Sunday, November 02, 2008

Dumb Design ,Dumber Folks असे हे कपडे .... अशी ही माणसं

I am just wondering about a nexus. Between government and fashion. And it has me in a complete tizzy to note that , in a country where so much needs to be done regarding many basic things promised in the Constitution , transportation, drinking water, it has seen it fit to set up a thing called Fashion Design Council of India(FDCI), with an bureaucrat(IAS) lady at the head.

Is this or was this a crying need ? Or is this a case of being blind to those who cry, out of a need ?

And what do they do ? Organize, among other things, "fashion weeks" where politics and fights dominate. Along with page 3 folks, who are seen, sitting unnaturally cheek-by-jowl, shoulder-to-bejewelled shoulder, with worried faces, seized with having an adequate supply of champagne that evening, as they welcome Luis Vuitton, who seems to be copying bag stuff from Linking Rd.

And watch designer after designer comes up with stuff even your child wouldn't wear at the school fancy dress competition. Like :

<-Wow. No need to carry bags when you go shopping for vegetables. Its built in , in the skirt. And as you buy more , it flares ....and never mind the bhajiwalas' stares....

<-Now you know what happened to your room carpet. But good riddance to all that dust collection. And may page 3 get the sneezes...

<-Not meant for us simpletons traveling in buses; the eggs might possibly break, despite the beehive protection .But you can see the page 3 types in the audience worried about poultry prices..

<-This is for those who walk the straight and simple path. You turn , and you will either get sued for injury , or pay for some one's eye operation. Also we'd love to see this lady enter a train loo successfully...

<-Can't wear this for a felicitation. The garlands would get stuck in the eyepiece. But optometrists have been vying to provide lenses for this frightening frame. Would have probably been ideal for wearing during a "bandh "....the rioters would be thunderstruck, although i can see my aunt rushing with a shawl to cover the girl...

<-This has to be the biggest insult to the Mumbai monsoon season. Rain Rain, go away, I'll throw this in the trash, if I may..... but totally understandable, as it is designed for the Mercedes types...

<-She is not orthopaedically injured, nor is she graduating, but the whole thing seems to be inspired by some innovative desperate construction worker ladies, who are not given helmets to wear at construction sites , as they slog to build homes , for those who ooh and aah about this and pay in four digits for this monstrosity....

<-Looks daunting but my question is simple. How do you blow your nose as you daintily traipse around in Mumbai's allergic pollution ? And why make the tunic so long if you have to turn it up ? Unless of course, in page 3 style, you turn up the tunic in lieu of your nose , which no one can see anyway ....

<-What can I say ? Though I wish she would turn around and show the backpack she is carrying. Think of all the beeps that would go off in security. Think of all the frustration of those frisking....

<-Can I sell this dress by weight to the raddiwala ? Are these dresses inspired by the cows on our campus, with this great obsession with horn like headgear? Would anyone open their door to someone who comes like this ?

<- For some reason, this brings back memories of crows and pigeons I end up shooing away everyday from the balcony. And we don't look at the headgear. The combination of crows,pigeons and cows would be explosive...

<-Gujarati saree on a tube dress, and a missing sleeve. What happens if you are a lefty ? very uninspiring. Its OK if all you do is stand and smile; or glare; Maybe a head covered by the pallu (saree shoulderpiece) would be interesting ....

<-Just when I was wondering if no one would design anything for the male of the species, here is a thing rejected by all the female models. They even threw water on the guy. For fashion. See the patches.

I give up.

These are all actual photos from the recently(Fall 2008) held fashion week, not withstanding the fact that Mumbai has only a hot, hotter and a torrential monsoon season. Five star venues, corporate patronage, page 3 attendance, huge expenditures on music and decor for every designer's atrocious displays as above, and the FDCI has the temerity to say this on their web page :

Under its aegis, the FDCI will represent the interests of fashion designers. It will nurture the growth of this industry, help develop the needs of the industry, and provide a platform for Indian fashion designers.

The Indian Fashion Industry, in international terms is embryonic. Expansion and awareness of the industry in India has leapt multifold in the last ten or twelve years of its existence. As the opportunities for designers grow and develop so will the need for such a council in India.

Fashion Design Councils or Associations exist in all the primary fashion centers of the world.

So do basic amenities for citizens

In a country where 26 nautical miles from Mumbai, on the tourist island of Elephanta, there is no electricity for children to study, across the country women in rural areas trudge for miles, daily, to collect their drinking water from dubious sources, and scores of rural health centres are unmanned due to insufficient government logistics support, why this sudden interest in fashion? Is there a nexus of some kind ? Who benefits ? Is there a trickling down of benefits ? Many questions and no answers.

