Kanchankuntala Das, Founder, Black In Vogue

Being an NIFT alumni, Kanchankuntala Das has worked in the fashion industry for years. Starting her career as designer in Export house and joining the Bengali film industry as costume designer, it has been an experimental and ecstatic journey for her in the world of fashion and textile industry. Black is a small initiative from her part, to broaden the scope of textile crafts of India and spreading it to the masses. She is in search of finding out the roots of our clothing, fashion as well as style and connecting it to the present time.

 

In India, the word ‘Fashion’ is like an unstoppable and indomitable emotion which drives the energy of our lifestyle. It acts as the essence to interfuse the diversified cultures of our land and simultaneously demarcates the uniqueness of each region. Here, 6 yards of cloth is draped in numerous different ways by women coming from diverse regional cultures and still it’s identified as ‘saree’ by an instant glance. No one can deny fashion even in the pandemic situation as we paradoxically flaunt a facemask as ‘a thing of beauty’, choosing the right color with the right kind of embroidery work or prints to match our outfits. We are truly brilliant in turning anything grim into heartening and even sometimes festive.

Choosing fashion as a career even in this Pandemic situation will add a different experience to the fresh creative minds as we can identify a sudden change in the scenario of the industry. Fashion enthusiasts who are interested in pursuing Fashion design as a career can have a joy ride in this transition time when fashion products are getting more visual than tangible. They will experience a scalability of their design ideas and communicate their creative ability more to mass through the online platforms.

The definition of fashion has changed overtime and due to the pandemic, the necessity of growth oriented production has resulted in the introduction of new scopes in the fashion industry.

1. Digital Fashion Stores: The physical fashion outlets which faced hardship due to Covid 19, are ready to retaliate with a strong fight and here comes the role of our digital fashion stores. Fashion Brands have started promoting their products through online media and people are ready to buy the fashion essentials like clothes and accessories online. We all have noticed a boom of homegrown brands, making a wide range of items available to the mass through social media. During the crisis period, when the Covid 19 hit hard, there was a rapid drop of purchase intention through offline sales by 80 to 90% while there was just a drop of 30 to 40% for online purchases.

2. Fashion influencers and celebrities: During the lockdown, the Brands started concentrating more on promoting their merchandise by collaborating with the fashion influencers and celebrities for boosting the sales. People had ample time to browse through social media and add items into their bucket lists even for non-essential purposes. Fashionable clothes and accessories need no occasion to get added to a high priority list. So, if it’s about choosing fashion as a career in the pandemic situation, it’s like plucking the day and grabbing the chance at the right moment.

3. Focus on health and fitness: The pandemic introduced us with work from home lifestyle, at home workouts and meditation which increased the demand of athleisure clothing and activewear. Heuritech’s Instagram analysis says, 1 out of every 4 covid-19 posts is related to a healthy lifestyle. As a result, the active wear brands experienced a boom in consumer demand for leggings, cycling shorts, track pants, sweatshirts and yoga outfits. As activewear plays a vital part and acts as a driving force in the fashion industry, we can get a clear scenario of accelerated demand of athleisure clothing in the ongoing market moves. Fashion students can strengthen their portfolio on active wear and explore their ideas making samples. Prototypes can be presented to the companies dealing with the athleisure clothing. They can help the industry with the new ideas, technical knowhow, hands on expertise on textiles and patterns. They can find out the flaws and incorporate their plans to make things better. Instagram is flooded with videos of fitness influencers and celebrities, working out wearing popular and emerging activewear brands. They influence the audience to focus more on athletic activity and it appears to be the hottest fashion trend at present.

4. Multi channel opportunity: Choosing fashion as a career is like a multi-channel opportunity as you can explore your skill not only in design and product development, but also in the newly introduced opportunities in the pandemic situation as fashion collaborator, influencers, sustainable design thinker, fashion communicator in brands, fashion bloggers and vloggers. This pandemic has compelled us to focus more on sustainability, boosting employment of rural artisans and scaling traditional handcrafts to enhance the growth of domestic products. The industry needs thinkers and designers who will find solutions to the issues pertaining to the crisis. So the adaptability of the upcoming designers and fashion enthusiasts will determine the future of the industry, in the post covid situation.

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