What makes a year memorable? The reasons could be many. The year 2021, saw some remarkable moments in the world of fashion. While some broke the internet, some made a difference. But in the end, the industry saw the coming together of incredible styles and iconic moments that makes 2022 look like a challenging year to be creative. So, before we say goodbye to 2021, we look back at what or who made a fashionable statement, what drove social media crazy and what changed the scene for the better.
From Digital to Physical Fashion shows
If 2020 was all about virtual events and shows, 2021 saw a mix of both worlds – digital and physical show. The Runway made a comeback this season, with celebrities posing for the shutterbugs as they sashayed the ramp in designer clothes. Kareena Kapoor Khan made a comeback post her second pregnancy and walked for Gaurav Gupta at the FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week Grand Finale. While physical shows were a sigh of relief from designers, there were also an array of digital fashion films that made an impact in 2021. Nooraniyat, celebrated bridal couture through the eyes of ace fashion designer Manish Malhotra, and 2+2 = 5 was a fashion film made with love by renowned fashion designer Narendra Kumar. The film also featured the designer playing a prominent role.
Be Kind and Rewind
Vegan Fashion, cruelty free and Upcycled garments were the showstoppers of 2021. From giant brands such as H&M which partnered with PETA entities to launch its Co-Exist Story, a collection made with innovative animal-free materials to fashion designers Gaurav Gupta, Jade by Monica & Karishma, Péro by Aneeth Arora, Shyamal & Bhumika, Rina Dhaka, Vikram Phadnis, Rocky S, Bloni by Akshat Bansal pledging to be leather-free, the industry focus has been towards responsible fashion.
Also, when responsible fashion is promoted by celebrities, it tends to grab eyeballs. Stalwarts such as Alia Bhatt, Malaika Arora, Milind Soman and Sunny Leone among others have promoted vegan fashion in their own creative way. In November, Alia Bhatt, Milind Soman and Sunny Leone were among the winners of PETA India’s Vegan Fashion Awards 2021.
Like the famous saying, with great power comes great responsibility. Well, the fashion industry too took the responsible fashion route. With brands and designers promoting zero waste, the world of fashion has been kind to earth in 2021.
From moral policing brands when it comes to creative freedom to trolling designers and celebrities, the world of fashion was at the mercy of social media in 2021. High end apparel brands such as FabIndia and fashion designer Sabyasachi have been at the receiving end for their creative choices. While FabIndia told brutally trolled and threatened over its Diwali-themed advertisement for a range of collection that was named ‘Jashn-e-Riwaaz’, on the other hand, Sabyasachi too had to withdraw the mangalsutra advertisement after the said ad created quite stir on social media. The now-deleted ad featured a woman wearing a mangalsutra paired with a pair of denims and a bra. After pulling down the advertisement, Sabyasachi took to Instagram and wrote: In context of making heritage and culture a dynamic conversation, the Mangalsutra campaign aimed to talk about inclusivity and empowerment. The campaign was intended as a celebration and we are deeply saddened that it has instead offended a section of our society. So we at Sabyasachi have decided to withdraw the campaign. (sic)”
The Game Changers
Closing the year with a bang was Harnaaz Sandhu who brought the Miss Universe 2021 title to India after 21 years. Harnaaz, who hails from Punjab, donned a sustainable gown designed by India’s first transwoman fashion designer Saisha Shinde. Trying their hands at fashion this year were sportspersons such as wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya, and Paralympian Deepa Malik and hockey player Udita Duhan who walked the ramp for fashion designers Mohammed Mazhar and Rina Dhaka. Breaking the glass ceiling this year was Leena Nair who became the first Indian to take over as CEO of the French luxury fashion house Chanel.
Leading designers including Manish Malhotra, Anamika Khanna’s AK OK and Raghavendra Rathore made their NFT debut in 2021. The designer dropped their NFT’s on WazirX Marketplace. Calling it a new medium for designers and artists to express, Manish said, “This unexplored new world – NFT, intrigued me. It’s a new stream and platform for not just artists who create physical products but also for new age artists, designers, illustrators, and digital content creators.”
FDCI and Lakmé Fashion Week has also partnered with Creative Dignity- a volunteer led movement working on the relief, rehabilitation, and rejuvenation within the craft sector, to now get artisans practising age-old heritage arts and crafts to be a part of this exciting new medium and create NFTs. Talking about the initiative, Jaspreet Chandok, Head of RISE Fashion & Lifestyle said, “We at FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week have always recognised craft and artisans as the backbone of our creative economy. The thought of launching artisanal NFTs came to us as we saw this as an opportunity to introduce indigenous arts and crafts to a younger population who may or may not engage with it in a regular scenario.”
He further adds, “The world of NFTs also opens up a new revenue stream for the artisans and we’re hopeful that it will also attract the younger generations from the artisans’ families to take the crafts ahead. A big thank you to EkiBeki, a volunteer organisation working with Creative Dignity and a social enterprise that works towards craft revival. It was through their project ‘Hand-in-Hand’ that artists and artisans like Farhat & Choti Tekam have come together and made these NFTs come to life.”