The AWI Fashion Parade is a feature of the Campbell Town Show

Building a fashion collection is much like constructing a home – and creative director Christopher Horne is in the middle of both in the lead up to this year’s parade.

Mr Horne is overseeing the AWI [Australian Wool Innovation] Fashion Parade for the Campbell Town Show this Saturday, while concurrently managing renovations at his Trevallyn home.

This is the 20th year he has directed the fashion event for Campbell Town Show, giving Mr Horne an opportunity to think about how the role came about.

Campbell Town Show’s fashion parades started in the 1980s and were originally organised by a committee and supported by the Australian Wool Corporation.

Midlands Agricultural Association president Georgina Wallace and the the show committee invited Mr Horne to become involved in the parades in the late 1990s, and the rest is very fashionable history.

He enjoys choreographing the parade around raw fleeces displayed in Campbell Town’s sheep pavilion, but Mr Horne said he was initially surprised at what he saw when he arrived 20 years ago.

“I came over [from Melbourne] and said ‘strewth, it’s the biggest tin shed I’ve ever seen’,” Mr Horne said.

However, he looked beyond the ‘shed’ to see the potential.

“The clothes speak for themselves. The parade is about wool growers and Tasmania’s industry,” he said.

This year’s parade features a mix of textures, fabrics and colours to showcase wool.

“It’s really giving people more options from their own wardrobe – and adding to it.”

The 2018 AWI Fashion Parade features garments from Australian Wool Innovation, Ross Wool Centre, Little Peeps Fleece, Coco Blue, Kachoo and Jan Dineen.

“All the designers integrate different textures and fabrics into the wool,” Mr Horne said.

“Jan makes stories with clothes and this year she is telling the story of Tasmania’s first settlers and animals.”

The AWI Fashion Parade will be held on Saturday at 10.45am and 2.30pm in the Ross Wool Arena.

Campbell Town Show runs on Friday and Saturday at Campbell Town Showground and this year marks the event’s 180th birthday.Read more at:formal dress shops sydney | year 10 formal dresses

The very fabric of a city

I did modelling as a teenager. My mother, who was a compere for Miss New Zealand, thought it might combat the extreme shyness caused by the strawberry birthmark in the middle of my forehead, but as I turned at the end of the catwalk, looking at the others only reinforced my own lack of pretty.

At the end of the course, I was presented with a certificate for “Most Improved” – make of that what you will.

To the unfashionable-looking, the fashion world doesn’t make itself easy to like. Big fashion’s most famous figures are complete dicks. Take Karl Lagerfeld, for example, with his stupid chicken-neck hiding ruffs (we know it’s there, Karl!) or John Galliano, arrested for making a deluge of racist and anti-sematic remarks in a Paris bar.

An industry not known for its philanthropy, fashion has long been a slow-turning elephant when it comes to kindness.

But not in Dunedin, my little chickadees, where fashion, like our country’s dawn, is the first to see the sun and take steps towards a brighter future.

Enter Aleppo tailors Ola Jubna and her brother, Mohamad, who came to Dunedin in the first group of Syrian refugees to be resettled in the city. Their “Kwinglish” isn’t flash and like most people who have undergone trauma they don’t like to talk about it. Ola’s story brought people to tears when she told it through an interpreter, but she would rather be judged on her work than her past. How though, to make their way through the labyrinth of this strange new culture? Where do they find commonality?

It’s no secret Aucklanders call Dunedin a “village”. And yes, it’s small and gossipy and there’s still a lot of old-school dinosaurs shuffling around thinking they run the place, but a little tenderness goes a long way here and the people have real soul.

Auckland has New Zealand Fashion Week and a lot of money, and we have iD Fashion Week and a lot of volunteers. We all know how successful this has been, starting in a marquee outside an Octagon bar and growing into a truly global event thanks to genius ideas such as the International Emerging Designers Show, this year featuring stunning design alongside deeper messages around sustainability, gender and culture.

The two Aleppo tailors are a small story inside the much larger whole, but they have come to epitomise iD Fashion Week to me.

They’ve been enormously aided by Carl Magnus, owner of Harvest Court, who arranged for space in his company’s building on George St to display Ola’s work and organised for her dresses to be displayed longer-term in the window of an alteration business, so she can drum up work.

