Giving children a vibrant future

Mijwan Sonnets in Fabrics

Dance in The Rain-Mijwan Sonnets in Fabrics 2012

Rain...... Rain....... Rain everywhere..... Mumbai was in deluge. And lovers of Kaifi, friends of Shabana and supporters of Mijwan were waiting eagerly to witness another landmark show, soaked in rain.

Monday September 3rd when Mumbai was fighting a fierce battle with rains, Hotel Grand Hyatt was about to witness a dance with a difference in solidarity with Mijwan Welfare Society.

Ms. Shabana Azmi with her trusted lieutenant Ms. Namrata Goyal lead MWS from the front and organized MIJWAN SONNET ON FABRICS 2012 showcasing Mr. Manish Malhotra's creations based on Mijwan Embroidery for the third time in a row.

Manish Malhotra's Interview

1] What is the difference between style and fashion?

Ans: Fashion is transient; style is timeless.Fashion faux pas happen when there is an inherent lack of style.But it is possible to develop style over time. Its important not to be a slave to fashion and instead invest in developing style that has an individual stamp.

How you wear is even more important than what you wear?

2] In what way has your style statement evolved over the years?

Ans: It has changed with the times but continues to be influenced by Hindi films. I was a huge Mumtaz fan.I liked heroines to be voluptious saucy and sexy and Mumtaz epitomised that.Earlier heroines were women and they were expected to be formally dressed all times ,not a hair out of place. Today when I dress Sonam in 'I hate love stories' I have to make sure she carries casual chic straight out of life. I put Kareena in a tshirt and salwar in Jab We Met and because Kareena is Kareena it becomes the rage. It was inconceivable 20 years ago that a heroine could dress like that!But things that remain constant in my work are soft and flowing fabrics and feminine allure. I like women to look like women not tomboys

3] In the global world of Fashion where do you think India stands?

Ans: Right there amongst the best. Bollywood is the flavour of the times. I have clients who show me videos and insist on getting clothes like the stars are wearing. Life is no longer influencing fashion.Fashion is influencing lives. I like to maintain Indianness in my clothes.if we start working from a position of strength that comes from drawing from our roots rather than aping Western designers we will never go wrong. The West is learning that India is glamorous and that the sari is the sexiest garment in the whole wide world.

4] Tell us about your involvement with Mijwan? How did it start? What are your future plans for Mijwan?

Ans: Last year at the fundraiser for Mijwan Welfare Society an NGO that was founded by noted film lyricist Kaifi azmi to empower the girlchild, I was introduced to the chikankari work done by the Mijwan girls. I was very impressed by their amazing embroidery. It stands up to the highest standard of craftsmanship anywhere in the world.

I have been wanting to do some socially responsible work for some time and Mijwan provided me the perfect opportunity. I have adopted Mijwan- a tiny village of only 540 people near Azamgarh UP, for a year to begin with where I will give these girls from rural India a lot of my embroidery. I see this not as an act of charity but a win win situation for both. The girls get a means of livelihood by which they can negotiate a better position for themselves in a patriarchal society. And it gives me the opportunity to showcase to the world the best that India has to offer.

In the globalised world of Fashion today its pointless to offer silhouettes to the West. They do gowns better than we can ever hope to match up. But we have craftsmanship which they do not. This is our USP and that's what we need to focus on.

Mijwan to me is a microcosm of what India has to offer the world. We have a long history of the warp and weft of design aesthetics. Its time we rediscover ourselves and go back to our roots.

Anita's grand finale outfit by Mijwan Women

Anita Dongre’s Organic Bride dazzles at Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive 2011 Lisa HaydenAugust 20, 2011, Mumbai: Anita Dongre, scorched the ramp with the magic of Rajasthan , by presenting her fall winter line on August 18, 2011 at 7.30 pm at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive 2011.

Times change; class doesn’t. Even though India has embraced globalization—including the fashion trends— traditional Indian wear is still much cherished and proudly worn. Anita paid tribute to this rich heritage by presenting her latest designs inspired by the land of the Rajputs. On display was the rich presetting collection of festive ethnic wear: beautiful sarees, Lehengas and exquisite jackets. Also, marking her foot prints in the bridal wear segment, Anita provided a preamble to her soon to be launched bridal collection, which delves into the rich, textile heritage of India. Being committed to her promise of reviving the traditional handcrafts and textile arts of India, Anita presented her ‘Organic Bride’ dressed in exquisite chikankari lehnga.

