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Fashion is about bringing joy to people, says Rajesh Pratap Singh

The Satya Paul creative director on the label's collection presented at the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week, and the need for sustainable fabrics

The live showcase of Carbon Zero TENCEL fibres and Satya Paul by Rajesh Pratap Singh marked the finale of the Sustainable Fashion Day at the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week on 9 October. (Courtesy FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week )

Designer Rajesh Pratap Singh is clear on how he wants to shape the Satya Paul brand. It has to be “sustainable, colourful, something that's contemporary and stays true to the vision of its founder, Satya Paul”. 

That's exactly what he presented as part of the "The Master’s Words" collection at the recently concluded FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week. The colourful collection paid tribute to the late Satya Paul who passed away earlier this year, and launched the carbon-zero Tencel fibres by Lenzing. 

Also read: Want to make fashion sustainable? Make it accessible, verifiable

Talking about the collection, Singh said, “This collection is a burst of optimism at a time of global volatility. ‘The Master's Words’ threads together the past and present in 2021, where we take this journey to the next level by prioritizing sustainable design, as we work with cleaner fabrics that are gentle on the earth. Several of the dresses, trousers, and shirts in this collection are made with Tencel, entirely biodegradable."

We spoke with Singh about the collection, the return to the physical runway after long and the need for more sustainable fabrics. Edited excerpts: 

What was it like to be back on the runway after so long?

Exciting! It's always a nice experience, to see things physically. In the last two years, we've discovered the potential of the digital format but I think the experience of physical shows cannot be matched.

Having said that, we are experimenting with the digital format, displaying a garment and not just putting it on a person and showing it on a ramp. We are trying to evolve using different digital tools. 

You've been working with the Tencel fibre for a long time now. What's been your experience with it? Is it in any way restrictive in terms of draping?

Not at all. Tencel is basically a zero-carbon emission fibre. It's super sustainable and a very, very versatile fibre, which takes the drape very well and it blends very well with other normal fibres. And you can, you know, adapt it the way you want. You can twist it to your own needs.

That sounds too good to be true.

It is really that good. Like you said, we've been working with Tencel for some time now. And I can tell you, from my personal experience, I've used it in all different ways. We've hand spun it, we've mechanically spun it, we've blended it with wool, cotton, linen, stainless steel. So you know, we've done all kinds of experiments with tensile and, honestly, keeping the sustainability aside, it's a nice fibre to work with.

In the past one and a half years, there's just been a lot of conversation around sustainability. But if you look at the fashion shows right now happening across the world, extravagance seems to be the running theme. Are we back to our old ways?

Sustainability is a big big area. Anything we do if we do not have sustainability in it, we will become obsolete. Making the manufacturing process sustainable has to be the focus. 

Sustainability is also about commercial viability. Because if I'm supposed to make a garment which I want to call sustainable, and it's going to cost me a bomb nobody's gonna really buy it, right? If I have to come up with something that is truly sustainable, it should take care of all the stakeholders. So it's important to make a mass market product that's decently priced to be a part of the sustainable process, otherwise we are just talking in the air. You can't make clothes for the fashionable lot who want to wear sustainable clothing or say they're wearing sustainable clothing while you're ignoring the needs and wants of the majority of the population. It has to be a viable solution. 

And fashion is about celebration. This is why we exist otherwise we can all wear uniforms. So, we have to get that joy to people.

Also read: Why Vaishali S. wants to make bridalwear less blingy

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