Bling it on!

From the Ma­hab­harata era then to the In­dian film in­dus­try now—ac­ces­sories have played a vi­tal role in glam­or­is­ing In­dian ap­parel. Join Brinda Suri as she ex­plores the trends in the ac­ces­sories in­dus­try with the party sea­son in mind.

Apparel - - Contents -

De­cem­ber her­alds the month of nev­erend­ing par­ties and fes­tiv­i­ties and noth­ing ex­presses the ef­fer­ves­cent mood of this sea­son more than the swish and shine of the clothes one dons. And, what’s an en­sem­ble today without a bit of bling? Once upon a time, gloss and glit­ter were syn­ony­mous only with the Big Fat In­dian Wed­ding. No longer solely restricted to an oc­ca­sion of the vows, ap­parel for ev­ery event now de­mands its share of stars and se­quins. And if we go by mar­ket dic­tates, the more the bling the bet­ter!

WINTER TIME IS ES­PE­CIALLY WEL­COMED AS IT IS THE SEA­SON WHEN EM­BEL­LISHED AP­PAREL IS LOOKED AT

FAVOURABLY.

SHIM­MER IS GAIN­ING POP­U­LAR­ITY

En­sem­ble em­bel­lish­ments have tra­di­tion­ally been an In­dian con­cept. In the times gone by, gota, tilla or zari were a reg­u­lar on out­fits such as saris, pavadais, sal­war-kurta-du­pat­tas and lehenga- cho­lis. Now, the in­ven­tory has ex­panded and sur­face or­na­men­ta­tions in­clude crys­tals, pearls, beaded tas­sels, rib­bons, dec­o­ra­tive cords, fancy but­tons, shells, se­quined or beaded neck­lines and yokes, acrylic beads, nat­u­ral stones, wooden beads, pom-pom fringes, cro­chet laces and metal stars, be­sides the more pop­u­lar and ev­er­green se­quins ( si­tara), met­al­work ( silma and nakshi) and glass beads ( kat­dana). Cus­tomer de­mand is huge and in an­swer, the mar­kets are teem­ing with adorn­ments. The whole­saler is a happy man and so is the re­tailer; with both rak­ing in big prof­its. Winter time is es­pe­cially wel­comed as it is the sea­son when em­bel­lished ap­parel is looked at favourably. “This is the mar­riage and party sea­son and our shop is al­ways packed with ladies and bou­tique own­ers search­ing for the fan­ci­est of trim­mings for saris, kur­tis, suits and le­hen­gas,” says S Jain, Lace Cor­ner, AC Mar­ket, Kolkata. “Since the past few years, the busi­ness of em­bel­lish­ment has been on the up­swing and in­ter­est­ingly, the pro­file of cus­tomers has un­der­gone a change. Ear­lier, it was usu­ally home­mak­ers who would come to us for laces, gota, zari, etc. Now, we have women from all walks of life, es­pe­cially young pro­fes­sional women, who like to spend time brows­ing through the va­ri­ety on dis­play. Dis­pos­able in­come is high these days and cus­tomers are ready to pay up to R 500 per me­tre for laces; at times the fab­ric is cheaper than the em­bel­lish­ment used on it. Even be­jew­elled but­tons that cost R 100 or more per piece are hot sell­ers. This sort of pur­chas­ing was un­heard of till a few years back,” she adds.

THE READY TO USE MAGIC!

Places such as Bhopal, Lucknow, Kolkata, Bareilly, Su­rat, Am­rit­sar and

JAZZ­ING UP OUT­FITS HAS BE­COME EAS­IER FOR TOP-END DE­SIGN­ERS AS WELL AS FOR DARZIS, WITH THE AVAIL­ABIL­ITY OF

READY-TO-STITCHON VARI­A­TIONS OF EM­BEL­LISH­MENTS.

