The Usha Silai project show was a grand innovative fashion concept that brought to center stage the work of four top designers with the Usha Silai Clusters in different parts of India at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2018.
Usha International, India’s leading manufacturer of sewing machines, fans and home appliances, launched a curtain raiser of a sustainable fashion label “Usha Silai” in collaboration with IMG Reliance, through this powerful fashion forward initiative #ReimagineFashion. The initiative aims to empower women in rural areas with skills and resources to create clothes and accessories that can be retailed in the urban fashion market.
‘Label Usha Silai’ created a platform that showcased the work of these local women from Usha Silai Schools in four identified creative hubs in Rajasthan, Bengal, Gujarat and Puducherry. The brand worked in several dimensions producing unique pieces that have the essence of the region. The collections will bear the credits of the rural women workers.
Dr. Priya Somaiya, Executive Director, Usha Social Services said, “We are delighted with the debut of label Usha Silai. The brand has created a platform that has the power to impact and change the lives of many. Making use of local stitching skills and modern techniques, we will create an umbrella that caters to sustainable fashion in a modern language. This is an initiative that commences at the very foundation and attempts to reach a wider audience through various mediums including the Internet. I hope it will strengthen and grow over time.”
Jaspreet Chandok, Head of Fashion, IMG Reliance said, “#ReimagineFashion is a powerful narrative of empowerment and inclusivity in fashion. It establishes the principle that for Indian fashion to be forward, it needs to think local and leverage human potential at the grass root level for the development of a sustainable livelihood. We are honored to partner with Usha International for this initiative and launch Usha Silai at Lakmé Fashion Week.”
SOHAM DAVE FOR THE DHOLKA CLUSTER GUJARAT
The creativity of designer Soham Dave was challenged to work with the Dholka Cluster in Gujarat and the result was a collection called “The Black Machine” inspired by the Black Usha Machine. The focus of the garments was created with surfaces and interesting textures on the black lockstitch machine. Staying true to a basic color story of only black and white with minute detailing, the sustainable designs and fabrics were ideal to be used for the black paddled machine.
Sack dresses, batwing-sleeved mini, bell-sleeved dresses, tunic with a flared skirt and asymmetric top with cigarette pants were a great offering in the negative/positive theme. The final kurta with a flared midi skirt was just right for the summer festive times with fun on the agenda.
AMIT VIJAYA AND RICHARD PANDAV FOR THE KALADHERA CLUSTER RAJASTHAN
The collection called “Rani’sthan” was an ode to every woman who is a queen in her own right. Hence the Poshak worn by queens inspired the clothes but it was a modern deconstructed look at separates visualized by Amit Vijaya and Richard Pandav. While the shapes were traditional, the shirts, tunics, kurtas, blousons and tops were referenced from the Kanjri, skirts and dresses that evolved from the lehengas, scarves etc.
There were interesting color contrasts that flowed effortlessly for the garments to give a perfect balance of fluidity, rigidity and rawness. Staying true to the royal red and then black, there were cold-shoulder tops, an asymmetric dress, a red tunic teamed with a yellow lehenga and a red dress with a black cover. The quartet of a black dress, red pant, scarf, bolero and the final angarkha styled with a lehenga was an interesting look at modern ethnic wear.
SAYANTAN SARKAR FOR 24 SOUTH PARGANAS MASTIKARI CLUSTER, WEST BENGAL
The collection created by Sayantan Sarkar for the 24 South Parganas, Mastikari Cluster, West Bengal was quaintly called ‘The Girl From The Pages Of The Diary”. Wandering through the Usha Silai School, Sayantan’s inspirations were fuelled by the visuals and encouraged him to use Khadi and linen blends along with batik prints that revealed the lush green foliage of the village.
The clothes were a stylish mélange of fabrics and designs that had a great mix of urban and rustic charm. The batik appeared in shades of blue or green for blouses, layered dress, long capes, wrap-around pants, smocked creation and hoodie jacket. The shirtdress with a circular hemline, a dhoti style pant, poncho-style blouse with draped trouser and the cape-blouse worn with a kurta and pant were perfect Indo-west options.
SREEJITH JEEVAN FOR PUDUCHERRY CLUSTER
Stylishly called “Window to the World” the collection by Sreejith Jeevan for the Puducherry Cluster was a creative study in layers. Bringing in box pleats and pintucks to metaphor the window panes, Sreejith added fabric patches and quirky detailing to reveal his inspiration of windows, glass panels, which were seen in every window of the old French colony.
Opening with a black/white sari/blouse with 3D appliqués, the show moved to a lungi matched with a top, and a mustard sheath topped with white bolero. Here was fashion at its most interesting best with intense detailing being in the forefront.
The stunning looks created by Lakmé makeup expert Daniel Bauer were nothing short of being cutting edge. While keeping the base softly blended using the Lakmé Absolute Skin Natural Hydrating Mousse the highlights of the look were the highly graphical, horizontal, full contour line and graphic lips in interesting colours.
Ogaan will be an exclusive retail partner for Usha Silai, that made its debut at Lakmé Fashion Week on 1st February 2018- Sustainable Fashion Day. The collections created by the designers who have collaborated with Usha Silai women in the four rural clusters will be launched at Ogaan in April 2018 at its Hauz Khas flagship store in New Delhi.
About Usha Silai School:
Started in 2011, Usha International in partnership with 54 NGO partners is today running over 15,000 Usha Silai Schools in all the 29 States and 7 Union Territories of India. Usha International aims to work with women in the villages and believes that helping women develop their inherent latent potentialities would bring about a holistic development for the society at large. Usha International has trained (in stitching, tailoring and repairing of machines) village women entrepreneurs, provided them a sewing machine, a syllabus in local languages and a Silai School signage and encouraged them to teach other community women the art of stitching and sewing. More than 2,84,000 learners have completed their course from Silai Schools and nearly 14, 000 learners continue to get sewing skills training every day from these schools. The schools are making a marked difference in the lives of the women. The women, on an average, have started earning Rs.1800/- per month, with the highest earning going up to Rs. 45,000/- per month. This earning is working as a catalyst in building the self-confidence of women and raising her status within and outside the family. This financial income and increased self-worth are facilitating in the creation of empowered change agents in the villages of India.