A Digital Talk Series

Chapter 2

Varun Bahl

What is purposed to be an inadvertent essence of self, a collective, a community at large -- the world we inhabit, our habits, our motion and function, Fashion, is propagated as a mere expression of emblazoned logos, seasonal wear, colours that limit their use through changing times, insta stories disintegrating real from reel and zeitgeists who are fuelled through paparazzi and shutterbugs. This notion is limiting and misleading at the same time.

We stand at the cusp of transitioning into an unprecedented future where what is relevant today might lose its existence tomorrow or cease to be instrumental anymore. This thus, recalls a glance into the pensive. The lens of fashion mandates a shift into a compassionate parallax of belonging and being belonged. A social construct of a circular economy, encouraging sustainable and long lasting ideologies that promote home grown and value what is hand- crafted.

With this, The Design Village held its second edition of Why Fashion Matters with the couturier non pareil, Mr Varun Bah. The talk delved deeper into the magnum opus termed as “The Indian Couture”. The discussion further explored the shift in the redefining of big fat weddings of India and sustenance of elaborate bridal wear pertaining to the pandemic and the era that shall supersede hence.

Having encountered the term Couture at a very young age, Bahl talks about how he wanted to bring it to his own country but how different it was from what was perceived as couture at a global platform. Soon realising that couture in India was synonymous with wedding wear, he started questioning the notion that just because it was not known as bridal/wedding wear outside the country, why did it have to be called the same.

He goes on to explain how many people often look towards the west for validation and overlook the craft in India and how he embraced the idea that couture means bridal wear in India and there was no point in ridiculing it and comparing it to what happens in the west.

When asked why fashion matters to him, he says how anything apart from fashion is relevant for him. He compares fashion to the reflection of oneself and of any given time.

The interview ended with Bahl asking all the upcoming designers to uphold the Indian culture, believe in the crafts and not to ignore everything it has to offer.

“We have to embrace what our rich culture has in store for us and we are so proud of it….. it’s all here within our land. No brand in the world can survive without India’s handicrafts, and it’s weaving facilities.”