Anju Modi: 'Designers who cater to Indian women need to be more aware, mindful and educated about inclusivity'

The designer talks about her idea of blending creative vision and consumer demand in her creation, sustainable fashion and why inclusivity in fashion is still a long journey

Priyanka ChandaniUpdated: Saturday, October 29, 2022, 12:50 PM IST
article-image
Anju Modi |

Designer Anju Modi needs no introduction. The well-known designer is someone who believes sustainability in ethnic wear is more than just a trend. The class couturier has achieved unparalleled success. Not only has she brought out the best of Indian textiles and techniques with master craftsmen from across the country, but has also been famous with many Bollywood celebrities like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Deepika Padukone, Madhuri Dixit, Katrina Kaif, Aditi Rao Hydari, and Kriti Sanon to name a few.

From weaving a 50-metre lehenga for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Ram Leela to creating miniature-inspired ensembles with her interpretations, Anju Modi has redefined ethnic fashion and designs for the masses and designers alike. Her designs are for anyone who wishes to look elegant, and timeless and also support the craftsmen.

We caught up with the designer to talk about her latest collection Damayanti, which she launched at the recently concluded FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week. And just like any of her couture, the latest collection is also carefully designed using more nature-friendly fabrics flaunting vibrant colours. Excerpts:

Do tell us about your latest collection.

This year, I’ve finally been able to bring to life my long-held vision of incorporating Raja Ravi Varma’s body of work into my own creations. It’s been an honour to present my interpretation of Damayanti, who is the artist’s well-known muse. We have carefully designed this collection, using fabrics that are derived from nature and flaunt a vibrant colour palette and rhythmic designs, in addition to beautifully representing the essence of the artist’s aesthetic. I’m quite pleased to see how we were able to create eco-friendly drapes and give them an old-world charm.

How much importance do the runways play for a designer of your stature?

Runways are a fun way to showcase your collection to the masses. It’s more of a means to communicate and connect with the audience, more than a matter of stature. I want people to connect with and accept my work as if it were their own. There are sentiments that the audience can identify with, and that is precisely what I want to convey to them. Besides that, it really excites me to see how the collection is received live.

You have been promoting inclusivity through your collection, how important is it for you and how far do you think Indian fashion is from becoming inclusive by all means?

Inclusivity is a sensitive subject that requires us to be more aware, mindful, and educated, especially designers, who cater to Indian women. Ours is a country that boasts of a wide range of skin tones and body proportions, yet when it comes to fashion inclusivity, we still have a long way to go.

How have you managed to stay relevant while still following your quintessential touch to the craft?

To remain relevant and competitive, as well as to advance as a creative professional, one must be adaptable and exploratory. We've learned to appreciate the luxury of comfortable clothing, as well as outfits that look joyful and lively. So, with the demands of the consumer in mind, we experiment with styles that are incredibly light, making them simple to carry while ensuring the wearer feels and looks their best. When you understand and are open to the consumer’s requirements, it isn’t so difficult to blend both your visions into one.

You are closely associated with the film industry. How has the experience been?

I've thoroughly loved working on the costumes for two hit films, Bajirao Mastani and Ram Leela. Costumes, as a separate language, are critical to the success of a film. You can have the best plot in the world, but I feel it detracts from the overall picture if the clothes do not reflect the atmosphere of the time period being presented. The correct outfit may transport both the audience and the wearer to the historical period represented in the film. I would say, the overall experience has been extremely informative, exciting, and enriching.

Please take us through your creative process.

Any collection at our atelier begins with a vision. It is visualised at an atomic level, and from there, it gradually evolves into something more concrete. I think when we have a detailed visualisation of how we’d want the collection to turn out, things organically start falling into place. For instance, when searching for fabrics that would complement our designs and aesthetics, we were approached by Tencel. This collaboration gave birth to a sustainable collection. It brings out the beauty of the old world and blends it with modern requirements while taking care of the future.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

In Pics: 7 quick and easy ways to plan a romantic rooftop proposal

In Pics: 7 quick and easy ways to plan a romantic rooftop proposal

Personal Space Day: Here's why maintaining personal space is important

Personal Space Day: Here's why maintaining personal space is important

5 off-beat Ice cream flavors made from natural ingredients

5 off-beat Ice cream flavors made from natural ingredients

In Pics: 7 places in India you should only explore by train to feel an adrenaline rush

In Pics: 7 places in India you should only explore by train to feel an adrenaline rush

Can people with a family history of colorectal cancer reduce their own risk?

Can people with a family history of colorectal cancer reduce their own risk?