For creativity, say no to commerce: Sabyasachi Mukherjee (Interview)

New Delhi, April 9 (Calcutta Tube) One of the biggest names in Indian fashion feels commercial viability is diluting the creativity of designers. Sabyasachi Mukherjee also says it is of prime importance that they focus on the country’s rich textiles and techniques.

‘Designers should try to avoid going overboard, whether they are making a couture collection or pret. Indian designers needs to say no to commerce if they want to sustain creativity,’ Sabyasachi told IANS in an interview.

‘If the designs are driven by commercial viability then they are bound to be lost in oblivion. I know it is a matter of survival for most of us but this is the only solution to sustain creativity.’

‘The knowledge that international media and fashionistas have about India is very limited; so it is of prime importance that we focus on our textiles, techniques and fabrics and educate the world about how rich the handloom industry in India is,’ he said.

Mukherjee, 37, will present a modern and eclectic collection at the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) here Sunday. The collection, titled an ‘Ode to Modernism’, has travelled across Argentina, Peru and France. The line is completely handcrafted from Indian fabric.

The collection is inspired by retro Spanish films with a look that is very modern and rock.

‘The collection is inspired from the 1960s and 1970s style in the international market. The silhouettes will be sports meets retro-rock on a colour palate which varies from black and white with a mix of super bright colours as well. But the entire range uses Indian handicraft fabrics like textured khadi, a little bit of zardosi, beaten and burnt crystals and lace,’ said Mukherjee.

Are we going to see his favourite muses, Rani Mukherjee and Vidya Balan, as showstoppers for the show?

‘I don’t know because both Rani and Vidya are working for their respective movies. Vidya is working on a very difficult movie called ‘Dirty Picture’ and Rani is doing a film with Aamir (Khan).

‘Also I have never believed in the show-stopper concept. For me, clothes are the showstoppers. Yes, Bollywood celebrities come to watch my show, but I have never made an effort to present them on the ramp,’ he said.

Besides WIFW in Delhi, the designer is also a regular face at Lakme Fashion Week, Mumbai, and finds both cities very unique and different as markets.

‘I think they are two different cities and have two different kinds of understanding of fashion. Delhi has a much more dressed up vibe whereas Mumbai has a much more cooler vibe. But apart from that they are very receptive cities and I have got fabulous business out of them.’

Mukherjee who started his label, ‘Sabyasachi’, in 1999, earned the distinction of being the only Indian designer invited to showcase at the Milan Fashion Week, 2004. He won the grand winner award at the Mercedes New Asia fashion week in Singapore in 2003.

Is there any other international fashion week in the pipeline? ‘I am concentrating only on India because the biggest market is here; so hopefully after this market is saturated, I will go to the West,’ he said.

Mukherjee retails at Carma and Ogaan, New Delhi; Melange and Ensemble, Mumbai; Espee and Intrigue, Kolkata; and Origins and Oorja, Hyderabad.

After re-inventing Indian textile and crafts in his designs, the designer is all set to debut in pret and the kids wear line this year, as he believes Indian children need much more variety in terms of designs and patterns. He will also have handbags and shoes to add to his accessory line.

‘The kind of clothes children are offered nowadays is a bit boring and this is the reason why I want to bring a revolution in terms of creativity and design. There are many designers who are doing it in the West and we need to bring the same approach here by presenting a collection that will not only be ethnic but also Indian,’ he said.

(Nivedita Sharma can be contacted at



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