Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
When designers Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna were asked why they didn’t use any celebrity on the catwalk at the India Fashion Week, a nonchalant Khanna replied: “Our clothes are our showstoppers. It’s a business event, let’s keep it that!”
But in a world of glamour where media visibility is almost a prerequisite and most of ‘what’s hot’ and ‘what’s not’ is measured by the number of shutterbugs and roving video cameras present, does having a movie star or two sashay in front of a celebrity-hungry media really make bad business sense?
While a few other designers publicly seconded Khanna’s lines, many others at the fashion week were happily posing for the cameras, hand in hand with their celebrity showstoppers.
And the media is often just a means to a (business) end.
“Yes, he (buyer) does get helped by the publicity surrounding the designers. If there is a star wearing the clothes, it helps him sell the product (to customers). So in that term, yes, indirectly, they do help,” says Rina Dhaka, one of India’s most popular designers, at home and abroad.
I have always been a bit cynical about the Indian fashion industry. I used to think the country’s fashion designers were wannabes trying to break into a glamorous industry despite having little or no aptitude for the trade.
But spending time at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week has lessened my cynicism to some extent.