Kareena Kapoor Khan on fronting a fashion fundraiser: “The artisans have suffered a lot during this pandemic” – VOGUE India

By on August 3, 2020

During the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, the global fashion industry rallied together to aid the health care sector with providing protective gear and big donations. In India, leading designers were quick to pledge support to their worker families and staff, throughout the crisis. As the industry opens up again in a phased manner, those deeply affected by the pandemic, such as small-scale, independent businesses and artisans working at the grassroots—some of which were deeply disrupted by cyclone Amphan in May—still need a helping hand. And the design community, once again, has come together to safeguard the future of the craftspersons that have laid the industry’s foundation.

The Baradari project, an online fundraiser, is founded by veteran journalist Namrata Zakaria with this very hopeful spirit of rebuilding. The country’s top designers, including Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Tarun Tahiliani, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Manish Malhotra, Anamika Khanna, Rahul Mishra and about 100 more, have donated their signature pieces for the digital sale on Ensembleindia.com. “The health pandemic threw light on the social inequalities in India, and in the way we conduct our businesses. Our weavers and embroiderers are our daily wage labourers, they are at the bottom of fashion’s food chain, and get a mere thousand rupees for the lakhs [of rupees] their work is sold for. This needed to be addressed. Our attempt with Baradari is to address this economic divide,” Zakaria tells Vogue. To convey the urgent message of solidarity and in hope for economic stability, actor Kareena Kapoor Khan is lending her voice to support the initiative. 

From August 7-15, the fashion benefit will be hosted on the newly-launched e-commerce platform of Ensemble, with all the operational and logistical support extended by the multi-designer store. “I really do hope that more than just the name of the designer that’s on the label of these pieces, each consumer really just fundamentally appreciates all the different hands that have touched this piece to create it,” says owner and founder Tina Tahiliani Parikh. “Without the artisan, there is no designer community, there is no beautiful piece to buy. This is because these are crafts that have been honed for generations oftentimes and if we don’t support our artisans, we are going to lose this part of our heritage forever.” 

The entirety of funds collected will be dispersed of artisan communities such as The Social Welfare of Handlooms and Handicrafts (SWHH), the only women-only cluster in Chirala, Andhra Pradesh, which is a centre for most of the cotton and silk weaving in South India. Other organisations associated with farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers and tailors at the core of the supply chain will benefit from the proceeds. 

In an exclusive interview, we spoke to Kareena Kapoor Khan about fashion and pertinent questions about the project. Excerpts below.

You have always been a constant muse for India’s leading designers. How has your relationship with fashion evolved over the years?

Well, I think fashion is always about being comfortable in your own skin. My relationship with fashion has been very consistent over the years, rather than trying to follow the footsteps of others. It hasn’t really been affected by the trends of a season.

Did the pandemic, and the ongoing lockdown, shift your focus in fashion?

Fashion evolves and constantly changes over time. We are spending all our time indoors now, but spending this time with style can be a great thing. This is the reason seamless, comfortable and supportive loungewear is the preferred choice. I have literally spent my quarantine life in kaftans and PJs. So, all day long, from the kitchen to the screen, one must choose fashions that make you feel good, look good, are easy to work in, as being relaxed is important.

What prompted you to support Namrata Zakaria and Ensemble on the Baradari project?

India has some amazing textile traditions. The Baradari project aims to safeguard these craftsmen, embroiderers, weavers and artisans who are at the bottom of the fashion food chain. The artisans have suffered a lot during this pandemic. When Namrata called me to tell me about the fundraiser, I said yes immediately.

What will be the biggest takeaway for the audience and customers from this initiative?

I hope they understand that fashion is not just all about designers and glitz. There is an army of workers behind a fashion garment, and they don’t get paid fairly. I hope people can make choices where workers are paid better. Consumers just need to ask for fairness in fashion.

Why is it so important to support our artisans and skilled workers during this time?

The way things are in India, with so much poverty and poor wages for skilled labour, any time is a good time. But the idea behind Baradari is to promote economic sustainability—when the artisan is empowered to become an entrepreneur, like the designer himself. They must be empowered to have their own businesses. 

How would you advise people to consciously incorporate more local textiles in their wardrobes?

I would like to tell people, let’s together use more of the local textiles in our day-to-day life and keep our crafts-persons, weavers and artisans flourishing. We have a treasure trove of fabric and embroidery styles, we cannot lose these traditions, and we need to empower those who work with these traditions.

Ahead of the sale, take a look at some of the designer pieces on offer:

Sari, Sabyasachi

Sari, Tarun Tahiliani

Lehenga, Manish Malhotra

Sari, Raw Mango

Kurta set, Eka

© SK Mashungsang

Also read:

Indian designers on the challenges of keeping brands afloat amidst the coronavirus pandemic

Indian designers share what it’s like to reopen stores as the lockdown eases

6 unifying hashtags that will help you stay positive during self-isolation

Source Article from https://www.vogue.in/fashion/content/kareena-kapoor-khan-on-fronting-a-fashion-fundraiser-baradari-project-supports-artisans
Kareena Kapoor Khan on fronting a fashion fundraiser: “The artisans have suffered a lot during this pandemic” – VOGUE India
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