“I can’t help with the mental and physical scars, but the other stuff is easy and just a start,” he says.

“She just seems like an extremely nice person and Dunedin is lucky to have her.”

The Fabric Store owner Roger Wall, when he heard about Ola and Mohamad, donated fabric. The Otago Polytechnic helped, too, and, not that she told me this because she wouldn’t squeak a word of praise on her own behalf, so did iD committee member Kris Nicolau. Because, as she said, “it takes a village sometimes.”

The end result of this chain of helping hands is Ola showing a wedding dress and one of her bespoke tailored suits in a parade at the Meridian Mall called “Shop the Look”, on Saturday, May 5, from 10am until noon.

Jarrah Cooke, team leader-employment adviser at Red Cross Dunedin Refugee Programme says, “it’s important to recognise the skills refugees bring, that they enrich the fabric of our society.”

I feel enriched just knowing that this is happening in our small, but perfectly formed town, and I love the way it’s a gift giving both ways in a place which is a stranger to war on our shores.

Moral of the story: the fashion world, at its best and bravest, is a cloak of inclusivity, a language everyone can speak, and kindness is its own reward.Read more at:formal dresses perth | plus size formal dresses

Preparations for Annual Fashion Show Underway

For the past few years, a group of Manhattan College students has been putting up an annual fashion show. On April 27 at 6 p.m., student designers will once again send their garments down the runway on the Quad.

Mukiyanna Kamara, a senior marketing and finance major, has been involved with the shows since they began.

“Two years ago, one of the students started the whole fashion-art thing at Manhattan College, so from there we got inspired to continue it after he graduated,” Kamara said, “So right now I’m working with professor Predmore to do this fashion show event.”

Kamara has had an interest in fashion since she was little and wanted to continue to be involved in it, even at a traditional school.

“It inspires me to be myself and express myself through clothing. [It’s] also inspiring me to do the show is to give more exposure to the fashion industry and to fashion and art and individuality at a more traditional school,” Kamara said.

Kamara is inspired by Diane Von Furtensberg because of her strength and power in the way she carries herself.

“She has created a fashion movement that has inspired woman of many [generations],” Karama said.

Kamara is going to go to graduate school for fashion after she graduates Manhattan College this spring.

“That is my way of continuing to explore the industry,” said Kamara.

Kamara’s passion for fashion is what has spurred her to be a big part of the fashion life on campus and help lead the other designers in being able to show off their work.

“At my weekly meetings, I basically get all of the designers, performers, and people who want to assist in helping with the show together and give them a gist of what’s going to be going on,” Kamara said, bringing up the importance of organization in the show.

She continued.

“I really want to focus on structure and making sure everything goes perfectly and very organized. That’s my main point for this year. I really focus on making sure designers have their models and that they know what they’re doing and have the things they need,” Kamara said.

Albert Francois, a senior finance major, has always been intrigued by fashion.

“My mom was very involved in the fashion industry, said Francois, “so since I was little, I have always been exposed to the culture.”

Francois is not only interested in the design aspect of the fashion industry, but also the modeling side of it.

“I have also modeled for designers and brands at Manhattan College that allowed me to continue this involvement while still getting an education,” he said.

A lot of Francois’s fashion inspiration comes from his love of comics, which he incorporates into his designs. He is also inspired by Odell Beckham’s street style, Jidenna’s classy style and his mother.

Francois may be a finance major, but fashion still holds a special place for him.

“One of my passions has always been to work on Wall Street. But that does snot mean I won’t find ways to be involved in the fashion industry,” said Francois.

Joseph Serulle, a senior marketing major, has also been involved with the fashion shows at Manhattan College since they began.

“Every year, we keep making bigger strides,” Serulle said.

Serulle started his own clothing brand three years ago and finds it important for designers on campus to share their ideas and productivity.

“By having a show, it shows everybody’s designs and what they’re up to – i thought it would be nice for students to get involved,” said Serulle.

Serulle’s fashion inspirations include GQ, as well as rappers and talents in the music industry like Travis Scott and A$AP Rocky.

“I like clothing people can wear but still feel good in, walk the streets in but still look good. When you’re not looking like a bum, but not looking like too much,” Serulle said.

