"Dear Fashion Industry, Get Inclusive!", talking with Niyati Chawla
Tell us a bit about your self? I am a post-grad student in Fashion and Business. I stepped foot in the fashion industry enamored by the Parisian labels, handbags and jewelry. After spending four years learning and witnessing the ills of the industry and its impact on the environment and society, I gave up that route and set off on a journey to explore my ideas and look at it on a creative and business point of view which is why I moved to the UK other than that I am a girl's girl who enjoys spending the day with my girlfriends in museums, artisan markets, vintage shops and travelling. Over the past year I have been working on finding garment solutions for the disabled/wheelchair users and I have also been researching the lack of inclusivity and diversity in the fashion industry.
Do you see yourself as a conscious buyer? Tell us how, either way. (Yes/no) Depends, I tend to get excited over certain brands and can over spend if I think the purchase is something really exclusive or unique. My choice of clothing is mostly pieces made out of Indian hand-looms which can often be expensive but good quality and I don't feel guilty of the price tag because not only is it in a way giving back to the artisan who worked on it but also because of the great quality I will get many uses out of it.
What is the most important thing for you whilst buying any new piece of clothing etc? Being a curvy girl, the most important aspect would be if the silhouette of the garment is flattering on my body. I try and find pieces which are unique but versatile in a way that I can dress it up or dress it down as per the occasion or my mood. The brand itself is also a selling factor as I am very loyal to the few specific labels where I shop from because they have built trust by offering good quality and being true to the size.
What is that one thing that the fashion industry is missing at the moment?( it can be more than one as well) Lack of representation, even today when there is size inclusivity yet many companies are still using size 10 models to showcase their curve collections, which shows the lack of awareness and lack of research in designs. Often the plus size garments are just extra fabric and not very flattering. In terms of adaptive clothing which is a massive market gap there is still ignorance and lack of knowledge and even today people with disability are still faced with embarrassment of seeking assistance for their dressing.
Tell us about that one conscious practice that you are proud of? I refrain to purchase much from western fast fashion labels. My style is very traditional as I am very fascinated with the craftsmanship of Indian hand-looms and I find ways to give back to the community by shopping my fabrics from craft bazaars or brands who support the local weavers. The fabrics are delicate and hand dyed and they require a certain level of care. I try to keep them as clean as possible and not wash them very regularly to maintain the quality and longevity of wear of the garment.