In today’s times, when automation and mechanisation have become the norm, true craftsmanship deserves a special status. What would you call a garment which takes four months to produce, and 6 skilled artistes working on the embroidery: ‘A work of art’, ‘Labour of love’? We call it Anita’s Finale garment: the ckikankari lehenga. Everyone witnessed the magic in motion as Lisa Haydon adorned in a handcrafted chikankari lehenga, embroidered accomplished by craftswomen of Mijwan (a village in Azamgarh, UP). Made from ‘Fair Trade Organic cotton’, this natural organic mul lehenga is all set to bring about a paradigm shift in Indian bridal wear.

Raining of Stars on Mijwan - MSF 2011

In a first, 24 Bollywood celebrities showed their strength and came out to support Shabana Azmi’s cause of the Mijwan village in UP that her father and famous Urdu Poet Late Kaifi Azmi belonged to. Shabana Azmi's fashion show, to raise funds for the upliftment of rural women, was a true example of what the Hindi film industry is capable of when it comes together for a cause. The entire Bollywood film industry united together for this noble cause. Shabana’s goodwill in the industry got the who’s who of Bollywood on the ramp.

It was raining Bollywood stars at Shabana Azmi’s charity fashion show, Mijwan, on Sunday evening. Supporting Shabana’s cause was her immediate family — mother Shaukat Azmi, brother Baba Azmi, husband Javed Akhtar and Javed’s son Farhan Akhtar, who even walked the ramp. The show was organised to raise money for the education of girls.

From Hrithik Roshan to Lara Dutta, Dia Mirza to Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra to Karan Johar, the ramp shone each time stars stepped on it in creations by Manish Malhotra. Current hotties Anushka Sharma, Ranvir Singh, Monikangana Dutta, Lisa Haydon, Shazahn Padamsee, Aditya Roy Kapur and Prateik were cheered on just as much as the veterans. Sandhya Mridul, Rohit Roy and Tusshar Kapoor also did the catwalk.

Stars at fashion show for MWS 2009

Fashion weeks may be fast becoming overrated, but charity never goes out of style, or so believes Shabana Azmi, who is a veteran at leading a good cause.
For her latest good turn, she is rounding up young design talent to bring attention and funds to her NGO, the Mijwan Welfare Society started by her father, Kaifi Azmi, in Mijwan, Uttar Pradesh.

By design The plan is to invite budding design talent from various fashion institutes around the city to participate in a competition, which will culminate in a fashion show called Mijwan, Sonnets in Fabric on December 15

The bait-winners will get a chance to dress top fashion models and a couple of film stars. B D Somani Institute of Art & Fashion Technology College, SNDT Womens University, National Institute of Fashion Technology-NIFT, JD Institute of Fashion Technology and Raffles Design Institute are the participating colleges

Designers Manish Malhotra and Anita Dongre will act as mentors to students through the competing rounds, first being an entry of 20 designs from each college. The top 50 designs will be selected and showcased at the fashion event. From the chosen 50, two winners will be short-listed by a panel of experts, which include Pradeep Hirani, proprietor of design store Kimaya, designer Shaina NC, Pradeep Huha and Azmi.

The students will be asked to use chikankari, a popular Mijwan fabric. Though shortage of time doesn’t allow Azmi and her team to source fabric directly from Mijwan, that is on the cards. “I’m overwhelmed with the response. Every person I asked has agreed to participate in the event,” reveals Azmi.

The endeavour is the brainchild of Azmi’s godchild Namrata Goyal, who came up with the plan after a visit to Mijwan earlier this year. Funds will be raised through sponsorship of the main event and will help in setting up a distance-learning centre in the village. Despite having a computer centre there, teaching faculty isn’t available. Azmi hopes to bridge the gap between the rural poor and the urban centres, a policy, which was followed by her father.

“The youth are the ones who change the world. The platform will give young designers a chance to harness their skills and draw attention to Indian crafts,” she explains.