On 6 August, Tuesday, ITV Network’s NewsX and The Sunday Guardian organised their first-ever Fashion Conclave at Taj Palace in New Delhi.  The summit was held with an aim to celebrate Indian fabric and bring together policymakers and stakeholders on a platform to take up issues that the fashion industry faces today. Attended by renowned fashion designers such as Anju Modi, Rina Dhaka, Rohit Bal and Ritu Beri among others, the event brought the spotlight on Indian textiles and traditional weaving techniques through several engaging sessions and fashion shows.

The inaugural session “Gandhi, Khadi and Fashion” began with a discussion on the measures that can be taken to promote Khadi in India and abroad by fashion designer Ritu Beri and Vinai -Kumar Saxena, Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission. With more than 25 years of industry experience, Beri shared her love for the fabric and said, “I started my design journey with Khadi. When I was a student of design in NIFT Delhi, my very first collection was shaped from Khadi and it will always have a special place in my heart. It is light, airy, versatile, affordable and easy to maintain, contrary to what people believe.”

The second session titled, “Retracing India’s New Silk Route” was addressed by Rajit Ranjan Okhandiar, IFS, Member Secretary, Central Silk Board. It focused on the history of silk and new government schemes that have come up in support of farmers and everyone else involved in its production chain.

Next up was a session titled “Celebrating Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb” that comprised renowned director Muzaffar Ali, and his wife Meera Ali. Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb (Ganges-Yamuna Culture) is an Urdu term that is understood as a fusion of Hindu and Muslim elements. Talking about this unique amalgamation, Muzaffar Ali said, “There should be no division in art and culture.” He also talked about his label, The House of Kotwara that endeavours to make villages sustainable and is taking Indian Chikankari technique global.

The key luncheon address was on the “Go Tribes Mission” initiated by the government of India.  For the talk, Pravir Krishna, Managing Director of Tribal Co-operative Development Federation of India was the guest. The session focused on the Tribe India mission which offers around 1 lakh variety of products in eight categories. Talking about tribals, Krishna said, “They are skilled people; we don’t need to teach them, we need to learn from them.”

The next session was “Haute and Happening”. The panel comprised designers Reynu Taandan and Asma Hussain; Shivani Malik, Marketing Director, Da Milano; and Runa Banerjee, Founder of the Self Employed Women›s Association, Lucknow. They talked about establishing themselves in the fashion world and how they are pushing more women to pursue their passions through various associations, seminars and NGOs.

“Dilli Darlings” was based on the lives of Delhi’s elite women. The session urged women to create their own identities through their work. “In a League of Their Own” was the next session which put the emphasis on how fashion and style statement is not only limited to ramp walks and parties, but it also finds a place in sports like Polo.

A fashion show “Kashmir Calling” celebrated the culture of Kashmir. It was organised by J&K Khadi and Village Industries Board which showcased the beautiful embroidery and design work Kashmir is famous for. This was followed by the session—“Fashion Takes from the Valley”. Renowned designer Rohit Bal and Vice Chairperson of North Zone Khadi Village Industries, Hina Bhat, participated in this session. Having grown up in Kashmir, both the guests talked about how the place is close to their hearts and influences their work. They emphasised that Khadi is integral to India. Hina Bhat said, “Khadi means freedom”. Rohit Bal said, “Khadi is the emotion of independent India.”