There is a story to how fashion became fast and furiously out of control. It is pretty much like the extinct dodo bird’s journey of evolution that got excessively dumb by the day.
In the good old days there were two seasons and all of us aligned with that. There were summer clothes and winter ones or summer and rain ones until buying garments became a past time, a therapy and the joy of dressing up like our cultural icons and not really like ourselves became an obsession.
Soon, sharp and ruthless businessmen entered the fray to satiate our longing for more and more. We saw the meteoric rise of labels like as Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, and Forever 21. Thanks to their quick reaction to trends, impeccable precision in anticipating future demand and speedy turnaround, they ensure less wasted inventory and a huge profit. The trend conscious stylista thrives on the instant gratification that these garments offer at ridiculously low prices and is encouraged to renew her wardrobe every few weeks. A six-month cycle shrunk to three weeks and four seasons became one hundred and four (as in the case of Zara, restocking happens every Tuesday and Thursday).The fast fashion labels fuel our impulsive buying mentality by getting in a small stock and what does not catch our fancyin the first round, is quickly disposed off at ridiculously low prices during the frequent sales that we lap up with the joy of having won a lottery.
How can the garments cost so low, with the ever-escalatingrentals, staff costs, international transportation, manufacturing costs etc.?
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Fast fashion collision happened much later in my life but when it did, I never understood the deep sadness it would bring in its wake. It does not seem surprising now though, as my growing up years in royal city of Patiala, Punjab with its wealth of artisticcraftsmen and the joy of a mom who could stitch fabulous garments helped me develop a discerning eye and fondness towards clothes and the people who made them.
From the time I was considered bright enough to have a say in what I will wear, I remember going to these family owned shops to choose fabric, then to a locality where many women who did hand embroidery lived, then to an adorable dyer who could hand dye ten shades of red and finally to a tailor who would stich the garment.
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When I heard of the Rana Plaza catastrophe, I followed my standard reaction to any heart wrenching news that comes my way – I went into the ostrich mode. I cut myself off of all news channels and websites. Knowing the media’s disposition to cover the absolute current, sensational news, I was sure that in a while the furore would die down and I would, somehow, stay untouched by what was to be, in days to come, a cathartic journey questioning my deep love for fashion.
To those of you, who might have missed it in the plethora of news that we are bombarded with at every moment, Rana Plaza tragedy occurred in a sweatshop in Bangladesh on 24th of April’13. The 8 floor building was evacuated a day before as huge cracks had appeared on the foundation walls. On the day the tragedy occurred, only the garment factory workers were made to work in the facility and rest of the offices were shut down. Sadly, half of these workers were women who have zero bargaining power and their infants, who were left in a ‘nursery’ in the same building, accompanied many. The last straw for this tragedy was the need to use huge generators in a cracked up building that had been declared ‘unsafe’. But, strangely, the work could not be stopped. When the building collapsed, almost 1,138 people died and over 2500 were seriously injured, 140 bodies have,till date, notbeen accounted for. This facility manufactured garments for labels like Primark, Benetton, Mango, Wal-Mart etc.
My journey was arduous indeed as I find great joy in the creative stimulation that fashion offers and many a times, going through my own silly longing for those Céline sandals or that Stella McCartney bag or a cropped top that would look so cool. Suddenly, fashion presented a face that was ugly and scary, something I simply could not relate with.
This series is a result of the journey that Rana Plaza tragedy propelled me into, that of introspection, a purgation of the irrelevant and choosing consciousness over mindlessness.
A desolate beach was the mute and, I’m sure, amused spectator of this shoot; surreal in its beauty and calm in its ambience. The PSD team had spent the night at a resort there in the hope to shoot at the wee hours of the early morning. The team comprised the usual suspects and a few new members who had been supporters in spirit, up until then. The night at the shady, smelly (if Ghatkopar station is missing its public urinal, well, it is at this beach), desolate resort had started testing our endurance. We were convinced that we were on the real life set of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie. The owner of the resort made our blood curdle. Later I got to know that 5 full grown men, including our star photographer Vinit, were so spooked that they had huddled together and slept in one bed! No body used the bathroom as the presence of a dead body there was a real possibility.
After thousand collective prayers were chanted, the first sun rays arrived and we started hair and make up! We realised that for Marriette and Krithika, a parallel profession of an acrobat is a possibility as they managed to balance themselves on rickety chairs while maintaining a zen like steady posture for their makeup. Megha, skilfully and really, miraculously, managed the turban, jewellery, winged eyeliner line and and blusher with the alacrity of a saucer spinner. Continue reading →
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“Now then, Pooh,” said Christopher Robin, “where’s your boat?”
“I ought to say,” explained Pooh as they walked down to the shore of the island, “that it isn’t just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it’s a Boat, and sometimes it’s more of an Accident. It all depends.”
“Depends on what?”
“On whether I’m on the top of it or underneath it.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
We, at pallavistylediaries.com thrive on originality of creative thought and impeccable execution, therefore, when we met genteel Rahul and adorable Shikha, we found our friends. That we were inspired is an understatement. We enjoyed their timeless pieces that had easy wearability with an undercurrent of delightful flair.
Apropos, when their label – Vrisa needed a look-book, the team came together to create one for them that was befitting of their amazing work. Here it is, in coming few posts.
Thank you gorgeous Marriette Valsan and charming Krithika Iyer for this fun experience and infusing each frame with your enthusiasm.