We just need to shut our eyes and ears...


  1. Oh that post was extremely funny and extremely sad at the same time.

    If it means that the Indian fashion industry was to grow and they could export more of their designs then I think it would be a good thing for the country (except the workers making the garments probably get paid nothing much).

    Your traditonal clothes are much more beautiful than most fashion as is your jewellery. The outfits you posted are all sombre and bizarre. A chicken on your head? Sure!

    The thing that I never understand is who would actually wear those clothes in public? I have had to do makeup at fashion shows and usually its way over the top and just meant to be spectaculor. I know that no-one would wear the makeup. Its just a bit of theatre and to showcase the designer in some way.

    They would have spent millions on those parades. It seems India is a growing economy and is becoming a more powerful nation in the world (along with China). I understand that there are a lot of very wealthy people in india too now. A lot of countries are doing more business in India or aiming to I guess. I just hope that this means that there is more cash going into your economy to help those who really need help.

    It's hard to see this kind of excess when people really need basic services though isnt it? There is a huge division between the rich and the poor it seems.

    Thanks for the fashion tips though, I will be out looking for some of that headwear. We have a big Horse Race here in Australia on Tuesday and I still have to find a hat. Now all I have to do is borrow a chicken. Live, cooked or stuffed. I guess it doesn't matter. It will make a great hat. Brilliant post.

  2. PS - OMG I was reading the online news and saw a picture of Anil Kumbil - I think I am too old for him but do you think he would agree to an arranged marriage with my daughter? Gosh, I may suddenly take an interest in some serious cricket after all! Looks like you have the test tied up again!

  3. Liily,

    Actually, they probably get US and European buyers at these shows, and I have no problems with that. What I dont understand is what business the government has in providing infrastructure here, when they should be worried about prividing rudimentary infrastructure to the citizenry.

    I have also wondered who wears these clothes seriously. The run-of-the-mill urban Indian is so far removed from these monstrosities, and yet, the press and assorted folks keep going ga-ga over this stuff.

    But good luck with the chicken on the hat at the races.

    P. S. Just finished watching the Kumble retirement thing on TV at the end of the Test match. End of a great era from a great spinner. Everyone feels genuinely sad about this.

    And Lilly, you asked a bit late. Kumble is married with 2 children. Not to worry. Though I hear, someone called H. Singh is there too....

  4. Thank you for visiting my blog (Mumbaiwallah) and correcting me on the UP, not MP error!

    Your blog looks interesting. Will read it in detail and hope to return soon.


  5. Funny and interesting at the same time ..hee hee "She is not orthopaedically injured, nor is she graduating, but the whole thing seems to be inspired by some innovative desperate construction worker ladies, who are not given helmets to wear at construction sites , as they slog to build homes " (hee hee kiti hasavshil ga)

    I have, like 90%of the people all over the world have always wondered about these fashion shows..who will ever wear such a thing? what good does it do to the society and is there any purpose for all of this?

    There is one more show on Z tv that I get to watch here.. After Hrs..and I feel the same about it as I feel about the fashion shows. It makes me feel so depressed after looking at such shows even though it may be for a brief nano second that I have to go back to discovery channel and watch shows like"Living with Ed" where he tells us that each one of us can do something to stop the global warming or take steps to go green or various ways to recycle, reuse and rediscover.

    The other day there was one more show on discovery channel where a team of experts had gone to iceland and were trying to cover it with strong material to stop sun's rays from penetrating and melting the ice. It was phenomenal.There are so many people who have this global vision and work for peace, Natural preservation, or even people like Bill gates whose contribution to society by bringing a pc in every household (except sagunabai's hee hee)is so inspiring .

    Whereas these fashion shows,society parties,political dramas and destruction of public property for some "cause"can literally make one sick.

    I have stopped watching news for a couple of years now or even more and it feels so good. I don't feel less informed on the contrary I feel more peaceful and rested.

  6. Loved this post and the pics!
    Hey, friend, hop on over to my site and sign up to write 1 or more NO-HOs for the month of November.
    You would write a few short paragraphs on one of 30 bizarre holidays in Nov. and I would guest post it on that day.
    I know my readers would love your writing as much as I do and you could garner new visitors to your site.
    PS Zany Life is consistently ranked 2-3 on Google.
    Hope you'll think about it.

  7. vinita By chance , tu Carrolton, Teaxs madhe ahes ka ?

  8. Totally bizarre costumes. I think the fashion industry has lost it's mind, if these outlandish dresses are any example.

    I don't get it; what's the point? No one in their right mind would wear a single one of these weird outfits.

