A decade back, we wanted to shed everything Indian and adopt contemporary styles. And why not? Mosy of India has been living in a colonial hangover, quite uncomfortable with the idea of Indianness. Quality and luxury used to be the purview of imports. As children we waited for our their relatives’ returning from abroad to get chocolates, perfumes, or imported clothes for us. Times have drastically changed. As per a survey, today, 60% of Indians are willing to pay extra for products that are made in India.
Global exposure has exposed designers to the relentless appreciation of indegineous art & craft. Many have returned to start prolific designs studios based on Indian heritage. Some of the names are Raseel Gujral, Goodearth, and even some very young designers like Parth Parikh of Design Clinic are going international with their Indian collection. Recently, I spoted one of his designs at the Dubai Design Show.
Recently during the annual lecture in Royal Academy, the 90 year old doyen of Indian architecture, Prof. B V Doshi expressed anguish on the fact that country's architects are too concerned with mimicking the aesthetics and practices of other countries, rather than learning from the legacy of their predecessors. He said, "This is the reason, why so many faceless skyscrapers are being built in India. India is at risk of losing its architectural identity, because the country's design schools aren't teaching students to respect local heritage and traditions. It is because of the desire to become like somebody else. Education is at the base of all these mistakes; we are not making students conscious of the value of things."
People are becoming more and more proud of being Indian which reflects in their choices and the products they buy and the dresses they wear. Look at the advertisements of Manyavar endorsed by ace cricketer Virat Kohli. Aren't they such a contrast from what we have seen and grown up with, like the ads of Vimal, Raymond etc? Things are changing and as designers and architects of the country, it is time that you change too and embrace heritage. While one can have any style of designing, holding on to the heritage is important to hold on to our identities. The alleniation from our own heritage is quite deeply ingrained in many of us. If nothing still inspires you to get back to the roots, I would not give up but end with this final sentence, "CUSTOMERS ARE GOING BACK TO HERITAGE. DESIGNERS, IT'S TIME, YOU SHOULD TOO."
This is excerpt from the article “10 TAKE AWAYS from 2017 to 2018” by Vertica Dvivedi, first published in SURFACES REPORTER MAGAZINE January 2018 edition. You can buy the copy from www.amazon.in from 1st January onward. Discounted Subscription can be done at www.surfacesreporter.com