Friday, December 4, 2020

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Sustain weavers and workers from India to embrace sustainability in true form: Reynu Taandon

Sustainable, ethical, conscious, mindfulness, these maybe just a few words as ornate rhetoric for many fashion designers today but for Designer Reynu Taandon it’s a way of life as she has embraced the concept since the inception of her fashion label ‘Mynah’, and since then she has never strayed away from incorporating the practice and values. 

Unlike many designers who are getting hyperbolic in their branding gimmick as far as sustainability in fashion is concerned Reynu has embraced the concept of sustainability with a horizon of incorporating all its characteristics in every form and sphere of life. Be it on the yarn, fabric, or in the lives of her employees and weavers. The designer has taken the concept one step ahead and extended a humane approach to it .”I have been working on the concept since the beginning, it’s only now that you can see every one creating such fashion brouhaha about sustainability, and why to limit it to fashion only I believe that mindfulness and sustainability should be applied towards sustaining the Indian craftsmanship and creativity of Indian weavers and employees too”, says Reynu Taandon. 

Her belief resonated and reflected perspicuously when she took an altruistic approach by being empathetic for her employees and their sustenance during the pandemic phase, she truly led by the example.

 

For this innovator, Faith is bigger than fear and her faith in her creativity and God has kept her spirit alive during tough times, she is on the path of creativity which recently reflected in her couture show too. The designer is all game to use the technology to her advantage and recently she virtually launched her new bridal collection ‘ SURKH’ through digital India Couture Week (ICW), organized by the Fashion Design Council of India.

