Fashion designer Ruchika Sachdeva closed the phygital FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week as she launched her collection 'Ready. Set. Play.', with Bollywood actress Ananya Panday as the showstopper.Ananya, who is also the brand ambassador of Lakme, was seen sporting a vibrant pleated skirt with geometric prints and the full sleeved crop top.Sachdeva reveals that the collection came to life during the pandemic at a time when we were all looking for ways to find some cheer amid the gloom.IANSlife spoke to the 2018 Woolmark Prize winner to know more about the collection, its inspiration. She also comments on how the pandemic has influenced her creations, and how it has changed the perspective towards fashion as a whole. Excerpts:
Q: Tell us about the collection and its inspiration.
A: The collection is called 'Ready. Set. Play.' and it's inspired by Lakme's beauty theme #MiniPlayMegaSlay and the games and the small things we find joy in. As a brand we were faced with so many hurdles and challenges, but I also found a lot of excitement and happiness along the way in the creation of this collection. It came to life during the pandemic at a time when we were all looking for ways to find some cheer amid the gloom.In tough moments like these, it becomes important to look back and discover what made the journey thus far so unique and special. This collection is, in a way, about the delight of building Bodice from the ground up, piece by piece -- adding two, three, five more blocks for every one block that fell out. We've experimented quite a bit in this collection, introducing more colours than we usually do and also playing with the silhouettes. Of course the Bodice signature of lines and a structural approach to our silhouettes is very much present.
Q: What influences of the pandemic can we see on the collection?
A: What we create will inevitably be impacted by what we're going through inwardly. While creating this collection in isolation in the Bodice studio, I realised I was working much more freely and minus the stress and anxiety of making a collection. I rediscovered the joy in the process which allowed me to experiment with the colours and the silhouettes.
Q: How has the pandemic changed the perspective towards your craft?
A: I don't think it has, except, like I said, it has taught me that we don't always need to take everything so seriously but at the same time, it is also important to take nothing for granted. The process is where the joy lies, and that's what this collection is about.
Q: What changes has it brought in the way fashion is perceived?
A: People are taking more notice of what is right and wrong, they are asking more and more questions before buying anything, and realising the importance of pieces that last a lifetime over fast fashion pieces. I think there is a general mindfulness and a state of hyper awareness regarding what is being sold.
Q: How do you see the industry shaping in a post pandemic era?
A: We're still very much in the pandemic and the industry is still finding its way to function around it. Finding novel ways like the Phygital edition of the FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week is just one example of how people are getting innovative in finding solutions after a year of a lot of frustration and disappointment. Hopefully fashion will become more and more local and the conversations around sustainability will only amplify going forward.
Q: How do you think the Indian fashion industry is placed on a global platform, amid the pandemic?
A: People are definitely taking notice, which they already were even before the pandemic. Covid surely accelerated that but I think Indian fashion was already getting attention and appreciation for our innate wisdom in ancient crafts, the wonderful textiles we have in our backyard, and the sheer skill of the artisans. I think that is something we at Bodice have always strived for -- to bring this craftsmanship to the world to take note of -- and it is wonderful to see it happening at such a great magnitude.
Q: What changes do you think the industry has to undergo in order to minimise the carbon footprint and become more sustainable?
A: I think some of the things that will help us keep our footprint in check are holistic sustainability measures that are treated as every small and big business' responsibility, working closely with local artisans, tailors, weavers, etc., investment pieces that are made to order and last long, a bottom-up approach to ethical decisions starting from the initial stages of production to packaging and shipping.
Q: How is your brand working towards sustainability?
A: Doing things sustainably was never a conscious decision for me. I simply wouldn't have done it otherwise. With Bodice, I have always treated it as a responsibility and not something we do over and above everything else. Ethical decisions and accountability are good values to have. It isn't an added conversation, it is just the foundation of every conversation at Bodice. And I think it is the responsibility of every designer at this day and age; in fact it should be a prerequisite to designing clothes, I feel. We question every norm and try and rethink it with the help of extensive research and knowledge.