Serulle has worked with Kamara in organizing the show. They have a big part in informing the other people involved and the show has really been starting to come together in recent weeks.

“Last week we did the order and layouts that we have been working on for a while, Serulle said, “there are new ideas, we bounce ideas off of each other. It’s basically how the show is going to run. Operations.”

Last year, a few issues arose with the show, so operations are a major focus this year.

“We keep learning every year. Last year we had some technical difficulties with the DJ,” said Serulle.

Serulle arranges for each model to have their own choice of a song to stress their individuality.

“I mix my own soundtrack before I go on, so I make sure each model has a song of their own choice, their own style,” he said. “I think it’s important to embody the style of the model. Not everyone is the same.”

Serulle hopes that the show continues to grow after his graduation.

“I feel like if we do really well this year, every year we will start picking up more people who are interested,” he said. “We got two new designers this year.”

Kamara also hopes that the show will be carried on for many years to come.

“Right now we do have juniors and sophomores in the show, so my future plans for the show are hopefully that this year touches them,” she said.Read more at:marieaustralia | evening dresses australia

As fashion returns to maximalism

Feathers have been used decoratively throughout history but in recent years they’ve become tainted by associations with Las Vegas showgirls, hen parties and Australia’s most famous export, Dame Edna.

However, last season forward-thinking Miuccia Prada prompted their revival with a bid to make feathers fabulous once again.

And it looks as though the trend for precious plumage is here to stay with a host of designers fluttering fluffy marabou across their spring/summer 2018 collections.

Heralding fashion’s return to maximalism, Saint Laurent lead the way by opening its show with sandals adorned with feathers and several pairs of knee-highs that were quickly termed “yeti boots”.

Elsewhere, Maison Margiela offered a twisted take on the trench with gold brocade versions peppered with white feathers while Alberta Ferretti traded in embellishments for gowns covered in colourful tufts.

The most excessive styles though came from Moschino, where the likes of Kaia Gerber and Gigi Hadid wore dresses with a nod to Bjork’s infamous feathered swan creation, albeit in perkier shades of fuchsia pink and blue.

A fun trend to get on board with, it’s one that most people will struggle to incorporate into their wardrobe, but luckily the high street is here to help.

An inspired way to add texture into your outfits during the warmer months, the options here are endless.

From marabou mules reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe to fluffy bags and feather-trimmed dresses, this is the season to fly high.Read more at:long evening dresses australia | year 12 formal dresses

Only black please

A clothing label that celebrates blacks? Sure. A label that sells only black? We did a double check. Was that possible, to bring out all-black collections and not tire of it? The team at Turn Black, a new fashion label, loves black so much that they are working with a variety of fabrics, all in black. Head-quartered in Delhi, Turn Black (turnblack.in) is an online retail label that went live a month ago.

The company is the brainchild of The Dot Studios. Its core team members Nutan Dayal, Robin Chanda and Amit Singh Chauhan share a strong passion for black. “We want to break the stereotypes and myths surrounding this colour. We’ve heard countless things such as black representing evil, death, witchcraft and a notion that married women shouldn’t wear black,” says Nutan Dayal, the company’s fashion director. She observes that though the fashion industry and consumers love the colour for its versatility and timelessness, the stigma continues to stay.

On Turn Black’s website, you will find tops, shirts, skirts, kurtas, dresses, slim and flared pants, jackets… just about everything in black. The first collection is in stark black, in the sense that there are no mix and max of colours or the oft-used black, white and grey monochromes. On its blog, Turn Black puts forth a strong case for the colour, arguing that while it can make you feel powerful and stand out from the crowd, it can also make you blend in on days you don’t want to draw attention.

This is Nutan’s first fashion venture. A post-graduate from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, she intends to make a mark experimenting with ideas and trends. “For me, it’s about style coupled with comfort and elegance,” she asserts.

The team is working on its summer collection called Enigma. Summer and an all-black collection may seem like strange bedfellows, but Nutan is confident of the outcome. Gossamer fabrics such as organza, Chanderi silks, linens, cotton and cotton-linen blends will be used. “Flowy tops and loose dresses are perfect for summer. The colour may be dark, but the fabric plays a more important role for the weather,” says Nutan.

