With its rich cultural diversity and varied ethnicities, India has come to be recognized as the land of color and vibrancy in the global fashion arena. From the soft Pashmina shawls in Kashmir to the traditional Kanjeevaram saree in Tamil Nadu, each region boasts of the rich variety of textile, fabric and handloom that it harnesses.
One amongst these regions is Karnataka. According to the Department of Handlooms & Textiles headed by the government of Karnataka, the state is India’s largest producer of Mulbary Silk (over 65%). It also generates over 20 lakh bales of cotton annually. Identifying the potential that the state garners, Prasad Bidapa incepted and executed the unique concept of the Karnataka Fashion Week in 2013.
The team aimed at providing a platform to exhibit the rich variety of textiles and handlooms incubated within the state. Along with promoting the existing fabrics the fashion week also attempted at reviving endangered fabrics like Khadi. Having been a popular and effective weapon in India’s struggle for freedom, the fabric is now fading in the light of day. Prasad envisioned to place and promote the fabric as a symbol of luxury and sophistication by blending it with modern designs and style. The Karnataka Fashion Week provided the industry a fusion of style with textile on the runway to refresh its taste buds.
The first of the three-day event was dedicated to the Khadi and Handloom industry. The second day brought forth bridal designs from different regions of the state. The third day witnessed an extensive display of exceptional designs by several pert-a-porter brands. Over thirty- three designers and brands from all over India and countries abroad actively participated in the Karnataka Fashion Week.
This is a very interesting idea. We have been using linen for decades now. In my opinion as a designer linen is just a modernized version of Khadi. Now if we actually play with Khadi as a fabric, it will give the outfits a very raw and royal appeal. The Karnataka Fashion Week has provided designers an opportunity and inspiration to expand their horizon and experiment - Anuradha Kulkarni, Fashion Designer, Bangalore
The Karnataka Fashion Week was initially called as the Prasad Bidapa Fashion Week. Having taken a sabbatical for a few years, the team is now working towards a re-launch. The upcoming edition of the Karnataka Fashion Week will place its focus on the variety of silks nurtured in the state. Karnataka Fashion Week is a pioneer in the arena of promoting the rich diversity and creativity harbored in the state. It has inspired and will continue to inspire designers and brands to put forth exquisite designs while finding a balance between what is intrinsic to their region of inspiration and the trends of the industry.
This included eminent designers like Raj Shroff, Anjali Sharma, Ritu Pande, Pallavi Foley and Abrar Ali. Along with this the Karnataka Fashion week specially invited Bibi Russell from Bangaladesh, Sonali Dharmawardena from Sri Lanka and Rizwan Beyg from Pakistan to showcase their collections. Bibi Russells stole the show with her Kota Doria collection. Having been inspired by her visit to Rajasthan and interactions with the weavers, the designs had tie dye prints and were paired with traditional Rajasthani accessories.
Along with established designers, the fashion week provided a platform for budding design students from distinguished fashion schools to exhibit their talent. The students were provided with an opportunity to design an outfit for the Khadi Kouture contest. The shortlisted outfits were then showcased on the ramp.