Moving from needle and thread, fashion connoisseurs are putting pen to paper in a bid to share their experiences and expertise with the younger lot. From Ritu Beri and Ritu Kumar to Wendell Rodricks and Suneet Varma — they have all penned autobiographies.
To mark his 25 years in the glamour business, Varma will release his first coffee-table book in November.
“When I started 25 years ago, the Indian fashion industry was at a nascent stage... Now when you have been in the business for that long, you definitely have something to share about the industry — be it designs or the growth,” Varma said.
He has also depicted the evolution of the fashion industry in his literary work and said that the book is “not necessarily just about me but it encapsulates the experiences and thoughts of 65 other people, including fellow designers, industry experts to NIIFT [National Institute Of Interior and Fashion Technology] graduates”.
Varma joins the league of veteran Kumar, who was perhaps one of the first few to pen a fashion bible. Titled Costumes and Textiles of Royal India, her book released in 1999 highlights the history of art, design and textiles in India.
Ritu Beri also documented her Paris experience, which shaped her career, in Firefly - A Fairytale (2006), while J.J. Valaya catalogued his knowledge in the pictorial Decoded Paradox (2011).
Fashion aesthetics and sensibility are about having the right approach towards clothes, fabric, design elements and the target audience. Author of Moda Goa, designer Rodricks, says writing on fashion is easier said than done.
“I have been writing since 1988. So when I completed my research on the history of Goan costumes, I decided to write a book on the topic and the result was Moda Goa. In my case, I wanted to document a topic that was not researched. Apart from showcasing the history of Goan costumes to the nation and the world, I wrote the book to leave behind a legacy for my own state and people,” he said.
Rodricks also believes in sharing experiences with aspiring designers and his forthcoming book, Green Room, depicts the evolution of the Indian fashion industry in the last 25 years.
“Writing is just an added talent. In my case, apart from Moda Goa, I wrote my own memoir, which will be out at the Lakme Fashion Week [August 7). I had a story to tell about myself and the fashion industry as I saw it evolve since 1988,” he added.
One of the veterans of the fashion fraternity, Pallavi Jaikishan is working on her autobiography, describing it as “a book on my work, my fashion and other work extension”.
“I can’t say about the others, but my book is all about my sensibilities, things that I believe in and what works for me. It will be a kind of lifestyle book and not about culture,” she said.
For publishers, fashion bibles are a profitable business venture.
Ajay Mago, publisher of OM Books International, said: “There is a very vibrant market for fashion and fashion books in India. This is a very healthy trend. One of the finest and earliest books was by Ritu Kumar and it is certainly a book that is still in demand because of its detailed approach to Indian fashion and embroidery.”
Designer Samant Chauhan, who is penning a book on Chanedri fabric, said: “I am not sure if we can earn money out of it; so I am not thinking about any commercial value of the book.”
“All my juniors or new students will refer to my book if they want to know about the crafts of India,” added Chauhan.