Indian brocade big hit among Europeans

New Delhi : Brocade fabrics – that is what many Europeans request for when their friends visit India, says Spanish designer Ana González, pointing out that the traditional craft is earning the country a special place in global fashion.

“The Indian fashion industry is known for their traditionalism. Indian arts and crafts weigh heavily and fabrics are very characteristic. In Europe, when you talk about India and say that you are visiting the country, then people say – ‘bring brocade fabrics’,” González said in an e-mail interview from Madrid, Spain.

“If you talk about Spain, all that people can think of is bullfighting and Flamenco dancing; so it’s like promoting your uniqueness,” added the 41-year-old.

International brands also look at Indian art and craft for inspiration, she said.

“In this age of globalisation, many designers look beyond their frontiers for inspiration in their collections and the art and craft is a big source of inspiration for them. Not only India, I think many other countries too, like Africa, China, Japan, Arabian countries…all exotic and unknown is very attractive for a European,” she said.

González is a regular at the international fashion events thanks to her participation in fashion weeks in the US, Spain, France and Britain. She not only won the L’Oreal Paris Award for the Best Collection at the Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week 2009 but also founded her label – Ana Locking – in 2008.

If India’s craftsmanship appeals to global fashion connoisseurs, González says Indian designers are also full of potential.

“I think Indian designers have a long way to go. There is huge potential. Like Brazil, I think Indian fashion can become a strong power in the fashion calendar. For example, the fashion week of Delhi and Mumbai are becoming important globally.

“I think like other countries, Indian designers are beginning to separate tradition from their own collections and mix traditional crafts with actual vanguard. You have a clear example in Manish Arora who designed Paco Rabanne, one of the most innovative brands of the 1960s-1970s,” she said.

In terms of improvement in the Indian fashion industry, she feels too many fashion weeks are a hindrance.

“India has too many fashion weeks, which I think this is not good for the industry because in the fashion world it is important to give an image of unity. In France, Italy, Britain, the US and Spain, there is only one official, the rest are just small fashion weeks,” she said.

The designer, who visited India for the Signature Premier Fashion Week in Kolkata early this month, describes the country as a land of colours and smiles.

“It was my first time in India and I discovered a new world…I love the colours (although my favourite colour is black) and India is the land of colours and wide smiles.”

She is looking forward to being part of major fashion weeks here, but says: “I think it is complicated for my company to show our collections for all seasons in India because all our business infrastructure is in Europe and this would require a drastic change of our economic strategy (and life of course…). But I would love to showcase through a major fashion week very soon.”

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