    Your running comments are hilarious, by the way.

  9. I agree with everyone else -- funny and sad at the same time and who in their right mind would wear such stuff??? Like Darlene, I love your running comments!

  10. I thought these outfits were so funny. The one with the chicken was something else. I don't really know what! They are so outlandish.
    Loved looking at the photos but can't imagine who would wear the fashions.

  11. Judi,Darlene,Sylvia K,Judy :

    Thank you for the comments.

    Apart from the bizarre and outlandish stuff shown here, they do have some sensible designers showing traditional stuff etc, but this is what is always highliighted.

    What is ununderstandable is all these hi-fi people oohing and aahing about it, and making a big thing out of being photographed there etc.

    Fools fooling fools ?

  12. Your post on fashion was hilarious!!! I for one would not mind the dress which you wanted to sell to the raddiwala..... It kinda looks like an armour with an impressive head gear. It would make hell lot of sense to wear it in the local in the ladies compartment specially for the macchi wali who punched me in the stomach last week (and confined me to bed) and the head gear would be perrfect for the macchi ki tokri that she puts on my head when i alight at Kurla station. The tokri would not move from the head and donno about the fashion association but I could easily take off with the macchi ki tokri (so much for being a vegetarian).

  13. You are SO right! Who the hell EVER wears that stuff? I wonder what the models themselves think of all this....
    BTW, a very funny thing happened. I dreamt of you last night. Now I have to see you in person to see how true you are to my "dream image"!!

  14. ranu very sorry to hear about you being punched in the stomach by the machchiwali in the local. I hope things are OK now. The only downside of you adopting the dress in question is that Ekta Kapoor may take you for her Mahabharat TV serial :-) (then you can stop using trains and use a mercedes ?)...

    Rajk LOL Just surprised that I actually managed to 'fit' in the dream.....

  15. Thank god there are others who cannot understand how these ridiculous costumes constitute fashion... never have been able to understand fashion....

  16. Once Busybee had written something like in his column "If you dare and can afford to wear "

  17. I love fashion. Just yesterday I was in a museum watching an exhibition on resist-dyeing, with examples from India, Africa, Japan...

    Textile is one of India's big traditions. I think someone explained to me how historically Indian crafters had several hundred years advance on European crafters for dyeing techniques.

    But it seems to me today India is not making as much money out of it's great textile and design skills that what it could do. I think it is good that India gets into the big league of fashion players rather than just do cheap clothes for Western supermarkets.

    Obviously it is shocking that many people in the World don't have access to running water, electricity, toilets or even vitamin C.

    The world is unfair. But I'm sure you're attract bigger money with pashminas than with pictures of naked children. Not having a fashion week will not help the children of Elephanta.

    Kind regards.

  18. I'm sad to say that these look like something you'd see on a runway in the US. But nobody wears those things. The designers are creating outfits for the flare, not for the serious buyer any more. It's a competition of who can come up with the zaniest of fashion ideas. Ugh. A waste of time and energy when there are more important things to concern ourselves with.

    Enjoyed your commentary on the cloths. You had me laughing!

  19. Oh Ugicha, you had me rolling in the fashion aisles!! I love it! I found you through the comment you made on Pearl's site about pickle. Which made me laugh so much I am writing tomorrow's post about pickle...I'll send you a head's up...keep writing, you just got added to my blog roll, and thank you!
    Mayapur, West Bengal

  20. IThe photograph of the lady carrying a chicken on her head is interesting. But I suspect someone must have tried it earlier in a better way, and that perhaps explains the marathi word 'Chiknee' [cute, beautiful]!!! :-)
    Enjoyed reading your bolg as always!

  21. hitch writer : Thank You

    harekrishnaji: Even if someone "dared " or "could afford" , where would one "go" wearing such monstrosities.....unless all you did was sit and pose and get photographed.....but thank you for reminding about Busybee; loved his writing..

    helene h: Thank you for a different viewpoint....but while I support government support for rural and traditional textiles, I feel these kinds of shindigs, simply emphasize the wrong thing, and nothing trickles down to those that need it, ie the artisans.

    Aleta : Actually, we didnt have these kind of wasteful displays some years ago. Maybe globalization does that to peoples minds.....but thank you for your comments..

    Braja: Thank you for your comments and am delighted to be on your blogroll. I have kind of lurked on your blog, given that we meander in the same blogging circles, but will have a good dekko at your blog...(And I have never been called Ugicha!)

    Vivek: LOL, ROTFL etc...

    Never heard of the chicken fashion and "chiknee" connection. One learns every day...

