'My life has come full circle'
Ritu Beri remains one of the few designers, who managed to create a mark for herself, internationally. Recently, when Beri was in the city for her Mumbai Fashion Week show, the designer opened up to Ruchika Kher about her thoughts on Indian fashion and her Parisian sojourn
Recently, you presented a collection in the city, were you happy with the show? What took you so long to return to Mumbai?
Yes, I was very happy with my show. My collection looked exactly how I wanted it to. It redefined contemporary design with a collection inspired from the quintessential fashion icon — Marilyn Monroe. It was a heady mix of style and sophistication. My schedule has kept me busy and I have been travelling a lot, hence I have not shown a line for quite some time in the city.
You have a strong presence, internationally too; why have only a handful of Indian designers made it big on the global scene?
History shows us that designers worldwide have been inspired by India. From YSL to Lacroix and Gautier, designers have done a lot of work inspired by our culture and heritage. It’s natural that India and its designers will be noticed and celebrated. The biggest challenge for any designer is to reach the proposed client, one should believe in what they do and follow their dreams. Indian designers are at a nascent stage as far as the international market is concerned. Our designers are constantly showcasing their collections in various fashion capitals of the world but for a designer to be taken seriously in the international market he/she should be consistent and prove himself each time and be around each season. You often showcase in Paris and spend a lot of time there. Please share with us your experiences. Paris is where fashion thrives and the city is my inspiration. I work here and it helps me breathe new ideas and concepts into my work. Even if I give up the fashion industry, Paris will always remain a constant in life.
What do Indian designers need to learn from their international counterparts?
My vision for the future of the domestic fashion industry is for Indian designers to develop corporate fashion houses along the lines of their western counterparts. This would involve our designers establishing strong brand identities by utilising niche aspects of Indian culture. A case in point is that of several Japanese designers who have established international brand names while preserving the spirit of Japanese influence in their designs. This has enabled them to carve a niche for themselves.
There is a big divide between Delhi and Mumbai Fashion Weeks. Should we have a common event?
Fashion is a new movement in India and today it is about reaching out to as many people as possible. I do think there is too much happening. I don’t believe in city-wise Fashion Weeks but with time, the best will stay whilst all the rest will be over and up. Having said that it’s about fashion and education today. The Indian fashion scene is seeing interesting times, times when the economy is opening up and we are making a mark in the international scenario. There is lots to do and fun things that will happen.
What’s next in store?
Today, I have come a full circle; I know what I should do and what not to do. Over the past 20 years, I have chased my dreams and have been lucky to experience the world of fashion. Today I enjoy doing challenging projects that are worth my time away from my daughter Gia. I am negotiating with international brands and hopefully interesting stuff will happen soon. I dream of writing inspirational books. I contribute to The Blessed Heart Foundation that works for less fortunate children and raises funds for Auction for Autism.