The label will also come up with line for men. Kantha embroidery finds a presence in the first women’s collection and in the next few collections, the label will use other indigenous embroideries.

The design philosophy builds on classic styles and not fickle, changing trends. Nutan describes the style as “easy going, hobo-chic, lazy-lousy. We want to make our customers look like they have spent a lot of time in dressing up, effortlessly. The everyday staples should make the wearer go through the day, from desk to dinner, comfortably,” she signs off.Read more at:short formal dresses | long formal dresses

Calgary teen taking fashion world by storm

From strutting her stuff on a catwalk in Milan to opening her first fashion show in Paris, a Calgary teenager has come a long way from when she first arrived in Canada as a refugee.

Nya Gatbel was only a one-year-old when she moved to Canada with her mother and four siblings. The South Sudanese family travelled from Ethiopia to Calgary in 2002 as refugees and have lived in the Canadian city ever since.

“Being in Canada is such a privilege in itself,” Gatbel, now 17, told CTV News. “You should feel like you’re able to do anything. You’re coming from Ethiopia to Canada.”

It’s perhaps that optimism that has contributed to Gatbel’s success in the fashion industry. The statuesque was first discovered in Calgary when she was 16 years old and an agent approached her older sister about a career in modelling. Her sister immediately referred the agency to Gatbel instead and she began modelling.

Antonija Klotz, the head of The Nobles Management, the agency representing Gatbel, said the young model’s beauty goes beyond her physical appearance.

“She has this grace about her,” Klotz explained. “She’s someone who’s very grateful and doesn’t take things for granted.”

Gatbel’s poise helped her impress audiences during Paris and Milan’s fashion weeks last month where she completed her first season in the circuit. In Paris, she walked for designer Guy Laroche and the labels INGIE Paris and Comme des Garçons. In Milan, she modelled for Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani.

Now that she’s back home in Calgary, Gatbel said she’s just soaking it all in.

“It was incredible,” she gushed. “To be across the world doing what I love in cities that have been on my bucket list forever. It’s a feeling I can’t even describe.”

Although she was surprised at first, the teenager’s mother said she approves of her daughter’s decision to be in fashion. Gatbel herself said she still can’t believe how quickly she’s risen in the industry.

“Two months ago, if you told me I was going to be in Paris and Milan, I would be like, ‘Stop lying. Just stop!’” she said with a smile.

The fashion model said she hopes to become a role model for other women and girls who look like her. She said she receives messages on social media from young women and girls who tell her how much she inspires them.

Gatbel said she noticed more diversity on the runways while she was working in Europe. She and three other models included in the Comme des Garçons show were the first black models the designer had hired in more than 20 years, she said.

“It’s been very refreshing to see a lot of models of colour working and getting huge jobs,” she said.

Despite the whirlwind pace, Gatbel’s modelling career is only just beginning. The teenager will return to Paris in June to prepare for the haute couture shows while simultaneously working on completing her high school diploma.Read more at:celebrity dresses | vintage formal dresses

Stoffa Wants to Make Your Perfect Pants

What will the future of fashion look like? If you ask the disrupters in Silicon Valley, the answer—delivered by a dude in a hoodie and bad jeans—involves a bunch of invasive data collection and a subscription box full of algorithmically perfect T-shirts. If you ask Agyesh Madan, the future of fashion looks mostly like the past, only smarter—and with a few more pleats.

Madan doesn’t seem like a Web 3.0 fashion prophet. He studied fabrics at Parsons and then honed his chops in product development at Isaia, the Neapolitan tailoring house famous for making silk-and-cashmere blazers for hedge-funders and lesser royalty. Not exactly the stuff of #disruption. But before all that, he attended Stanford and worked as a computer engineer. So launching his own brand, Stòffa, in 2014, made sense for both halves of his résumé.

