Designers should focus on creating functional apparel, says I. S. Mathur

Besides the aesthetics aspect, young designers must focus on creating functional apparel appropriate for use in the Indian tropical climate, says veteran design education expert I.S. Mathur.

“It is a misconception that fashion education in India came from the West. Fashion in India is as old as Indus Valley civilisation. Take for instance any Indian clothing, be it a saree, a dhoti, ghagra, a suit with a dupatta or even a lungi—all these clothes are suited for tropical climate as they allow air-circulation,” he points out, reiterating: “Students of fashion designing must revive functional clothing.”

A powerful nation is always aped by others, he says and goes on to add: “There was a time when other countries aped India. Now, we are aping the West. Western powers have killed our thinking ability to further their own vested interests,” he rues and says that experience over the years, however, has taught Indians the banes of aping.

“Did you notice that Indian men have almost shun the three-piece formal suit that includes a jacket and a vest teamed with a pair of trousers? This was worn along with a tie. First, the last one (tie) was done away with and then, the vest was given the quiet burial. Now, it’s mostly a two-piece suit without a tie.”

“Only education can make us a true Indian,” he emphasizes, adding: “Ironically, we know more about Mississippi river than our own Ganga.”

The man, who established the disciplines of Animation, Short Films and Television for graduate and post-graduate studies at National Institute of Design (NID), also has strong reservations over the manner in which roles of villains and vamps are undermined in Indian film industry.

“A khalnayak (villain) or a khalnayika (vamp) is as important as the hero in a story. Film stories are built on real life experiences that are depicted using different ideologies that create conflicts, action, confusion and complexities. A hero cannot be a hero unless there is a villain who need not always be a figurative aspect. He could even be a concept,” says stressing that it is, therefore, becoming increasing important to train artists for the roles of villains and vamps also.