first style statement, Gandhi’s call for Swadeshi, a nation’s outcry
to ‘be Indian-buy Indian- and effort to save her textiles from being decimated
by the British Raj. Today, sixty years later, a similar struggle ensues; a nation
of billion possibilities, cannot boast of a single label; swiftly losing her
10000 year tradition to neo-colonialism and her talent & traditions to sweatshops.Lecoanet
Hemant – the Indo-French-German duo leave their Parisian power-position,
following in Gandhi’s path to ‘Be the Change You Want To See’
working to develop India’s first luxury label
you imagine a country, where seven out of ten Indian youth, wear garments produced
in their countries for a fistful of dollars, exported overseas, re-imported
and then sold back to them with 200% premium!! Tagged and Taxed by western labels!
This is the ironical shade of neo-colonialism visible in a country whose first
style statement was Gandhi’s call for Swadeshi- a nation’s outcry
to save her textiles and crafts from perishing at the hands of the British Raj.
Today, sixty years later, tech packs replace traditional design, synthetics
chase-out silken skeins, India risks losing her 10,000 year traditions as belligerent
bureaucrats froth with joy at outsourcing. A country of a billion possibilities
cannot boast of a single international local label. Challenging the weak national
policies a nascent fashion fraternity struggles to build local labels. Questioning
why country’s minimal infrastructure fuels global retail, but doesn’t
offer Indian designer’s the same retail and manufacturing infrastructure,
a few pre-thinkers refute this servitude, opening upa visual dialogue using
the fragmented Indian Fashion Week as a platform.
2001 –Indo-French-German duo, Lecoanet-Hemant return to India Shinning.
Hoping to nurture the country’s first luxury label, they leave behind
their secure Parisian haute couture address, putting their best feat forward
in a country where light and power is often a luxury. Using their international
expertise, meshing it with local graffiti; they create contemporary solutions
for emerging India. Refusing to kowtow to outsource, battling socio-political
corruption, they stir up awareness, set off aspiration hoping to shape cultural
identity through ‘’Indiavisualism’.
Working alongside the regional design fraternity they commence on a trajectory
of change. Setting up infrastructure, training talent, introducing labor benefits,
enabling transparency, they put their life savings into creating solutions for
an entire population sold to polyester and ‘phorigen’ (foreign)
goods. Amidst this turmoil, a humane side shines through as Hemant rediscovers
his roots and Didier his partner, a disciplined Frenchman continues struggle
between myth and management.
Their everyday battles are epic, humorous and humbling in equal parts. Winners
of the biggest international design award - The Parisian Golden Thimble; they
have to re-establish themselves in India. Hoping to nurture the confused cultural
identity, sold at the altar of imported brag & tag, they have a mission,
Hemant uses elements from popular culture, creating ensembles resonating of
Modern India. He dreams of creating ready-to-wear solutions at cost effective
prices, supported by Lecoanet who designs this dream with blind commitment.
Following their highs and lows, unveiling how they survive in a country’s
manufacturing structure sacrificed at the altar of ‘outsource’,
we open a debate on governance. Why do India’s profiteering politicians
levy heavy taxes on national brands? Why do they police the nascent fraternity?
Why is luxury such a convoluted word in the country of Maharajas? Through insightful
interviews with leading media personal and designers, seeking to understand
the issues crippling the growth of local labels, we etch out a socio-psychographic
snapshot of a country living out centuries of growth in less than 50 years.
Will this duo succeed in infusing pride in a country presold to western brands
and bling? Will they be able to forge a brand in a country where they are refused
retail infrastructure? Will they be able to adapt to the rules of this ‘Shinning
Nation” whose social underbelly reveals over 50 percent of its people
living below the poverty levels making luxury truly superfluous? Will any body
be able to understand their vision and design sensibilities?
Shot Across: India/ UAE/ US/ France. Final Cut: Sept –Oct 201