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A Dream Turns Into A Reality: The Silai Label Launch At The Lakme Fashion Week

A Dream Turns Into A Reality: The Silai Label Launch At The Lakme Fashion Week
Delhi: This journey of the Usha Silai School women is not just about embracing what is fashionable, theirs is a story of rise from the grassroot level to the big stage of the fashion world. A project designed to challenge and encourage these women from villages to achieve what they never thought is possible and create new opportunities for them to dream bigger. After all for most of these women even coming to a city like Mumbai, is nothing but a distant dream. Right from the moment they boarded the plane, a first for all of them, everything about this journey has been a life changing experience.

I couldn't sleep the night before we had to travel to Mumbai, said Sunita from the Jaipur zone of the Silai School. At first, I felt dizzy and scared of sitting in the plane but once we took off we, honestly, didn't even realise how fast we reached our destination.

Iradyu Mary from Puducherry also has a similar experience to share.

I have never sat in a plane before. It's an experience I never thought I would have but thanks to Usha (Silai School) I am in Mumbai now, she said. On top of that, I can't believe that we are going for the Lakme Fashion Show, which is something out of the ordinary for us.

That truth will take a while to settle in, these women were going to showcase their creations on the most glamourous runway of the country.

I am in awe of the opportunity I have received. Today, I am in Mumbai and I feel if I have made it till here then perhaps I am capable of achieving more too, said Santosh another participant from Jaipur.

Hardly any of the participants could contain their excitement, they had come this far and were rearing to go all out to show their work to the world. "Coming till Mumbai was great but now I am going to the show to see the clothes I have designed and that makes me happier than anything," said Raziya Ben selected from the Ahmedabad zone of the Silai school.

If the women from Silai school were having the time of their lives, so were their mentors - the designers who worked with these women through the entire project.

I think I have learned to be more optimistic, said Soham Dave, who mentored the Ahmedabad cluster of designers. Hats off to the enthusiasm of these designers without which we wouldn't have reached here.

Sayantan Sarkar, mentor assigned to Kolkata's cluster, too, felt proud of his team of women. "This project has become very close to our heart," he said. "I was excited working with everyone in my cluster and now we bond very strongly with each other."

As day two of the Lakme Fashion Week arrived, the women made their way to the Jio Garden in Mumbai. Eyes sparkling with enthusiasm and curiosity about all things new and nervousness about how the audience would react to their creations. The women assisted their models in getting ready for the show and then that moment arrived, when their creation made its way out on the ramp of one of the most prestigious fashion events in the country. They waited with bated breath when they would be required to walk on the ramp and face the audience, the culmination of all their efforts.

It was humbling experience. So much of efforts and details have gone into every outfit that it's truly amazing to see them, said a model and attendee who was keen to buy the outfits once they are ready to go on sale.

Then it was time, on cue the women from rural India walked out with their designer mentors on to the ramp and could hardly believe what they saw. The audience rose up to give them a rousing standing ovation, the moment was overwhelming for both the mentors and their team of Silai school women, who in response to the applause just bowed in gratitude.

I thought the collection is beautiful. More than the clothes, I loved the smiles on faces of the artisans as they walked the runway with the designers together. It is a matter of great pride for the Lakme Fashion Week - designers sharing the stage with artisans making the clothes for them and with them, said Parmesh Sahani, Head, Godrej Culture Lab who attended the show.

According to Jaspreet Chandok, Vice-President and Head (Fashion) IMG Reliance, organisers of the Fashion week, projects like Usha's new Silai label are vital for the survival of the textile industry. "The textile sector is the second largest employer of people across the country after agriculture, and a significant part of the employment actually rests in the rural sector right now. Unless you do activities where we have conversation at the top of the pyramid, it would really never percolate down to the larger section" he says.

Mr Sahani of Godrej Culture Lab further adds that there is a need for more such collaboration to increase awareness and respect for India's craft and craftsmen.

The design sensibility is what we pick from our rich textiles and these designs are very global he said. It's not very limited and caters to a larger audience.

For the team of Silai label it was a defining moment of their lives, one that has the potential to change the course of their future. As summed up by Sreejith Jeevan, designer and mentor for the Puducherry cluster,

It was amazing to be walking on the ramp with the people who made the clothes, the feeling is truly different, said Sreejith Jeevan post the fashion show. I would say this is the beginning because this is where the work actually starts, this is the beginning of a long journey.


Also Read:Silai School Women From Jaipur And Ahmedabad Prepare For The Lakme Fashion Fashion Week

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Adopt a Silai School

Adopt a Silai School

Do you want to be a part of the huge change that Usha Silai School is bringing about in the lives of millions of rural women? With just a simple click of a button, you can now contribute towards the opening of an Usha Silai School or support various other aspects of the school.

About the Initiative

About the Initiative

Kushalta Ke Kadam, an initiative by NDTV and USHA, aims at empowering women from rural India and encourages them to become entrepreneurs by taking up sewing and training others in their respective communities. Since 2011 Usha Silai Campaign has trained more than 3.95 lakh rural women within five years, with 17,000 Silai schools, spanning over 9272 Indian villages in India.

 

Kushalta Ke Kadam in Season 4 has returned with new goals and vision. The new season will witness the establishment of the new cluster in Kashmir, apart from the existing four clusters setup last year. The women from volatile Kashmir will work with well-known fashion designer Rohit Bal and get an unique opportunity to learn from him and make clothes for him. The work done by the Silai School women will be presented at Lakme Fashion week 2019.

 

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In Pics

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching
Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Rebari girls grow up learning traditional embroidery, which along with their new found sewing skills developed at Usha Silai Schools, is helping them earn a living.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School has empowered many rural women to support their family and send their children to school.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

The Usha Silai School, established in a small nondescript village that goes by the name of Kottai, is helping empower people from varied communities.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

The all-inclusive Usha Silai School Programme covers the entire nation from hamlets tucked between hills to villages cast by the sea.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Vegetables farmers from the Mizoram hills earn very little given the topography of the area. Usha Silai Schools have played an important part in this region by skilling women to financially contribute towards their households.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School learner Lucy has trained seven other women in her community, helping them to become financially independent.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Women like Kaviben from the nomadic Rebari community are finally laying down their roots as they begin to gain financial independence and thereby stability through Usha Silai School.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School, located in the Gujarat's Bhuj village, is enabling rural women to earn as much as Rs. 2,500-4,000 each month.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Usha Silai School, in association with a Gujarat based NGO called Kala Raksha, is trying to bring about a Silai revolution in Bhuj.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

Besides training other women from their community, many Usha Silai School learners have become entrepreneurs in their own right.

Kushalta ke Kadam: Aiming for Independence Through Stitching

With sewing becoming easily accessible and lucrative, the silai schools are also helping revive traditional motifs and designs.

Fashion Designers This Season

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  • Rohit Bal

    Rohit Bal

  • Sayantan Sarkar

    Sayantan Sarkar

  • Shaila Khubchandani

    Shaila Khubchandani

  • Sreejith Jeevan

    Sreejith Jeevan

  • Swati Vijaivargie

    Swati Vijaivargie

Fashion Designers This Season

More
  • Rohit Bal

    Rohit Bal

  • Sayantan Sarkar

    Sayantan Sarkar

  • Shaila Khubchandani

    Shaila Khubchandani

  • Sreejith Jeevan

    Sreejith Jeevan

  • Swati Vijaivargie

    Swati Vijaivargie