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Mysore Fashion Week
 
 

IN CONVERSATION WITH JAYANTHI BALLAL

— Jasmeen Dugal

Jayanthi Ballal. Fashioner designer, proprietor of design boutique Needle Works and the visionary of Mysore Fashion Week. A lady I have always looked up to, as she singlehandedly takes care of logistics that make Mysore Fashion Week a success, which in turn placed Mysore on the fashion map. Her vision — to provide a platform to Mysore-based designers to showcase their collections alongside legendary designers, to help them grow. In conversation with the lady who runs the show.

 

What was the first moment when you knew you wanted to produce fashion week?

Basically I am a designer since the past twenty years and I have lacked opportunities; that's when I decided I should create a platform to showcase my design. So I did solo shows in my city which provided me great support and helped me to conceptualise, create and launch Mysore Fashion Week. 

 

Mysore Fashion Week is the first of its kind. Do share your vision for this edition of the event?

Mysuru, being a heritage city, has a royal culture which I showcase in all my collections. So, yes, Mysuru deserves its own fashion week as it's a growing city where there are a lot of opportunities for both contemporary and traditional designers and I also provide young talent in the city with a platform. It is one of its kind because it's conceptualised, launched and run by a single woman who hailed from a normal background and made it to this level. It is handled solely by me. I am the decision maker and it there is always a big risk in making any decision! It has made it big because of all the hard work and effort put in by me each year to make it memorable and one of its kind.  Each edition is unique and has a theme with which I like to surprise everyone!

 

What was the criterion in selecting designers? What tips can you give designers about getting maximum benefit from Mysore Fashion Week? What should they focus on?

Mysore Fashion Week has provided opportunities to all designers who required a platform to exhibit their collections. We have no criteria regarding the selection. Invitational designers will benefit more as they would have already influenced the market with their design while fresh designers are given a platform to exhibit their collections on the catwalk backed with social media promotion and the opportunity to retail the collection through the stalls we provide.

 

Do tell us about the event format. What makes Mysore Fashion Week unique?

Mysore Fashion Week has its own way of working. We start working six months prior the event. There is a lot of growth for participants. Recently, we conducted model auditions in Mumbai to give an opportunity to fresh talent we discovered there. We also invite design school students to work backstage so they may learn about the work culture of Fashion. There is something for everyone.

 

What do you think the future holds for Fashion in Mysore? Are people open to contemporary design?

Mysuru, being a heritage city, has its own culture when it comes to fashion. And it has been largely conservative. Today, of course, people are more open to contemporary design and want to explore new looks. Since fashion events started to grow in Mysuru, we are seeing a change in style across age groups. So, yes, Mysuru is growing and is a potential market for Fashion.

 

What have you enjoyed most whilst organising Mysore Fashion Week?

There is more of stress and tension running around than enjoyment but once the event takes off, goes smoothly and all our hard work pays off at the end, that would be the most cherished part of Mysore Fashion Week.

 

Also do tell us a difficult situation you have faced and how you got out of it in previous editions?

Since the time we started Mysore Fashion Week I have faced many difficulties and each edition it would just increase!! I had to go tackle a variety of problems, the biggest being pumping in money for the event! Hunting for sponsors is the biggest task in all editions.

 

What are three attributes a fashion week producer should have?

I would say he or she must be dedicated towards work. In fashion, anything might go haywire at the last moment so he or she needs to be optimistic in the approach to work and believe in themselves. 

 

The day of the shows your survival kit will definitely include… 

On show day I like to be calm and composed. From past experience, I have learnt to get everything organised before show time so I can peacefully sit and watch all shows and work on what I need to improvise in the next edition. Thanks to my team who work hard along with me!

 

Which catwalk show are you most looking forward to and why?

I always look forward to the finale which really is the biggest catwalk show. Guests look forward to the finale designer and celebrity showstopper and it is exciting to see their response!! It gives me such a feeling of pride witnessing their excitement and enthusiasm.

 

Jayanthi... how would you describe your own personal style?

My forte is bridal. I use traditional jewellery, styled in a contemporary way, with the garments. And I have not deviated from this since I became a designer. In all editions I have used kanjeevaram with customised, themed blouses.  This year I would like to keep it simple because younger generation brides want to be simpler and sophisticated. 
 

MYSORE FASHION WEEK
The lady who runs the show, Jayanthi Ballal
 
MYSORE FASHION WEEK
Snapshot of a previous edition of Mysore Fashion Week
 
23-JUNE-2017
 
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