Barkha Arora, Editor, High On Persona Magazine, and Highonpersona.com had the pleasure to talk to Reynu Taandon, on wide and diverse issues ranging from fashion to her passion for travel, movies, and sustainability.
Q. How did you utilize the time spent in lockdown?
This was a very challenging time for everyone, however, I utilized the time creatively and learn many new things, including digital marketing which is very helpful in the current context. 
Q. Keeping the present situation in mind, How are you using Technology to suit yourself? 
Like you and me, we are on zoom right now, otherwise, we would always think about fixing meetings, visiting and sitting for tv interviews, or whatever. This is new us, so exactly the same way the video consultation is taken a very big part too. We also did a campaign that we are ready to sell through zoom and video conferencing. With this method we have widened our network and reach, the globe is the reach now with the help of technology. See when people were not able to come out, this remained the perfect medium to connect with clients. It’s a safer way of connecting with prospective clients. Another thing has been the virtual fashion show that was organized by FDCI, I was very happy to present my new collection through the show, this was a beautiful platform for me.  Digitally we have a wider and better scope to reach out to a larger no of people. We are always at constant development of technology which is moving to the fashion industry into a more efficient and creative future. The initiative of 1st ever digital couture week by FDCI was the way to change how each one of us is experiencing fashion, this way I am sure that we can participate in annual events without compromising on anyone’s safety and wellbeing. 
It is very important Barkha, what happens ( Yaa to hum ghar baithey rehtey aur sochtey rehtey ) this time we can’t do, will it happen or not happen, should we make new collection or not, would people come or not or this is the only way but it was quite a challenge to create a new collection, but we were determined and inspired and went ahead, and in the end everyone was happy.
Q. So which part of technology are you going to retain?  
Well, zoom calls and video calling for sure, that will be the first thing, because it has given completely different sales in my company. I have been able to show customized designs to buyers. In fact, FDCI is also teaching us to make a film, visually it’s a great experience. Many times we have pieces ready with us and want to showcase them but shows are annual so we have to wait for the time when we get to showcase. But now we have the opportunity to go for digital showcasing, and the day we have a few pieces ready we can show them to the world. In addition to that E-Commerce is something I would like to go with, I am getting my site developed too which is proving to be another good experience, I am getting a great response and people are responding to us, hence I will not let it go off.
Q. Low key and intimate weddings have taken over big fat Indian weddings now with a limited number of guests, and hosts are not spending money on related fields like catering, decor, etc. Do you think funds are being diverted towards jewelry and clothes more now? What is your opinion?
I tell you what happens is genuine, it is true, but only brides, friends and family are coming to buy clothes but the random clients who go for bulk buying for series of weddings they have to attend are not coming. Yes, I do agree that big fat weddings are not happening but I know so many hotels that are booked, if not for a wedding with 2000 people but for 50 and now as limit of 100 guests is allowed too. For my recent collection, I could only design clothes for brides, sisters, and mothers, keeping them in mind I have created my new collection. 
Q. How much time do you think it will take for things to be back to normal?
I feel that from October onwards things will be better, and in February and March everyone should bounce back fully, I believe faith is bigger than fear but we should not keep off guards till the vaccine comes. Remember that sometimes precautions are imp than faith too and faith does not mean that we don’t take precautions.
Q. Your observation on the plight of weavers?
I must tell you that there were many weavers who were doing chanderi for us, from MP and Banaras, they don’t have laborers, or they are out of stock and don’t have money to recreate new things. Time has been very tough for them. Many times I wish we could send them extra funds. 
SUSTAIN WEAVERS AND WORKERS FROM INDIA TO EMBRACE SUSTAINABILITY IN TRUE FORM", REYNU TAANDON
Q. How fruitful the role of the Government has been proved towards improving the situation of weavers?
I got to know from some weavers I know that they got help in the form of a little amount of money, but that was not adequate for them to sustain the people working under them, but at least they got some money. The situation was very tricky, sudden, and complex and would have been difficult for the government also to contain its effects that we’re seeing a vast scale. I think in place of a little amount of money they should have provided means to generate passion and work which could rotate for everyone down the line for them. 
Q. What does sustainability mean to Reynu Taandon?
Well, its been there for a long time, I have been using the concept since the inception of my brand. But now all of a sudden a lot of brouhahas is being created and word is being overused. For me saving fabric from getting wast, recycling, upcycling to create innovation means good use of the concept. And I completely believe that one should also work towards sustaining the work of weavers and promote weavers and workers from India than getting the fabric from other countries or importing the fabric and motifs. Promote and sustain Indian weavers, handloom, fabric, and the organic form, which in a true sense will encourage sustainability. All this enhanced profitability too. 
Q. So what kind of changes you envision? 
Technology should be the most integral part of the fashion sector now, mainly 3d print, virtual shows, video conferencing and different ways of technology are helping designers to enhance the reach of their creativity and designs. Like I can anytime connect with my buyers and clients and make customized designs for them keeping their taste and preferences in mind, I show them the work virtually. And for this I have to thank FDCI for organizing the digital and virtual show and giving us the opportunity to create a new collection and showcase virtually, the response was overwhelming.
Q. Please tell us something about your new collection?
Well as I said, it’s for the bride and her family or best friend, I showcased the collection recently during the India Couture show. I did not divert my attention from the bride to anywhere else. Under the given situation I knew that bride and her family will come. Under this situation, I knew that I could create something within my factory only, see my collection and give me your opinion about it. 
Q. As the focus for brides is shifting towards a photogenic look, what kind of change are you incorporating in your collection?
See, I tell you from my experience, For brides, this remains the most important day of their life. I had brides who did not want to compromise on the look of their designs and wanted to wear traditional lehngas and attire in vibrant colors, I am sharing the experience of my 30 brides. I had a bride who’s wedding took place in a Gurudwara, she asked me to keep the color little light according to day time of the wedding, but she wore exactly the same lehenga Rakulpreet wore for me in my show. Brides tell me that we don’t want to tell our generations when they are seeing my wedding album that we got married in pandemic time and compromised on the look, we want to wear exactly the same lehenga we would wear as every bride would. From makeup, hair, the jewelry they don’t want to compromise on their looks.  
SUSTAIN WEAVERS AND WORKERS FROM INDIA TO EMBRACE SUSTAINABILITY IN TRUE FORM", REYNU TAANDON
Q. So other than Rakulpreet who from Bollywood has looked beautiful in your designs, who according to you is most ideal to carry our designs?
All of them are beautiful and would look great in my designs, Kareena Kapoor recently wore my lehenga she looked very pretty in that, even in contemporary Tapsee Pannu looked lovely, she has such beautiful curly hair. than Dipika too looked gorgeous, all of them look exquisite.  
Q. Fashion forecast you would make for the forthcoming season?
I believe in the trend, that whatever you wear, carry it with 100 percent confidence. There are brides who are wearing gold, pink or even grey but they carry it beautifully. The forecast will be Fuschia, red, deep red, baby pink, onion pink, blush pink will be my colors. Otherwise, all colors look beautiful, it depends on our jewelry and complexion too. 
Q. Any fashion style you would ask to avoid?
The only thing l  would advise is to go for comfortable, light and easy clothes that are washed and worn types. Keeping the pandemic situation in mind we have to wear something which is easy to maintain and does not need dry cleaning. 
Q. How does your day flow, and what all do you do in the day?
See I am very simple and hard-working, i start with my morning with a walk, yoga or meditation, I take lunch with family as my factory is close to my house, dinner is with family and at night I like to watch nice movies of Julia Roberts types good movies as a stress buster.
Q. Did you watch Masaba Masaba?  
I heard a lot about this show and I am planning to watch, but I saw Bandish Bandit and fell in love with this, I saw all episodes of the show and while making my collection the music of the show kept reverberating in my mind, I loved the location, sites, forts and Rajasthan’s beauty in the backdrop. I am very fascinated with heritage and incorporating tradition in my work is my passion. I am waiting for season 2 of Bandish Bandits.
+ posts

She has been there and done that. After graduating from Delhi University, she completed her diploma in Journalism from Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, Delhi. Down the line, she completed her internship with National Herald Newspaper successfully,, and went on to Join Mainline Business daily, Business Standard. She also dabbled in image management and brand consultancy. She is a prolific writer on lifestyle entertainment, branding, lifestyle, travel, and politics.
Contact her at hopdesign07@gmail.com

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