martes, 27 de marzo de 2012

Fashion in India: Anupreet Sidhu

Anupreet Sidhu is a freelance stylist, fashion designer and fashion student in India. She has worked with fashion designer JJ Valaya who specializes in Indian wedding dresses. Last summer she took a fashion course at Central Saint Martins in London.

Courtesy of Anupreet Sidhu
Geography seems a bit tricky in India, and very patiently Anupreet explained it to me. She lives in Chandigarh, which is the capital for two states, Punjab and Haryana. She is three hours away by train from Delhi, India’s capital.

“Now I’ll show you some embroideries that I made myself”, she said as she took out individually framed pieces of fabric from a box. She showed me ten different types of embroidery that she had made, as well as a doll that had a traditional Indian dress that she had done for a project at school. She held a frame with a white fabric and said, “and then there is this one. That’s my favourite one and it’s from Punjab from the area I live.” It was a square, it had two thick green lines and two pink ones, and in it, there were two orange triangles. 

Embroidery is a big deal in India, I pointed out. “It is because that’s the main part and it’s not available anywhere in the world, or if it is, then it is really expensive,” she answered.

In India, as Anupreet told me, colours, embroideries, even skin colour, varies completely from place to place. “The North part itself has so many cultures that you cannot count them. The amount of cultures vary from city to city, from village to village,” she explained.

Therefore fashion schools are completely focused on Indian culture. “I’m a student in India so I get to learn more about the Indian stuff rather than the stuff outside.” This doesn’t mean though that she doesn’t learn about the Western costumes, but they must know how to make traditional Indian costumes and learn Indian costume history too. “That’s at every school because they want to keep it alive because it’s so beautiful.”

In Chandigarh they have around four fashion schools, some of them government-owned, and others private, but she claims that government-owned schools are the best choice because they are more established.

Anupreet told me she likes her school, but the lack of competition is sometimes a bit disappointing. On the other hand, the design process is very different to the one she learned in London. In India, with just one picture as inspiration, they are meant to develop a whole collection, and then all the attention goes to the embroideries and illustrations. “That’s not helping me as a designer. It is just helping me to be an Indian designer, not a international designer”, she observed.

Courtesy of Anupreet Sidhu
As far as traditional clothing goes, in her city a suit is the main dress, but Anupreet says that girls in the city don’t really wear them, only during religious or special occasions like weddings.

A big limitation for her is that people in India are not really ‘experimental’. “Half of the people don’t even know what fashion is…”, she told me as she kept pointing out how Indian people do love and respect fashion designers but they are just not willing to try them.
Students that come from the villages are not really used to seeing different clothing, other than the traditional costume, so at university she said that she can’t really wear halter tops or skirts. She has to cover up with shrugs otherwise students stare. “They just look at me like aghh, like that, I’m like, what!?”

Anupreet has a way to style her traditions up: on her Facebook page she offers styling advice, publishes pictures of her own styling, and she recently launched fashion advice for guys too. She has known since she was very young that she wanted to be a fashion designer and she told me she would like to go to London to study her Masters there.

By the end of our conversation, while she kept explaining more details of her culture and the terrific hot weather in India, she said that her city was called The City Beautiful because it’s surroundings make it fresher than other places in India. “That’s why I keep telling you, come and meet me”, she giggled.

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5 comentarios:

  1. Cool article! I love Anupreet's photos too!


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