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. uh-oh, only a typo sorry Ugich!! I think I'm going to spend the day wallowing in your site, I absolutely love it. Lilly told me about it but I wrote back and said I'd already found totally moves :) You'll have to go to my Bollywood section and check out the TV ad my nephew is in, he lives in Bombay (I love that word, by the way :) and Lilly is considering an arranged marriage with her daughter and him, which I see is a recurring theme for Lilly, who is now chasing random cricket stars.

  24. Suranga, Thank you so much for your comment and support regarding the election. It is a wonderful time for America and it is so nice to know that our friends in other countries were so encouraging and watching us try to make this happen.

  25. Well, i only hope these designs are not taken too seriously to be brought to the mainstream. Well, i dont think they ever will be ! Who in heavens name would walk around with a chicken on his head and large bags for trousers !!!

    But creative expression and pushing the boundary is something that will keep us alive and vibrant. My mind thinks of fashion shows as an attempt at that ! how much importance, money, effort and space these consume...well, thats a completely different discussion altogether !!

    Atleast we were saved of wardrobe malfunctions ! And lets say three cheers to small victories in life !!


  26. I am so pleased we have discovered each other. I love reading your journal. On this recent subject I believe all has been said.
    Have a great day.
    From the USA - So happy the election is over and I feel hope.

  27. You hit the nail right on the head Suranga. Inequality is alive and kicking.
    Even in Australia where we have a small population and lots of wealth the gap between rich and poor grew incredibly in the years 1996-2007.
    We're hoping for better with our new government and so far the signs are good. We'll see.
    Attention given to fashion is a good litmus test isn't it?
    June in Oz

  28. Dear Gappa, thank you for your kind understanding.

    Please let me ask you a question, just for the pleasure of conversation ; do you think the Indian lunar expedition brings something to the children of Elephanta and the Indian artisans ? I think somehow it does, just like fashion weeks. Not in a direct way, but somehow it does. (Oh well, you know, I live in a city of fashion).

  29. Fashion shows often leave me wondering- does anybody buy these things to actually wear? Nothing looks practical for getting around but it would get the wearer noticed...

  30. heheheheh...those designs had me in splits and your description too. Louis vuitton copying from Linking Rd. And you are so right. if only those people in govt would get their priorities right. why do we even bother to have elections I wonder.

  31. Judy,Kavi, Rain, One Woman's Journey, Usha and June : Thank you for your comments..

    Helene HYou asked : "do you think the Indian lunar expedition brings something to the children of Elephanta and the Indian artisans ? ". And this was asked as an "aside" in relation to my article on fashion and designers.

    I cannot even think of those designing non essential,fictional wasteful,moneywasting fashion, and India's Moon Mission in the same breath.

    The former does nothing for the rural artisans, common man on the street who works, and only fills the coffers of the designers.

    The latter , the Moon mission, besides possibly having defense relevance (which affects each and everyone of us here), helps upgrade educational and other facilities in remote corners of India, wherever the research people associated with it live and work; pictures beamed from outer space may help us optimise our river systems and forests, and most certainly this has a trickle down effect to the common man, even in Elephanta for the future.

    Comparing the fashion designer industry in India and the Moon Mission stuff is like comparing Britney Spears and Obama........

  32. I suppose most things will seek to run parallel.

    As for 'fashion' their unsuitability is their USP :)

  33. that was funny and the last para hard hitting...valid questions which need answers :(

    the powers that be need to set their priorities straight...

  34. You are super brilliant ....
    Tho' i really never see fashion week or any such type of s**t....
    but yes recently am enlightened by the movie "fashion"

    And also your post ...
    some time i feel my self outcast :P

    gr8 one
    regards sayani

  35. wow ! A post after my heart. From the day I started reading and saw these fashion shows photographs...I used to wonder...what are they for/ because no one in his/her sane mind wud or cud wear exercise in futility and wastage of resources in a poor country.

  36. anil p, sayani, suma, renu :thank you for your comments...

  37. I laughed my @ss off reading your comments on each of the photos - and then felt incredibly sad at the waste of resources.

    It feels as though in India, only the rich exist. The rest are condemned.


  38. Ugich, I just posted a commentary on the movie GANDHI. If you visit my site I would like to know your thinking is on it. I have always been curious as to how the modern day Indian views Mahatma.

    I think he was close to being a saint.

  39. Dear Gappa,

    Having worked in a cultural business for years, my point of view is that the non essential, fictional wasteful, moneywasting things ("games") are just as important to people as "bread". Sometimes more.

    May God bless alike all his children whether they are Britney Spears, Obama, fashion designers, scientists, engineers or poor children.

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.