Madan led with some fancy scarves and beaver- and rabbit-felt hats—the sort of gear a rich uncle in Devonshire, or maybe a bizarrely well-dressed private eye, might dig. But he expanded the next year to buttery-soft suede jackets and cotton trousers in rare earth tones, like taupe. The ideas were classic, the cuts vaguely futuristic: tapered trousers and boxy flight jackets, updated for the dude who travels the world with a carry-on, not a steamer trunk. But the biggest tweak was to the business model, which hadn’t really changed since the Pope started commissioning velvet slippers. “Everybody talked about ‘Buy less and buy better,’ ” Madan says. “But the option wasn’t there to do that.” Until he figured it out, that is. Madan took Isaia’s vaunted made-to-measure process, kicked the prices in the teeth (cotton pants for under $300, suede jackets for just over a grand), and delivered in four to six weeks.

The Indian guy who worked at an Italian house and is now making American clothes cites a Brit as inspiration. He was watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, he says, when he learned that “the average American buys about 138 pieces of clothing at an average of $60 a pop. That brings it up to seven grand. You give me seven grand over three years,” he says, “we can build you a wardrobe that will stay with you for the next 15.”

Stòffa doesn’t have a store; instead, the brand surfs between its own pop-ups and other boutiques around the world, stopping in for a week at a time. Customers get a 45-minute fitting. But it’s about more than just learning their taste in clothing. It’s about building empathy. “What colors you like, what you eat,” Madan says. “That gives me a lot: Just knowing those, it can tell me a lot about how you’re going to wear your clothes.”Read more at:formal dresses adelaide | backless formal dresses

MACAU FASHION DESIGNER TO DEBUT AT NYFW

In Nei Hoi, better known as Gemma Hoi, is a Macau-born fashion designer who recently established her own label in New York City, USA.

Gemma is preparing a collection to be presented during the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) next month, becoming the first ever Macau designer to present in the prestigious event.

To learn more how about how preparations for the event are going and the designer’s feelings ahead of this major international debut, the Times interviewed Hoi.

Macau Daily Times (MDT) – For those that don’t know you well, can you recount a bit of your story and explain how you started in this industry?

Gemma Hoi (GH) – I was born and raised in Macau. My father was a menswear designer, so it was under his influence that I wanted to engage in fashion design since I was little.

At 18 years of age, I started sending out resumes to different design companies in Macau.

To my surprise – since I had no prior experience in the field whatsoever – a company called Estawon granted me an interview. They were originally in search of designers with at least four years’ experience, but the head of the department at the time, Anne Chou, also the first to see my profile, thought she’d give me a shot.

After three rounds of interviews, Anne gave me the last challenge, which was to illustrate designs according to a set theme. Three hours later, I came out of the conference room that was used as the place for challenge, and handed in my design, which I was quite confident with. Then they told me “Gemma, welcome to Estawon,” and so I became the youngest fashion designer of the company.

MDT – What are your principles in relation to the fashion design industry, what values do you represent and what inspires you to create new items and new collections?

GH – Well, I think the current fashion market is no longer [made] of beautiful clothes, so I am only creating meaningful clothes [instead].

In Italian, the word Gemma means jewels or gems, and that was the name that I picked for myself as well as for my brand, because I believe every woman has her own unique luster, or quality, that will make her shine. However, it takes time and effort, and especially self-confidence to explore and express this unique “charisma.”

In a scientific study conducted in the United States’ Northwestern University, it was proved that “one’s choice of outfit and style does reflect and influence his or her emotion, health, and confidence.” Therefore, I personally pay [a great deal of] attention to how my designs can bring that positivity and confidence out of my customers. This is very meaningful to me, because although on a present and narrow scope, we are just making clothes, on a more futuristic and broader scope, the beauty and comfort brought by the clothing can also change a person’s life through bringing more positivity.

We all want to be special at some point, and there are many things that we can study and explore to help to find what makes each and every one of us special, and this is what inspires me to design.

MDT – How was the move from Macau to NYC? What challenges did you face?

GH – When I first arrived in America, the language was my greatest challenge. My mother tongue is Cantonese, yet to become a designer of the international market, I had to break through the language barrier. Luckily, art and design doesn’t necessarily have a boundary, as visual language is rather universal.

It is because of the visuals I present that Parsons School of Design recognized my talent, and thus granted me acceptance, since I wasn’t able to submit my application through the usual methods.

MDT – You are going to present a collection for the first time at NYFW. How do you feel about it?

GH – I’ve always dreamed about being part of the New York Fashion Week, and it has always been one of the biggest motivators that drove me to leave the peaceful hometown of Macau to the gigantic city of New York.

