There has been ample proof in the form of celeb sightings in Banarasi couture to conclude that the revival of the traditional weaves of Varanasi are back in the fashion spotlight. Bollywood and fashion fraternity's patronage to Banarasi saris has led to a demand for replicas of the designs adorned by them. Local manufacturers and weavers in Varanasi are working overtime to meet the demand for such 'inspired' clothing.
Cop that Celeb style
Take for example Kaushik Selat, a manufacturer of Banarasi saris and fabrics, who recently got a silk kimkhab (traditional weave of Banaras) sari made for a customer from Mumbai. "The lady was quite taken in by a similar sari showcased by designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee. She wanted us to create a similar sari, which took us three months to complete," shares Kaushik, adding that hers is not a solitary case. "We are getting queries every day from cities like Mumbai and Delhi for celebrity inspired saris. In fact, the Banarasi sari business, which used to earlier slow down after January, is doing well even in the usually dull months of the year," he says. Not just individual buyers, but retailers too have been placing orders for saris inspired by designer weaves. Local textile manufacturer, Muqeem Akhtar, has witnessed a steep demand for check-patterned Banarasi saris ever since it was showcased by celebrity designer Manish Malhotra in his collection. "The designer had showcased a multi-check patterned Banarasi sari in cotton with silk border at the Make in India show earlier this year, which was sported by some actresses as well later. That has led to increase in demand for similar saris from retailers across the country that we cater to. We had to get the saris especially woven as we have already exhausted our stock," says Akhtar. With Bollywood stars also taking to Banarasi in a big way, the demand for look-alikes is on the rise. Bharat Shah, a prominent textile manufacturers in Varanasi agrees that celebrities do impact the market. "For instance, actors like Sonam Kapoor , Vidya Balan and Gauahar Khan, who have shopped for Banarasi saris and fabrics on their visit to the city and uploaded pictures of the same on Instagram, have generated a new market for Banarasi fabrics. When their pictures came out on social media, we started getting a lot of queries for similar garments/fabrics. We sold nearly 100 pieces of garments and fabrics similar to those bought by these celebrities from us," he says.
Designer wear, local prices
The reason, say those in the Banarasi weaving industry, for such requests is simple - while designer wear doesn't fit everyone's budget, it is affordability which goes in favour of celebrity or designer inspired Banarasi garments . "Recently, I was approached by an acquaintance for Banarasi fabric to be custom-made for her entire family. She had checked clothing by different designers and had liked an ensemble created by designer Sabyasachi, in which Banarasi fabric has been used," says Vaibhav Kapoor, manufacturer and member of the All India Handloom Board . "Since the original was beyond her budget, she had sent me a photograph of a model wearing it, requesting to get a similar pattern made, without of course, the value addition provided by the designer. The garment will now cost her between `15,000-20,000 - much, much cheaper than the original and well within her budget," adds Kapoor. The advanced technology is also facilitating these manufacturers to make copies of these fabrics therefore making it affordable for the average customer. "Technology is making it possible to create similar fabrics. It is only the discerning eyes which can make out the difference between a handloom and power loom fabric," says Rajat Pathak, a textile manufacturer and exporter in Banaras, who was sent a picture of a designer sherwani in handloom brocade by a customer demanding a similar patterned fabric. "The customer had provided me with a price bracket within which I had to get the fabric made. The original fabric would have cost around `3000 per metre, while the one made by us on power loom will cost `500 per meter, which is very affordable for the customer," says Pathak.
Hemang Agarwal, textile designer and manufacturer in Banaras says that this demand for look-alike garments or fabrics has a remote chance of flouting copyright rules as most of these designs use traditional motifs that have been around since time immemorial, and have evolved over the years. "Nobody has a copyright over this. It is only when some designer develops his or her own pattern and makes it part of his or her collection, and if that is copied, then it amounts to infringement of copyright," he clarifies. Designers, on their part, know their clothes are replicated for half the price. On one of his visits to Lucknow, Gaurang Shah, who designs saris in traditional weaves, had said he takes it in his stride now. "They can copy what I have created, but I can always create something new," he had said.Read more at:plus size formal dresses
After failing to close Guantanamo Bay, President Obama may leave office succeeding in opening up the rest of Cuba. This historic, monumental shift in public policy will have implications for not only politicians but brands and marketers, as well.
And what better way to mark a new beginning between Cuba and the United States than with Gisele and Vin Diesel? Hey, it’s better than using a taco bowl to connect with Hispanics, right?
