Big miss for India's designers?

Jan 21, 2013, 10:52 IST | Ruchika Kher

Globally, the term � Celebrate Your Curves, seems to be trending big with special fashion weeks for full-figured women in New York and London, while Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren have launched entire collections for big women. However, barring a few, Indian designers appear to have given this trend a skip. Ruchika Kher throws open the debate within our country's fashion fraternity

By the time you’re reading this, those connected with the British Plus-Size Fashion Weekend to be held in London on February 15-16, will be abuzz with activity as the fashion worlds’ lens will be trained on the ramp. Back home, however, there’s not much to cheer about, on and off the ramp, for these women.

A model showcases a design for a plus-size woman at the Rosemount Sydney Fashion Festival in Sydney, Australia. Pic/Getty Images

Ace designer Wendell Rodricks prefers calling them voluptuous goddesses and has been designing for full-figured women for two decades now. But Rodricks is part of a very small clan that believes in giving more variety to women who might not necessarily have an hourglass figure. “Indian women, after having children are not like Europeans. They are curvy mother goddesses. And, we like them like that. As I always say ‘Only dogs like bones’. We sell many clothes to these ladies,” adds Rodricks.

XXL matters
There is a growing number of designers who feel that the plus-size retail segment, which is a niche market in India, should be more coordinated and organised, with greater emphasis on a wider range of designs with a blend of comfort, elegance and style. However, few seem to have taken concrete steps to implement these ideas.

“Most women are not model-sized. Bigger women choose to hide under sarees and tailor-made kurtas; it’s a pity that they are not being offered any variety,” admits veteran designer Krishna Mehta, who is planning to now shift from designing clothes in small size to XXL soon.

Fashion stylist Pernia Qureshi who has wound her magic wand for many a Bollywood actress, believes that as far as Indian wear for women goes, designers have kept in mind all body types but Indian designers have tremendous latent scope to venture into Western wear for plus-sizes.

“It’s a relatively newer trend for Indian designers to take to Western wear. It’s probably the reason why they are merely tipping their toes in this segment. People in India, today, are dressing better, and are aware of the latest global trends. Body shape and size shouldn’t hold them back from being chic and experimenting with fashion. Since India is a huge market, designers would definitely benefit from such a proposition,”
she says.

Plus appeal
Designer Rocky S strongly agrees to that stance and feels that designers are gradually getting into the plussize market considering the ratio, since half the women in India are size 12 or larger.

He says, “Indian designers are not shying away, its just that in the Indian fashion market the plus-size clothing has only begun to make its way and slowly we would be definitely having the full figured fashion weeks happening in our country as well.”

Some have already started taking baby steps in that direction. Apart from Wendell Rodricks and Kallol Datta, designers like Atsu, Hemant & Nandita and Savio Jon have explored the segment and are determined to bring about the change. Even emerging designers are focused on creating a niche in the outsize category as it is referred to in many countries.

One such name is Aniket Satam, who has created 15 styles for fuller people in his recent sportswear collection. “Its important to change our perception of beauty. Once we do that, we will start appreciating every body type and design for that segment. I hope it happens soon. I have taken a step in that direction,” he assures us.


What’s hot / what’s not
Colours: It’s important to know your body type. Certain colours look better on some people than other regardless of their size. Black is always a savior.
Cuts: Opt for cleaner cuts and balance out your weak points by highlighting your strong ones. If you have heavier hips, wear bright tops with prints, embellishments and the works, with subtler pants.
Avoid: Bold horizontal stripes are a big no-no for plus-sized people.
- Courtesy: Pernia Qureshi
Plus-sized shopping
If you can’t find designer wear that fits the bill, try options at these stores that stock clothes and accessories for full-bodied people
Largely Yours
At Atria Mall (Worli), Link Square (Bandra) and Heera Panna (Haji Ali).
The Revolution
At Shop No 77, High Life Mall, Sir P M Road, Santacruz (W).
At Shop No S-26, Korum Mall, Samtha Nagar, Thane (W).

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