I still remember the first day when I arrived with two large suitcases, as I walked out of JFK Airport. I vividly recall how nervous I was when I was having trouble communicating in my less-than- proficient English. Yet surprisingly, here I am, after four years, being able to present a solo exhibition at the One World Trade Center last year, and this year, I finally entered New York Fashion Week.

I’m truly grateful for all the opportunities of growth that this city has offered me. I’m so proud now to say that “I am a fashion designer, and I come from Macau.”

MDT – Regarding your design, do you think that the fact you lived in different place, and with a quite different culture, influences you in any way?

GH – Yes, I believe design is reflected and influenced by the creators’ history, culture, and personality.

For example, my experiences at the patternmaking department of 3.1.Phillip Lim taught me the different possibilities that can be achieved through creating new patterns.

Another experience of mine in Marchesa’s couture department inspired me through the usage of mix-and-match materials to create expansive extravagance. It is through these western influences, and my own eastern background, that I now express a culturally balanced style of design.

MDT – What are you presenting at NYFW? What inspired you to created it?

GH – I named my collection “Time Traveller 1940s.” The collection is inspired by the uniforms of America’s female factory workers. The 1940s was a dramatic period of time when America was involved in World War II, and it was also the second bloom of the women’s rights movement [after] the 1920s.

These historical facts symbolize the rising from the ashes of womens’ rights, and embody the spirit of courage, freedom and democracy. Denim is a symbolic fabric, perhaps the most, in American history, and its toughness and ever-changing definition played a huge role in the evolution of women’s gender role. I hope my audiences can view this collection from a symbolic standpoint, and engage in the history, more than viewing the collection as a row of products.

MDT – What do you expect from NYFW? What will it represent to you?

GH – I hope this is the end of a journey, but also the beginning of an [new] era.Read more at:long formal dresses | evening dresses

Shine Theory: Kendra Eno

In my next Shine Theory column I spoke with Kendra Eno, the showcase manager for Afro Caribbean Society. We spoke about what it means for her to be a black woman growing up in the blackgirlmagic and natural hair cera, and the role of the Afro Caribbean Society in projecting a sense of community onto the greater St Andrews community with Ubuntu – their showcase this semester.

The theme for the showcase is UBUNTU, meaning “I am because we are.” Tell me a bit about what that means.

I was trying to come up with something that speaks empowerment for the black community because god knows we need it. Especially in St Andrews, where there’s a lack of us, togetherness. I feel like the ACS society has a great community but in a wider sense, I don’t think we’re projecting it. We have it for ourselves but we’re not showing it to others.

Tell me about your role in Ubuntu?

I knew if we were going to do something this big, which was my own idea, I’d need someone to bounce ideas off of. Alice and I recruited a team at the start of the semester. The showcase is dance, acting, singing and modelling, connected through one narrative. Modelling is particularly important to showcase culture, and designers from other places, I actually knew no African or Caribbean designers until we put on this event.

Would you consider yourself as someone with split heritage?

Yeah it’s definitely split. I feel more Barbadian than Nigerian but I’ve got to know more of my Nigerian side through uni, and I think that the showcase is probably going to emphasise the Nigerian side, because the theme for it is Southern African. The story we’re telling is Nigerian – the story of how earth is created.

Something that often trends on twitter/ Facebook is “Black Girl Magic.” What do you think is the impact of this?

It is so nice to have a movement that portrays us as also beautiful. The media is very good at portraying one standard of beauty. Even white women say that standard of beauty is unreachable, but at least they can relate to it. But us black women; we’re not even considered. ‘Black Girl Magic’ speaks volumes, that we can finally love our chocolate skin and our beautiful hair. It’s really impacting the black community; people who are bringing up their young girls to love their hair. I hated my hair when I was younger. I felt it was rough and knotty; I had no idea how to take care of it. The natural hair movement is slowly helping us to reclaim ourselves, and not to answer to anyone else or rely on the media to validate it.

How has your mother influenced how you perceive yourself as a woman and your role in society?

