Fashion designer Sabaysachi Mukherjee has been comfortable in his skin ever since he took to the drawing board, rescuing our designs and textile traditions and making them contemporary enough for us to strut about in. Today brand Sabaysachi is a most sought after lifestyle benchmark, be it sari, jacket, bedspreads or jewellery. Little wonder then that he is the most equipped to talk about Make in India. As he said, “The most important thing is to address your social and cultural roots because if you want to create a global identity, the first identity that you have to create is nationalism. Make in India can never be successful if Indians don’t understand the importance of being Indian today. If India paid as much attention to its social and cultural roots rather than just religion, it would be a different country. The day India starts organising itself; China will become a distant cousin.”
“Indian traditional handicrafts and handmade textiles represent the country’s unique cultural mosaic and identity to the world. Our rich heritage supported by the right policies could provide economic potential for women and fashion designers at all levels and across all sectors. India has everything it can give to the world,” said Mukherjee.
He was speaking at the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) discussion Make in India: Handmade in India. Explaining the event Vinita Bimbhet, President, FLO said, “Handlooms and handmade textiles are sub-sectors which have achieved its recognition and glory in the internal arena. Harnessing of skills, design intervention and access to credit will play a big role in forging the global luxury industry ahead. This is the only sector that offers the promise and potential to preserve and promote India’s cultural identity. With more active promotion, additional financing and tax breaks for the handloom industry, India could provide the finest hand makers of the world.”
Amitabh Kant CEO, NITI Aayog who was the chief guest, said, “India is an innovative society and this was demonstrated by the fact that over 1,500 international companies had set up global innovation centers in India. It is the youngest start-up nation with most of the founder women and young entrepreneurs below 35 years.” Encouraging women, he said, “Women entrepreneurs hold the key to achieve double-digit growth rate in the country.”
“Worldwide, women contribute to 40 per cent to GDP while in India their contribution is 17 per cent so. If women’s share in India’s GDP rises to 40 per cent, the country would be able to add $700 billion to its GDP by 2025,” he said, and cited references of former US President Bill Clinton who in one of the speeches said, “The best thing that has happened to my life and that will happen to America is Hillary Clinton.”
The key highlight of the interactive session was recognition of women achievers from the Indian fashion industry who have been rallying behind the cause of handmade textiles. The list of awardees had eminent designer Asma Hussain for skilling India and reviving legacy of Awadh, Choti Tekam from Madhya Pradesh for revitalising the Gond form of tribal art and Anavila Misra for innovative designs and popularising the linen saree.