-by Varsha Sampath (Msc, IInd Sem, JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore)
Fashion has been home to me for quite a few years now and only until recently did I get an opportunity to see another face of this wonder of a world. It was the season of the fashion week, the Bangalore Fashion Week and thanks to JD I got the fabulous chance of working backstage in close proximity to the clothes, the models, the designers and the chaos.
Day 1 of our schedule and we got to meet the models for fittings. All tall and beautiful with designer handbags gliding through their wrists and heels that touched that sky. It was a mix of Indians and models from abroad, one thing in common, they were all gorgeous. So we walked around them tip toeing so that we weren’t a hindrance in their lovely and flawless world.
But it was work time and we had to hurry, there were 16 designers lined up for fittings. So we hesitated and stuttered, a little scared cause models are supposed to throw around attitude, supposed to think of themselves as superior, more good looking beings, were heard of treating the normal kind( especially the student kind like us) in an inferior way. But to our sudden surprises, we were addressed with Darlings and sweethearts and not the pretentious kind, the genuine kind. We all knew we had to hang out together for the next 4 days, so we breathed a sigh of huge relief that yes, they are human and capable of nice behavior not just the tantrum that we heard so much about.
The fashion week began and we realized the seriousness of the stress backstage, the chaos, the shouting, the lining up and the fixing of zippers and buttons. The models responded coolly and calmly to every situation or more like a crisis that was happening in front of our eyes.
Why is there a stigma associated with the women in fashion, especially the models? Just because they are pretty and are blessed with awesome skin and a perfect body, does not mean they are up for anything. They are treated as hangers, but are much more than that. They are souls of a fashion show, a wrong foot forward, or a miss of a second on the ramp could cost them their careers. Even in so much pressure, how do they pull of looking marvelously confident. It’s usually the attitude of the model that makes a mark on the ramp. But people remember the designer, not really the models here.
The 4 days at the fashion week were an experience in itself. Not only was it an educating one but also a life lesson. It’s easy to judge people on how they look or what kind of clothes they wear and well, that judgment could be altered with a change in just that, the outer appearance. Where fashion is all about the outer beauty and the attitude that you carry, it’s also about the person you are and you want to be. The models decided to be humans, and at that too really peachy ones.
When they were always spiffed up in their clothes and shoes with shiny hair and lipsticks in place and the air smelling of them when they passed by, I was backstage in a pair of jeans and a cardigan, with hair tied up in a bun and hair clips to keep my fringes from falling on my face, they never chose to judge. They could easily pass by with a snide look and giggle or does something that would make us feel small, but instead they would smile and talk, in fact chit chat with us. This was the power of being beautiful. And proximity to this kind of beauty makes you feel beautiful too.
The industry is impenetrable but once you are a part of it, it isn’t like you would be here forever. You work hard, make a niche and shine through fortitude. Even when they are stripping down to their bras, their morals stand clear. They are unequivocally mysterious, like every woman should be. After all they are glamorous working woman, hard working women.