As I was growing up it was a very big thing for me. My mum would catch me, catching my reflection on the way to school. And I remember one day I said, ‘at least I’m pretty’, and she said ‘Kendra, one day someone could throw acid in your face and what would you have then? Education first, beauty comes after.’ I learnt so much of myself through her. Especially with dance, even though she would say now some of the moves I’m doing she didn’t teach me…! As I got older she instilled in me the fact that I was black, but when I was young, she didn’t. I was a woman first. She said she didn’t realise she was black until she came to the UK, because everyone looked the same back home. And I would always say I’m black before I’m a woman.

Recently there have been a lot of allegations of sexual assault or harassment in the news. What do you think we can do as a society to lessen this epidemic?

I think the metoo was great, it showed how widespread it was. Reading all these articles about it made me realise how much blame we put on women. Something I read recently is that in reports on assault cases, it is always “a woman has been assaulted” not that “a man did it”, it’s very passive. As women we’re all united, but men haven’t banded together, a lot of them just blame. We need to remove the blame, talk to our fathers and young boys, even relatives. Also, talking to women who have been influenced by gender roles, like my elderly aunts, who have quite out-dated views. ‘You’re not sitting like a lady…pull your dress down’, I was told that so many times growing up. Those kinds of views cannot be allowed to continue.

This year Rihanna released a line of makeup for all skin tones. What did that mean for you?

You know, it meant that my bank account is quite empty…! I bought three match stick highlighters, treat yo self. (laughing) She’s won awards for it. It was innovative, but why did it take so long? Companies have the money to develop products as much as they want, but they can’t create more shades of foundation to be put in Boots,….?!! Please. Beauty standards are dictated by whoever has the power in the industry. I can’t say the industry is racist, but in a way I can. There’s only one reason they only catered to one section of the demographic.

It’s the same as ‘Nude’ like skin colour tights.

Yes! It always means white. I used to draw myself as white, so when I was a kid and I used ‘skin colour’, it was always white, that’s what people were in my head. Skin colour tights, I still can’t get them unless I go to Calzedonia, which is so expensive. It’s changing; we’re experiencing a turning point.

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Probably to continue to get my hair relaxed. It’s so damaging, but black hairdressers need to get onboard too. These aren’t our beauty standards we’re conforming to, they’re the European ones. It’s part of the journey for loving yourself as a black woman. There’s so much self-hate in the community. We need to take back what’s ours, and stop apologising for what we are. I wore an afro in St Andrews, and got stared at by locals, but that’s black girl magic for you!

Name a woman who you admire, that is in the spotlight?

I discovered Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in my second year, through my friend who is Nigerian. I realised I didn’t know any black authors, and then I was recommended her books by a friend. I read ‘Americanah’, and saw her Ted Talks on ‘Why We should all be Feminists’, and ‘The danger of the Single Story’. She made a funny comparison, someone had read her book The Colour Yellow and came up to her and said, “It’s such a shame that all Nigerian men are domestic abusers”. She’d just finished reading American Psycho, and said in response “It’s such a shame that all white American men are serial killers”, which shows the danger of generalizing, and the single narrative!

Name a woman you admire who isn’t in the spotlight and, tell us why you think she should be.

As I already spoke about my mum, I will talk about my friend Oyin Kan. She is so great, and came back from a year abroad and got high firsts in everything. She’s so modest, demure, kind and funny. She has really good taste in friends, not including me! And is just a great person to be around.Read more at:princess formal dresses | red formal dresses

In an organic fashion

For someone who embraced ikat when Indian fashion was yet to find its feet, Madhu Jain has always been looking ahead of her times – first in 1980s when only a handful of designers would rummage for raw materials in the labyrinthine bylanes of the Walled City to now when designers have no compunction of procuring imported fabrics, accessories to economise cost of their outfits.

As a precocious child, Madhu was quick to appreciate the aesthetic eyes of her father, who liked dressing up in his best bib and tucker and lived in regal style in posh Aurangzeb Road. Madhu meticulously studied everything – be it décor, lifestyle, cuisine and heritage. Years later, that would reflect on her sartorial choices.

She loves figurative work of Thai ikat and that translates into her food as well. As we meet at Zing, the Asian restaurant of The Metropolitan Hotel and Spa, she observes the large vegetarian spread aesthetically. After settling down, the food connoisseur in her comes alive as she inquires about erstwhile Siam’s Pamelo salad and raw papaya.