Last week, Chanel landed in Havana, their first show in Latin America. From the moment their boat docked, loaded with aforementioned celebrities and models, Chanel put out all the stops for its “Cruise 2017” collection. Designer Karl Lagerfeld said he looked to Cuba for inspiration, but what came out of this was a Frankenstein’s monster of stereotypes.Cuba is best known for feeling like a time capsule, with colorful streets filled with cars from the 1950s, before the U.S. embargo halted any imports to the island nation.
But what some can enjoy from afar as quaint and colorful buries a very dark reality of Cuban history.
What Chanel did was less groundbreaking than they think. A fashion show with models wearing military fatigue and Che Guevara berets is pretty offensive to Cubans, Cuban-American refugees, and anyone with an understanding of 20th century history.
Outside of Cuba, we have the luxury of idealizing Che Guevara from a distance. We ironically sell t-shirts and posters of one of history’s staunch opponents of material capitalism. While Chanel meant no harm in their appropriation of the Castro regime, they turned their runway in the stress of Havana into a mockery of a very intense period of mass torture and execution of political prisoners. Parading models around wearing “sexy” military berets is grossly offensive to those who were forced to flee Cuba and brave the 90-miles of shark infested waters to safe haven in Florida.
But this was a party that the Cuban people were not invited to. The streets of Havana were lined with foreign photographers and journalists, but the actual Cuban citizenry were held back behind metal barricades and a small army of police officers.
And that’s about as close as most will ever come to a Chanel product. With the average Cuban earning just twenty dollars a month, it would take over 10 years to be able to afford the average Chanel bag.
This isn’t about one fashion show. When brands come to Cuba, they have to do it right, and they have to do it right by the people of Cuba. Otherwise, in an attempt to be kitsch and playful, brands risk reinforcing the legitimacy of the very autocracy that reformers have been fighting against for decades. When Cuba opens up to America, it’s not doing so for our abject entertainment. These are real people, who are part of real families that are facing severe challenges.
If we ever get to a time when Ford and GM are selling new cars in Cuba, we should not grieve over the loss of 1950s hotrods. To the outside world these vestiges of a bygone era may be appealing, but they also represent an economic system that deprives the Cuban people of an opportunity to make a decent living.
Cuban culture is rich, vibrant, and should be celebrated as the country opens its doors to consumerism and outside investment.
But like the mojitos that Vin Diesel was sipping, it’s best enjoyed responsibly.Read more at:pink formal dresses
IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN FLORENCE THIS SUMMER, be sure to check out a new exhibition by Fondazione Ferragamo and Museo Salvatore Ferragamo. Running from May 18 until April 7, 2017, Across Art and Fashion will focus on the long-running relationship between these two creative fields.
THE EXHIBITION WILL DRAW ON the life of the ever-inspiring Salvatore Ferragamo, who was fascinated by 20th-century avant-gardism and collaborated with many of the biggest artists of the time. A Ferragamo pump, inspired by the work of American artist Kenneth Noland in the 1950s, is a case in point and will be one of the many pieces on show. But it will also extend beyond the designer’s own experiences and feature some of the most iconic examples of the art-fashion exchange: a dress by Elsa Schiaparelli designed in collaboration with Salvador Dalì in the 1930s, on loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and a dress from the 1960s by Yves Saint Laurent that was inspired by the paintings of Piet Mondrian, on loan from the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent. Also on show will be Hussein Chalayan’s wooden corset from the Kyoto Costume Institute and a 2005 dress by Jun Takahashi (founder of Undercover) from The Museum at FIT in New York.
CURATED BY Maria Luisa Frisa, Enrica Morini, Stefania Ricci and Alberto Salvadori, the exhibition will feature clothing, accessories, fabrics, works of art, books, periodicals and photographs from the collections of both Italian and international museums, as well as an art installation created specifically for the occasion.
IT WILL SPAN THE AGES, from the work of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Futurists, to the school of Surrealism and so-called Radical fashion. The exhibition will also hone in on the ateliers where artists met and studied in the 1950s and 1960s, and chart the birth of celebrity culture. It will then explore the artistic experimentation of the 1990s and, ultimately, look at how the worlds of art and fashion are engaging in this day and age.
ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE ELEMENTS OF THE EVENT is that it is a collaboration among some of the best-known cultural institutions in Florence and beyond, from the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale and Gallerie degli Uffizi, to Galleria d’arte moderna e Galleria del Costume di Palazzo Pitti, Museo Marino Marini, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo and Museo del Tessuto in Prato. As if we needed another excuse to visit the picturesque Tuscan town.Read more at:purple formal dresses