Fashion

Tina Tahiliani Parikh on the anatomy of a fundraiser

Rabindra Nath Das from Mamari, East Burdwan, Bengal. He is weaving a muslin fabric, the finest and the lightest fabric known to man.  

One of the first items to go was Abraham & Thakore’s gold foil jacket at ₹21,900. Rohit Bal’s black printed anarkali at ₹37,500 also found a happy owner in under a minute. As festive lehengas, saris and kurta-sharara sets continue to fly off the digital shelves at Ensembleindia.com, it is clear that the Baradari project, which began today, has stepped up things in the fundraiser department. With the lockdown and May’s cyclone Amphan in West Bengal, many craftsmen, embroiderers, weavers and artisans have lost their homes and looms, or have unsold inventory and need immediate financial help. The last few months have seen a few charity initiatives take shape, and some designers have been supporting their craftsmen with dry rations or raw materials. Baradari, founded by fashion journalist Namrata Zakaria and backed by Bollywood star, Kareena Kapoor Khan, with Tina Tahiliani Parikh of Ensemble helping with execution and Pareina Thapar with communications, aims to take the ‘charity drive’ to the next level.

Kareena Kapoor Khan

Kareena Kapoor Khan  

“I think this is the first time that anybody has conceptualised a platform on this scale to give the artisan his/her due,” says Parikh. While Zakaria convinced more than a 100 big names in Indian fashion to get on board - from Sabyasachi Mukherjee to Tarun Tahiliani, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Manish Malhotra and Rahul Mishra - she reveals that generous donations began coming in even before the start of the sale. As for participating designers, each has contributed two signature pieces, following the ‘timeless’ theme and a minimum price point set between ₹20,000 and ₹25,000. Crafts enterprise Paramparik Karigar will facilitate the distribution of funds. While they hope to help craftsmen rebuild their homes, pay off high-interest loans, or buy a motorcycle or an iPad to promote business, the long-term plan is to create entrepreneurs and narrow the gap between them and the designer.

With Baradari launching on National Handloom Day, the core team is optimistic. Also, Khan’s interviews on social media and in print seem to be galvanising fans into action. “If there is anything this lockdown has shown us, it is how unequal we are as a society. Baradari is about giving everyone a fair chance,” the actor tells us. Read on for Tina Tahiliani Parikh’s note on the curation and her message to smaller designers facing financial challenges:

Tina Tahiliani Parikh

Tina Tahiliani Parikh  

Never be afraid to speak up and ask for help: Tina Tahiliani Parekh

Who was behind the curation of over 100 designers?

The list of designers was entirely Namrata Zakaria’s call, which was a good thing as we have kept it open to other fashion stores well. I am happy to tell you even Good Earth, Nicobar, Bhane, Advaya by The House of Angadi, and Warp & Weft are part of our Baradari sale. This has been a really uplifting feeling.

Tell us about some of the craftsmen on Baradari’s list?

Rajendra Nath Basak in Fulia, West Bengal, is one of the more established weavers, and almost every designer who works with textiles in Bengal has at least heard of him. Today he is a broken man struggling to make ends meet and pay his junior weavers. In Cholapur, near Benares, master weaver Alauddin Ansari employs centuries-old techniques to create fine Banarasi fabrics. In Chirala, Andhra Pradesh, a few women have come together to form a cooperative in a men’s-only domain that not only employs them, but also assists in health and family matters.

Sabyasachi

Sabyasachi  

Do you agree that with the perception around fashion, smaller designers and entrepreneurs choose to keep their financial struggles to themselves. What is your message to them?

Yes, I completely agree and my message to them is that there is always a place for someone who is doing original and innovative work. Do not compromise on your design philosophy for the commercial treadmill. Run your business smartly keeping your overheads as low as possible and stick to your budgets. Never be afraid to speak up and ask for help. Ensemble’s incubator program has been set up exactly for this purpose: to mentor and help young designers find their feet in this industry.

What is in it for the customer, besides the ‘retail therapy meets philanthropy’ angle?

Baradari would like to start a conversation with consumers of fashion, ensure they shop emotionally and make more designers follow ethical practices. Our crafts are truly alive today thanks to fashion designers who have popularised styles like chikankari, Benarasi, chanderi and ikat the world over. Baradari only says weavers must get equal opportunities to showcase their crafts themselves.

Tarun Tahiliani

Tarun Tahiliani  

I understand funds to the weavers and embroiderers on your list will be disbursed by the crafts enterprise Paramparik Karigar. How will transparency be maintained?

The money trail is a rather simple one. All sales proceeds collected from the Baradari sale will be transferred to Paramparik Karigar after we pay the GST on them. Paramparik Karigar will in turn give us tax exemption certificates, which we pass on to the designers. At the end of this, we will maintain a project report for our sponsors.

FDCI’s designer stockroom went online for the first time last weekend, and there are promotions at all the big multi-designer stores, including Ensemble. Any observations about spending patterns right now?

Customers are looking for a good deal. It looks like people have decided to go ahead with events and occasions planned later in the year, albeit at a smaller scale.

The sale is till August 15 at ensembleindia.com.


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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 1:17:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/tina-tahiliani-parikh-on-the-anatomy-of-a-fundraiser/article32298040.ece

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