Fashion Mingle spoke to India’s fashion guru Prasad Bidapa, whose vast and varied career achievements explain why he is such a celebrated name in the industry. Prasad is a fashion choreographer, consultant and stylist who trains and launches India’s leading supermodels. He produces fashion shows and is one of the most influential people in India. Prasad advocates for the necessity of finding sustainable solutions for garment production and talks to us about how India’s textile industry has inspired international fashion.
Above: Neeta Lulla and Prasad Bidapa backstage at Bangalore Times Fashion Week, photographed by Jiten Agarwal
Fashion Mingle: Tell us why you’re such an advocate for Indian Textiles
Prasad Bidapa: In four decades of working in the Indian Fashion Industry, I have had the privilege of watching the growth and increasing influence of India’s design perspective impact the international world of fashion and design. Over the last two decades, I have become more involved with the handloom sector, which is one of the world’s last remaining repositories of heritage textiles. We have a wealth of superb hand-crafted textiles that are exquisite and timeless. Promoting projects like Rajasthan Heritage Week has definitely been the high point for me. The success of that program brought hundreds of textile weavers and artisans to the fore and made them successful design brands in their own right. I plan to replicate this in as many Indian states as possible in the coming years!
FM: What challenges have you faced when producing fashion shows in India during the pandemic?
PB: It has been two years of working during the pandemic which forced us to move to a virtual world of marketing strategies. This served to keep interest alive in designers and brand offerings, but I must admit it was with limited success. Somehow, a show unveiled on the internet did not have the same excitement as a real live fashion show with its red carpet and buzzy mix of celebrities, models, and guests hyping up the excitement factor. It was only in December that we were able to present the Bangalore Times Fashion Week, one of the most important fashion platforms in the country, presented by The Times Group, which is India’s most prominent and prestigious group of newspapers and publications. It was a runaway success with practically the whole city fighting to get into the shows!
FM: What are the unique expertise and resources that India’s fashion industry brings to the world?
PB: Indian textiles & techniques combine to create superb global products that resonate in markets the world over. Our handlooms in the luxury sector increasingly view handmade as a prerequisite for being called a luxury product! Besides that, our machine-made textiles are world-class with superb applications for industrial textiles like uniforms and other technically sophisticated requirements. Add to that our manufacturing capacity where we produce finished garments for every big brand in the world in our technologically advanced factories and skilled and affordable labor, and you can see why India is such a major player in the international world of fashion.
FM: What are the areas where you see growth for India’s fashion industry in the future?
PB: From a tailoring hub where we manufactured the world’s designs, today India offers design solutions in textiles and fashion that inspire the world of international fashion. Young Indian designers are stepping up to offer the best of products in both the ready-to-wear and couture sections. India leads the way in sustainable solutions and manufacture, and our recycling initiatives are very advanced and state-of-the-art!
FM: How do you think a platform such as Fashion Mingle can help Indian fashion professionals become more successful?
PB: I see Fashion Mingle as a very important link that can connect different manufacturers, designers, and customers in key areas. By offering a platform where significant interactions and development can take place, Fashion Mingle is a facilitator and enabler – creating a greenhouse of growth and sustainability.
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