COVID-19 Fashion

Fashion designers collaborate for ‘Saving the Artist’ campaign

Tamannaah Bhatia in a petal skirt and ruffle shirt by Archana Rao

Tamannaah Bhatia in a petal skirt and ruffle shirt by Archana Rao   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

‘Saving the Artist’ initiative aims to help daily wage artisans and victims of domestic abuse

Fourteen fashion designers from across India have teamed up for the ongoing ‘Saving the Artist’ campaign (@savingtheartist on Instagram), which is on till June 6. The COVID-19 lockdown left daily wage artisans in the fashion sector in a lurch. Though restrictions have now been eased and e-commerce has resumed, the designers state that it will be a while before sales pick up. In a bid to attract potential buyers and help the artisans, each of the 14 designers have put up two of their bestselling pieces on sale, with an intention of giving 80% of the proceeds to daily wage artisans and 20% to the Mumbai-based NGO Sneha which supports victims of domestic abuse.

The campaign was mooted by Jalandhar-based designer Farah Sanjana and the other designers on board include Neeta Lulla, Archana Rao, Shriya Som, Jayanti Reddy, Gabriella Demetriades, Akanksha Gajria, Nitya Bajaj, Sohni Patel, Eishita Puri, Shirin Mann, Suman B, Ridhi Mehra, and Shehla Khan. The garments and jewellery being sold as part of this campaign are mostly under ₹20,000, and a few pieces under ₹50,000.

The artisans who would benefit from the campaign are embroiders, pattern makers and tailors who work on an order-to-order basis with these designers. Speaking about how the plight of artisans, Farah says, “Not everyone has managed to get the benefits promised by the government. Most of the artisans who work for me are migrants and I have been doing my best to support them monetarily and by supplying groceries, masks and sanitisers. But we needed to do something more, since there were no sales at all during the extended lockdown.”

Farah Sanjana

Farah Sanjana   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

This campaign that intends to help artisans and domestic abuse victims, has helped re-initiate the dialogue with prospective buyers. Hyderabad-based Archana Rao who, like other designers, has re-opened her store as part of the Unlock 1.0 measures, notes how walk-in customers are picking up long-term functional garments rather than ostentatious occasional buys.

Neeta Lulla

Neeta Lulla   | Photo Credit: K Ramesh Babu

“When the lockdown began, I didn’t think it would be a prolonged battle. For a month or two, we can support our staff. But we also needed to look at the business scenario,” she says.

In the last few weeks, the 14 designers have been able to exchange ideas and insights into the fashion world with their peers. “When we meet designers from other cities in the chaos of Fashion Weeks, we rarely get to talk at length. This campaign has helped us connect. We all needed someone to talk to,” says Archana.

Archana Rao

Archana Rao   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Farah intends to keep the group going and says the ‘Saving the Artist’ initiative might just be the beginning of their collaboration. “As women entrepreneurs, we have enjoyed having this collaborative support group. In a couple of weeks, we might begin a new campaign,” she says, and the details are being worked out.

(For more details, look up the individual designers’ Instagram accounts or @savingtheartist)

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 9:45:53 AM |

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