Fashion designing students from Holland, in India as part of an exchange programme, say no other country in the world can match the art of embellishments in garments. By Team Viva
For 20-something Sharon, a young fashion designing student from Holland, rickshawwalas are the most stylish people in India. Impressed by the way they drape the scarf (or gamcha as it is famously known as) around their neck and head, she decided to use the same style as a part of her designs that she showcased at the residence of the Ambassador of the Netherlands recently.
“The pagdi, a part of traditional Indian wear, has also been a symbol of high fashion in Europe and used many-a-times by renowned designers on the ramp. Though I didn’t know the exact way of draping it, I still included them in my designs,” said Sharon, a part of the six-member group of students from Amsterdam Institute of Fashion (AMFI), Holland that has been in India over the last four months for an exchange programme with Pearl Academy of Fashion.
Though these students conducted extensive research on Indian designs and production techniques before arriving in the country, they say the practical exposure they experienced was much different than what they’d learnt from the text. “It is very different to talk and deal with people here perhaps because we’re not used to the attention we get. But they are really helpful and warm, just that you need to learn to communicate with them in their style,” said Lonneke Sohaap, a management student who has worked closely with the craftsmen and production teams in India.
Sharon adds no matter how much one studies about the country and its fashion and design trends, witnessing them on a personal level was an amazing experience. “Everyone is looking at India, be it in terms of its deigns or fabrics. I love khadi, malkha and other Indian fabrics and have used them in my designs. I would never have known so much about the nation’s embroideries if I would not have come here. I now want to adopt Indian art of embellishments and embroidery in my designs. Once I graduate, I intend doing my first collection with Indian fabrics and embroideries,” expressed Sharon.
Another student Fritz said it was when he worked closely with craftsmen and production teams in the interiors of India that he get to know how skilled and learned these rural craftsmen were and how much the designers depended on their skill. “I even stayed with a craftsmen family in South India for a week. But what amazes me the most is the fact that women here are brilliant craftspersons and help in production procedures too. Most of them work out of home where they have small units and simultaneously look after their families. Their multi-tasking skills are just superb,” he says, adding he will be back soon to get more practical lessons. “Things work here differently and production process in garments is unique in itself. So I would want to return to sharpen my managerial skills.”