Monday, 30th October 2017

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Bibi Russell (left), chief guest, and Nayanika Chatterjee, guest of honour, signed the symbolic ‘Kolkata Kettle’ at the start of the session

It's all about sustainable fashion and art at Kolkata Kettle

The exhibition also threw light on the need to minimise the waste produced by the textile and garment industry

By Hia Datta (t2 intern)
  • Published 10.03.20, 8:04 PM
  • Updated 10.03.20, 8:04 PM
  • 2 mins read
Rashbehari Das
Photo Credit: Rashbehari Das
We loved the huge kettle installation made with spare parts of cycles and bikes, some household products like gas lighter and old keys that was conceived by Craft Couture. “The base has been made out of cycle seat covers and spring cut into sections, which have been assembled to make the handle of the kettle as well,” said Kaushik Ghosh, who executed the installation.
Rashbehari Das
Photo Credit: Rashbehari Das
Bibi Russell (left), chief guest, and Nayanika Chatterjee, guest of honour, signed the symbolic ‘Kolkata Kettle’ at the start of the session. “This is a wonderful experience, a great exposure for a lot of crafts. I love coming back for Kolkata Kettle because it’s a lovely exhibition and endeavour. Every part of India has a different craft that the younger generation, especially, don’t know about. We look at the West for clothing, fabrics, embroidery, intrinsic textiles, but we have it all here. What we need to do is understand our country, the different parts that have so much to offer, and promote them. Certain crafts might be a little decadent so to say, but modernise them and put it on a platform, give it that impetus and push to come up,” said Nayanika.
Rashbehari Das
Photo Credit: Rashbehari Das
Rita Bhamani, Bibi Russell, Nayanika Chatterjee, Rashmi Chowdhury, convenor, Kolkata Kettle, and Samir Prasad, president, Rotary Club of Calcutta Midtown, at the signing ceremony for Kolkata Kettle. “This exhibition is all about sustainability, of learning new things about how our lifestyle should be. The atmosphere is about craft and high fashion coming together. We have brought a mix of designers, artists, craftsmen, big labels, mainstream designers, photographers, students from NIFT and from Visva Bharati University, all in one platform to share the passion for craft and design,” said Rashmi. “The event is about a cause... as a club we are focused on skill development of the underprivileged, that’s one of our key agenda,” said Samir.

A quick chat with Bibi Russell

How important is it today to blend fashion with sustainability and how can the younger generation be made aware of sustainable fashion?

Now, anything sustainable is very important. Fashion has to be sustainable. In India, you have so many fabrics, so many textures, you cannot depend on weddings and things that the big designers are doing. You have to cater ready-to-wear outfits for the young generation; you have to mix-and-match for them. So, sustainability for the designers themselves, for the young generation who should follow economical budgets, along with awareness and education about fashion, that should be the way ahead.

India holds a rich heritage in fashion and art and craft, with every state producing distinct styles. Do you have any favourite styles from India?

I work in many states but I have a soft corner for Bengal. I think there are so many things that need to come out. There are top designers in Bengal who should use more Bengal things. I think the northern part of Bengal is so beautiful for their clothing culture, but how many people you see wearing Baluchari nowadays? Other parts of India are promoting their clothing. Kanjeevaram is going places all over India. I can talk about the saris and fabrics of Bengal especially as Bengal is famous for the fabrics. I think there is a huge market for fashion nationally, which is why you go and buy big brands like Zara because you look for new things. But do we find it in our designers? No. We just go for wedding outfits from them but we need maximum new clothes for daily wear. So that’s the thing. Our designers can do it all with better fabrics but they need to take them up.

How can traditional Indian handloom and art and craft be upscaled?

I’ve been working for the last 10-15 years in different states. India is a big country and if you think of the big designers, they make a lot more money than me. But, I make it a point to come to exhibitions like Kolkata Kettle to keep in touch with all the young artisans and designers. It is so important for new people who are excellent in their craft to be encouraged, but sadly they lack the opportunity to bring their crafts out due to resource problem. The top designers should join such initiatives to contribute their bit too.

How would you define fashion, and what would be your fashion advice for the youngsters?

I think fashion is all about knowing yourself, your body. In India and Bangladesh, we have six seasons, so dress accordingly. You should respect what you wear and wear what makes you feel comfortable and what makes your personality shine.