves while making the products commercially available through the Saree Festival.

Since we are particular about the quality, we always work with only 10-15 designers at one go. We have exhibited in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Jaipur and Lucknow till now. To get the saree lovers interested in different weaves, we designed knowledge based workshops and talks around textiles while offered styling advice for the trend enthusiasts.

Saree Festival has grown by leaps and bounds in last three years. Various online groups that are dedicated to saree appreciation have been following saree man and his saree festivals very diligently.

In their maiden festival ‘Saree Summery’at Options Ahmedabad, Himanshu displayed a magnificient collection of kala cotton, chanderi, bamboo saree, santhal saree, linens, begampuris , ilkals , khadi and kutchi worked sarees to woo the Amdavadi saree lovers. One could lay their hands on rich linens by Nadiya paar and Galang Gabaan, Khadi sarees by Love for the loom, concept sarees by Tuni Textiles besides the intricate and festive Benarasis.

As a part of the festival, Saree Summery in association with Options Ahmedabad also organised a ‘Saree Gossip’ where I finally met Rushika Gadani, a practising dermatoligist and saree enthusiast , Neha Sharma, stylist and blogger at The Stylewali and Vaidehi Shah, entrepreneur and saree enthusiast as a part of the panel of saree discussions. Thanks to the enterprising Janki Patel, Founder – Options Ahmedabad, that Ahmedabad city witnessed an event like this.

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The evening went by exchanging notes on the first memory of saree draping, favourite kind of saree and blouse and what would one prefer – linen, kota doria or chanderi while sipping on the kadak masala chai served by the very hospitable Options Ahmedabad team.

As I left from the Saree Summery exhibition, I wondered about what I had been a part of just about some time back in there…What stayed with me was the panache with which Himanshu carried himself in the gender fluid drape and how the fashion world was evolving here in India, thousands of kilometers away from the thriving fashion scenes of London, Paris and New York.

Changing perceptions of the society; one drape at a time.

 

 Creative Team for Saree Man Project – 

  Photography Collaboration – The awesome Kavan Solanki  of Design Shoots 

  Make-up & Hair – Kamleshbhai from VLCC Ahmedabad ( See this is where your ex-work place comes handy , Thank you Vishal Mudgal  )

Location and Accessories Courtesy – Options Ahmedabad 

I am wearing a Kala Cotton saree by Three Threads

 

 

If you did like this story, then do come back to check the next story on Old world Charm and love for slow life on Saturday.