Madhu’s dietary influence has come from Rajeshwari Devi, her mother, who hailed from a traditional Jain family of Kucha Bulaki Begum in Old Delhi. “At home, mother would cook onion and garlic-free food which was so sumptuous. At school in Delhi, I would take tiffin in which she packed me lip smacking chana and puri.” Surprisingly, she was enlisted as a non vegetarian at Welham Girls School in Dehradun. “But, right from day one, I was adamant to stick to my vegetarian palate.”

B.D. Meattle, her father, was fond of fashionable clothes. And would gift floral French chiffon saris to her mother. “She wore it with pearls. His aesthetics could be seen in Belgian chandeliers, Persian carpets at our home.” The Walled City continues to be her favourite haunt for street food. “Jo khatir nawazi wahan hoti hai, kahin nahi hoti. At my nani’s house in Old Delhi, khumchewalas would send banana leaves filled with kulfi, kulle, a fast disappearing edible, from which sweet potatoes and other veggies would be scooped out.”

Foraying into fashion

Having taken the bold decision of working on the ancient weaving technique of ikat even though she was a student of Economics, Madhu was not perturbed by the fact that Indians then had virtually no exposure to couture.

“I was lucky to be around the same time as Rohit Khosla.” Those days camaraderie existed between designers. “Today, it is rare to find two designers on the same page,” she says, while sipping her hot and sour soup.

She has remained loyal to the indigenous handmade crafts and textiles. “Foreign buyers have a lot of respect for our handmade clothes but the problem is that only a few designers are presenting Indian art and craft in their totality abroad. Like when I took Kashmiri handicrafts to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Americans were in awe of it. There needs to be responsible fashion and the idea of giving back to society should be pursued. That is what I believe in and follow.”

She is worried that blatant commercialisation by designers these days is making a dent in India’s image overseas. She laments that the finesse with which she did her crafts no longer exists now. “Now it has become too commercialised,” she gripes, while sipping her soup.

Like she zeroed in on Kalamkari, which gave her a chance to express her creativity, one asks. “It also created multiple jobs. How many designers have worked on it? We used it for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. That is when it took off,” she says.

Sustainability factor

The conversation shifts to how imported fabrics have penetrated across the nation and are threatening to ruin livelihood of artisans. “Tamil Nadu is famous for its kanjeeverams which is staple for weavers there. However, there is influx of kanjeeverams from China at one third the price. It has become a huge issue. What is going to happen to weavers of the State?”

While polishing off Pamelo salad, Madhu feels the solution lies in designers following the path of ethical fashion. “Indian fashion designers need to work on this. They should not alter the geographical craft index. There need to be ethics in fashion. There has to be credibility on what we showcase on the ramp. If designers are trying to work with traditional crafts, then economics is a consideration but that doesn’t mean that theyforget about backward linkages.”

She further says that designers need to understand how much damage powerlooms are doing to handlooms. .

“Everybody is falling in line due to the push given by the powers that be. Our history informs us that crafts have always been protected by rulers. All it needs now is right positioning. The government has to step in to protect our identity,” suggests Madhu, a strong proponent of the government’s ‘Made In India’ scheme.

In 2018, Madhu forecasts that alternative fabrics, anti-fit silhouettes would be worn by fashionistas. “We will have more eco-friendly textiles and practical silhouettes based on comfort. This is where the Ministry has to play a bigger role and I am glad that Smriti Irani is open to new ideas.”

As far as story of sustainability goes, Madhu is a cut above the rest of her fraternity. And this could be seen from the special award conferred on her by the FICCI.

Explaining how she seeks to take the sustainability story forward, Madhu asserts that she is the first designer in the world to come up with bamboo silk ikat. “Not even in the North East there is any designer who has converted bamboo, which is found in abundance into textiles. This is my gift to our industry.”

Sipping fresh orange juice, Madhu opens up about the secret of hard bamboo from which furniture and upholstery is made in the North East.

“It doesn’t require much water. It doesn’t take away earth’s resources. This is textile for the future and is completely organic. One does not require fertilizers for its growth.”Read more at:formal dresses online | formal dresses sydney