Pa­tiala are pop­u­lar cen­tres that dis­play the tra­di­tional style of em­bel­lished em­broi­dery. Kari­gars or craftsper­sons here, turn out reams of beau­ti­fully adorned fab­rics and most of these are strictly on or­der. “Dabka, nakshi and silma are all very time-con­sum­ing works. We have a large num­ber of or­ders but take very long to com­plete it. This is ow­ing to the paucity of skilled hands be­cause of the te­dious­ness of the work cou­pled with poor pay­ment struc­tures. If the govern­ment or hand­i­craft boards help us out, we can do much bet­ter,” says Zeenat at Zari Cen­tre, Bhopal. While tra­di­tional work has no com­par­i­son, to make it eas­ier for the cus­tomer, these adorn­ments are now avail­able as ready-to-stitch-on vari­a­tions. “The ready­made va­ri­eties have rev­o­lu­tionised women’s wear. Now be it a high-end de­signer or a hole-in-the-wall darzi, ev­ery­one is ca­pa­ble of jazz­ing up an out­fit,” says Reema Dua, a bou­tique de­signer from Kolkata. Agree­ing with this fact is Upin­der Singh of Mod­ern Cre­ations, a Chandi­garh-based re­tail out­let, “These are busy times. Ev­ery woman wants to be seen well-dressed and it’s pos­si­ble now. I have been in busi­ness for al­most 30 years but the past few years have been very ex­cit­ing. Ev­ery week, new items hit the mar­kets and the range is mind-bog­gling. The best whole­sale places to source these trim­mings are Delhi, Su­rat and Mum­bai.”

SUB­TLE SHINE

When any fash­ion trend peaks, there is a ten­dency to overdo it and abuse it. “It’s the same with em­bel­lish­ments now, with many a de­signer’s and client’s pref­er­ence tend­ing to be over the top.

This de­ters many from ac­cept­ing a trend, al­though they se­cretly do har­bour the de­sire to be a part of it,” ex­plains Dua. “I have many ladies com­ing to my bou­tique who ap­pre­ci­ate bling but don’t want to be counted amongst those who dress in loud, shiny cloth­ing. I sim­ply as­sure them of em­bel­lish­ing the stars with style,” she smiles. And there are in­deed sev­eral ways of in­cor­po­rat­ing the trend in sub­tle ways. One of the op­tions de­sign­ers of­fer is choos­ing muted metal­lic tones of gold, bronze, cop­per and sil­ver as these lend com­fort­able shine to the out­fits. Team­ing plain ap­parel with glit­ter­ing ac­ces­sories is an­other op­tion. “Crys­tals on your shoes, if used aes­thet­i­cally, look out­stand­ing. It’s some­thing most of us can carry off, pro­vided we don’t overdo it on our out­fits too,” says Mal­lika S, a Ben­galuru-based ac­ces­sories de­signer. Ex­plain­ing the trend for bling, she says, “Tele­vi­sion leads to the de­mand for glit­ter. Al­most ev­ery­one wants to look like their favourite soap opera’s bahu— right from the bindis to the footwear they exhibit. Ac­cord­ing to

EM­BEL­LISHED AC­CES­SORIES MAY SEEM LIKE A NEW TREND BUT JUTTI- MAK­ERS AND SE­QUIN BAG EM­BROI­DER­ERS FROM DIF­FER­ENT PARTS OF THE NA­TION DIS­MISS IT AS AN AGE- OLD PRAC­TICE.

cur­rent re­ports, bling on tele­vi­sion has got­ten sub­dued and this is bound to af­fect the masses too.”

BLING­ING UP AC­CES­SORIES

Apart from dress­ing up en­sem­bles, glit­ter and shine is mak­ing its pres­ence felt in the ac­ces­sories depart­ment as well. So it’s not just your kurta that will flaunt a strip of crys­tals but your evening bag and shoes will also have more than a hint of glint. Though it may seem like a new drift, jutti- mak­ers in Pa­tiala and se­quin bag em­broi­ders in Bhopal dis­miss it as be­ing an age-old prac­tice. “We have al­ways had women ask­ing us to make pouches iden­ti­cal to the em­broi­dery we de­sign on their out­fits,” says Zeenat. “The dif­fer­ence is, ear­lier only high-end clients would be able to af­ford match­ing shoes and bags. How­ever, today’s ready-to-use em­bel­lish­ments have made it eas­ier for just about any­one to or­der ac­ces­sories with a de­sign they have a fas­ci­na­tion for,” she adds. Putting a cap on it all, Dua says, “Let’s ad­mit it, tele­vi­sion or not, we In­di­ans have al­ways loved bling. We just need to learn not to overdo it. The mar­kets will push a lot of stuff; we should pick and choose and not de­cide to load our­selves with ev­ery­thing.” So the mes­sage is loud and clear: let the bling twin­kle in your wardrobe, stylishly and subtly.

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