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To me, luxury means Indian textiles: Prasad Bidapa

Fashion guru Prasad Bidapa, who has been training designers and models for over two decades, is now ready with a new challenge — to identify and groom an upcoming designer in an online reality show. Excerpts from an email interview

Q. Why did you decide to judge an online reality fashion show?
A. Any endeavour that aims to encourage the youth will always have my support. This particular show is aimed at identifying talented young designers across India, and to fast-track them into becoming young professionals.

PRASAD BIDAPA

Q. What are the qualities that you will look for in the contestants?
A. I am looking for youngsters who understand the importance of textile development. If you are the kind of designer who buys fabric from Chinese fabric importers and shops from high street, you are more of a tailor than a designer. With this show, we are looking for a bright, young mind who is committed to excellence and open to learning.

Q. You’ve been attached to the fashion world for over two decades. How satisfied are you when you look back?
A. I’m never satisfied with what I do. Every new project is a challenge, and I give my best each time. There are always new horizons and you can never afford to be complacent.

Q. How do you think the industry has changed in all these years?
A. The Indian fashion industry is on a roll. We have 1.2 billion people to dress across categories, which is great.

Q. It is often heard in fashion circles that models like Madhu Sapre and Lakshmi Menon aren’t around anymore. Do you agree?
A. While Madhu and Lakshmi are iconic beauties who carved a niche, the younger generation is just as beautiful and focussed. Plus, they now live in a world where work and payments have improved and global opportunities are opening up as well.

Q. Who is your favourite Indian designer and why?
A. I love the work of Abraham & Thakore who celebrate the beauty of Indian textiles in everything they do. You won’t find polyester and nylon in their collections.

Q. Your love for ethnic wear is well-known. While many have shifted loyalties to Western wear, what continues to fascinate you?
A. If we cannot appreciate the beauty of our handloom and handwoven textiles, we are at a loss. This is true luxury — limited collections of exquisite handcrafted products that can never be replicated. To me, luxury is not a designer bag that is manufactured in thousands, but India’s textiles that are crafted with seamless history interwoven into every piece. That is unique, beautiful and the true representation of luxury.

Last date to register: July 24
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