Around this time of the year, preparations kick start for festivities among Indians all over the world. With Navratri, Dussehra, Durga Puja, and Diwali knocking at the door in a row, this is one time of the year that the entire diaspora looks forward to celebrating their culture and heritage, with fashion taking centrestage.
With Covid dampening the festive spirit last year, 2021 will undoubtedly be bigger than ever. However, Indian or not, one thing that the entire human race has realised, intensified during lockdown over the past year and a half, is the need to preserve nature. Along with looking after ourselves, the awareness to look after and care for Planet Earth is of top priority at the moment. It is therefore unsurprising that the world of fashion is also reflecting a sustainable theme.
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When the whole world went under lockdown, dressing up took a backseat as people went back to the basics. This situation came with a realisation that fashion needs to be more timeless and more sustainable. Now, sustainability in fashion isn't a new topic of discussion. It has been practised and implemented even before the pandemic came into the picture. The focus is slowly but steadily shifting towards responsible consumption instead of giving in to the fast fashion trend.
"After all, fashion isn't simply about some passing trends. There's much more to it than just vanity. And it's time we all acknowledge it and embrace it," says fashion designer Roshni Mukherjee, behind fashion brand Myosutra, highly regarded by the diaspora in the UK and US, with a following also in India.
As a designer, Roshni has always focused on sustainable clothing. Even before the pandemic, Myosutra promoted responsible consumption through its "Swap the Saree” campaign. Through this initiative, they urged their patrons to recycle their old sarees and revamp them to get a whole new piece of attire.
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This season, Roshni is showcasing sustainable jewellery along with promoting the weavers from different regions of India. As one of the main judges of the beauty pageant Mrs India UK over the past years, Roshni has taken the role of fashion advisor for the contestants this year.
"While the seasonal nature of fashion may prevail, sustainability is what's going to make it relevant to the changing times. The past one year has made me realise that sustainability must not be treated like any other passing trend. It has to be nurtured. It has been my conscious effort to steer Myosutra towards adopting this new approach and advocating it. Hence was my decision to showcase sustainable pieces of jewellery in that photoshoot," Roshni told iGlobal in an interview, with reference to the fashion photoshoot of Mrs India UK she conducted.
Clay, recycled denim, jute, rope, cloth, play seeds, shells and paper were used to make the jewellery that the Mrs India UK Title Winners were flaunting at the shoot.
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During a year like no other, AGLP Enterprises Ltd managed to pull of the Mrs India UK pageant and boosted the morale of many in the British Indian community. In July, the beauty pageant embraced the new normal and continued with Season 4, following all governmental Covid safety guidelines.
The feel-good finale was the final step of the six months of virtual training and mentoring by industry experts, mentors and coaches on topics of leadership skills, core values, building and embodying your brand, personnel grooming, fitness, nutrition, make-up, mental health and wellbeing, styling session, vision board, story writing and personnel development.
The day witnessed the crowning of the winners of Mrs India UK 2020 winners – Dr Smita Mohite, Mrs India UK Gold winner, and Bhagyashri Sidhu, Mrs India UK Classic winner, amongst the two individual categories with age criteria.
During the lockdown period, Mrs India UK finalists constantly worked hard to raise awareness around mental health, working with charity partner Cameron Grant Memorial Trust. They also raised over £9,000 for various charity associates such as Ketto, Cancer Research, Women Empowerment and MIND.
An entire photoshoot round, specifically focussing on sustainable jewellery, was conducted with the participants and overseen by Roshni.
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The winner of Mrs India UK Gold, Dr Smita Pawar Mohite's mission is to 'Rehabilitate minds, rejuvenate bodies and restore lives'.
She shares: "To work tirelessly and efficiently at various fronts in my life, I had lost myself somewhere. I realised it was time to edit my story and write a new chapter and I participated in Mrs India UK 2020.
“I had rediscovered the best of myself through my pageant journey and proved it when I won the title of 'Mrs. India UK 2020 Gold'. Mrs India UK is all about empowering married women and encouraging them to be themselves in a much better way. It has been a great opportunity to rejuvenate my mind and body."