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IN CONVERSATION WITH CHARU PARASHAR

— JASMEEN DUGAL

Charu Parashar has a strong presence in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Los Angeles, Dallas and New York. The couturier's calling card is handwork at which she excels and her collections are craft-focused exercises in transforming rich fabrics into ensembles fit for royalty. In conversation with her on the eve of the launch of her street wear couture.

 

Your remarkable success is probably down to the fact that you know exactly what you want, never straying from your strong brand identity. How do you feel diversity of life experience has evolved your vision?

 

Well, thank you for your love. Focus and integrity are my best friends and I love what I do. So it's easy. Since childhood all I ever wanted to be was a fashion designer and the brand promise of fine craftsmanship has been infused with the philosophy ever since. There is no great teacher than Life itself. You are learning every day from everyone around you. In my  belief, one should have a value system in place; rest, everything falls into place.

 

How do you build your design aesthetic and keep it fresh and relevant each season?

 

Fashion is a very demanding profession. To keep up with constantly evolving Fashion is challenging. You have to keep reinventing yourself. Also I feel that you have to observant about what's happening in society and how their needs are changing. For example 'street wear couture' is the new trend which is here to stay. So this season I have addressed that with my India Fashion Week collection 'Avant Gardiste'. You will see my design aesthetic fused with prints specially developed from the flora fauna chintz series to culminate into exciting street wear ensembles!!

 

You've showcased worldwide. Where do you think fashion is at the moment- in India? What does showcasing at India Fashion Week mean to you as a designer, today?

 

When we talk about global fashion, Paris, Milan and London take the lead in that order. They are surely matured markets and drive fashion trends Internationally. There are fashion houses which are 140-years old. While India, in spite of having a rich cultural heritage, has not been able to carve a niche on the global fashion map. But things are changing now and the Indian fashion industry is gaining ground. We might be a fifty year old industry but designers are now showcasing at International fashion weeks, the government is taking an active interest to map the fashion hubs and Khadi is being revived. Infact, I recently joined hands with fundraiser 'Nobility For Ability' where I showcased a khadi silk line at Polo de Chantilly, Paris and was pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction. So we have to constantly be the ambassadors of Indian fashion and collaborate to take Indian fashion to newer heights. India Fashion Week is the most credible platform to showcase our collections to the International buyers and press. New age technology is a boom and global acceptance is increasing day by day. Moreover, domestic markets too have begun responding; we are becoming a fashion conscious nation.

 

Charu, what are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

 

I'm always inspired by nature, art and architecture. I'm mesmerised by the rich heritage of India has and the century old craftsmanship techniques which I want to take to the nest level of luxury. I aspire to keep myself motivated and sharpen my creative instincts! Travel takes most of my time so while I'm working on a collection, the journey is an enriching experience.

 

What do you consider to be most important—commercial appeal or creative force—keeping in mind both the catwalk appeal and immediate retail readiness?

 

Without creative force, fashion is meaningless. I feel creativity should be infused with cutting edge designs to make it into a wearable ensemble. For me, commercial appeal is most important. 'Fashion is worn and art is hung' so I always keep the muse and her needs in mind while designing. And I think the world is taking note of it. Ultimately what is not sold is not fashion. Ramp shows have few garments to set the mood or showcase the creative outburst of the designer. Mostly nowadays I have all my collection available for retail after the show. 'See now- buy now' is the new manta. Gone are the days when we have to wait six months to buy the collection! Millennials don't have patience — they want it and they want it now.   

 

How do you balance making a good business decision with your creative vision?

 

'Concentrate on the product' is my forte because without that there is no business. The pricing has to be consumer friendly. Lastly I see myself as a service and solution provider to my customers' fashion needs. When I see them happy and smiling, I feel rewarded

 

Lastly... what's next on your plate?

 

Next on my plate is the launch of CHARU PARASHAR STREETWEAR. You will catch a glimpse of that at India Fashion Week.
 

CHARU PARASHAR
Avant Gardiste
 
CHARU PARASHAR
Avant Gardiste
 
CHARU PARASHAR
Avant Gardiste
 
CHARU PARASHAR
Avant Gardiste
 
09-MARCH-2019
 
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