CHENNAI: Eco-friendly can be expensive…one of the reasons why some of us don’t choose it as a way of life. But imagine this: wearing a perfect dress that’s not only gorgeous but eco-friendly. Meet three budding fashion designers who talk about their new line of clothing launched at Eco Fashion Show 2017 by Rossbelle.
The 21-year-old Nalini Murugan has been a fashion designer for five years and has bagged the position of an assistant fashion designer for a Tamil movie and a reality show for Sun TV. From her childhood, she grew up watching her father re-cycle everything and making something creative. “From carpentry to interior designing, my father does everything at home. He inspired me to re-use fabric,” smiled Nalini. But the graduate from the National College of Design was not always interested in fashion designing. “As a child, I trained in martial arts (chuckles). My passion to become a fashion designer began when I was in Class 12. I was focused and since then I have not spent a single vacation idle. I did internships in factories and boutiques and I worked as a freelance designer too,” she recalled.
Nalini wants to start an eco-friendly clothing brand and also open a boutique. “Anyone can become a fashion designer. The only thing you need to have is a vision to create something innovative. You have to find out what you’re good at and then give it your best. You cannot give up in the first try,” she said. Her aim is to work with Bollywood designer Neeta Lulla one day and learn her signature style.
Slightly different from the young Nalini is Anitha Prabhu who comes from a conservative family. “Fashion designing was a big decision for me,” recalled 35-year-old Anitha, who recently started her boutique Myura Fashion. “I’m not a fashion student. I believe you cannot teach fashion and is something that you grow up with.”
Being the only daughter in the family making her debut in the fashion industry was tough for Anitha. “My brothers never played or spent much time with me. So, I spent most of my time watching TV. That’s how I got inspired to take up fashion.”
From trying different hairstyles and putting on make-up, she experimented a lot as a child. “I remember one day my dad caught me with my make-up on and hit me. But my life took a drastic turn when I got married. My husband was, and still is, supportive of my career. He is my inspiration and today if I am here, it’s all because of him,” she smiled.
According to Anitha, a person need not spend a lot of money to buy something fashionable and trendy. You just need to have an eye for fashion. “Anyone can look good wearing any clothes. They don’t have to worry about their skin complexion or height. You just need to put on a bright smile and feel confident. When you dress-up, you should feel like a model every day.”
Rekha Raghul agrees with Anitha. Rekha has designed costumes for TV productions and movies, and was given the Spirit of SIAWED Budding Entrepreneur Award 2016. She set up her own fashion school in 2009. “We are teaching around 400 students and have designers from the industry as visiting faculties. I started this to teach potential homemakers some designing skills which they can use creatively and earn some money.” She is also a gold medalist graduate in Fashion Designing and a state rank holder in B Ed and MBA.
She has been in the fashion designing industry for 12 years and already presented her line of clothes at three fashion shows — Myriad Hues (2015), Miss MX (2015) and Rock and Roll (2017). We were surprised to know that Rekha had also designed clothes for the empowerment of transgenders. “Miss MX focused solely on empowerment of the transgender society. We trained them in our school and they were the models. It was their show entirely,” she smiled.
Stating that she has never tried her hand on eco-friendly clothes, she said, “We hardly got any time to prepare for the Eco Fashion show. But I took this up as a challenge,” she said. In her collection are bags, accessories, and jewellery using leftover fabrics. A miniature dress as an earring or a pouch
made of pure cotton.
Fashion tips from Anitha
If you are wearing a dress with heavy designs on the front and back, go for buns and wear minimum jewellery
Always wear colourful clothes during the day
A perfect hairdo is a must for any kind of dress
Highlight your eyes by wearing kajal
If you are wearing floral top, go for solid-colour bottom and vice-versa for a good contrast