‘Influence of Bollywood on fashion increasing’

Ace fashion designer Anamika Khanna’s clothes were worn by Bollywood stars Janhvi Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor in last month’s Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2020 in Kolkata. As IBNS-TWF correspondent Souvik Ghosh got chatting with her ahead of the show, she spoke about the fashion tour, her professional journey and dream to dress Bollywood icon Rekha.

How much Kolkata influences your fashion sense?
I always believe the place, environment and people around always influence a designer. I am a Kolkatan and I have studied and lived here all my life, so I am bound to get influenced (by the city).

So what kind of change you have noticed in Kolkata people’s fashion sense or statement?
I think the change has come not just in Kolkata but all over the country. When I had started out, fashion was a smaller field. Now like anyone and everyone is a designer. That is a big change. There was a time even in Kolkata when one would only see long, traditional and fully covered-up dresses at a party. Now, one can see a difference. People (nowadays) are really experimenting and having fun with fashion.

So you say individualism has come more over the years?
Yes, 100 per cent. Everyone (now) wants to make a statement. People want to stand out and they are making that effort so that is in Calcutta (Kolkata) also.

Would you say Bollywood’s influence on common people’s fashion is slowly receding?
No. It is increasing. And all the Bollywood stars have become extremely conscious about what they wear, their images and appearances because of Instagram and other kind of social media (platforms). Now everyone is aware of what they (Bollywood stars) are doing. So I think the influence of Bollywood is increasing and not decreasing.

You had started with a store and now you are an international brand. How was your journey?
The journey had started in a very small way. It has remained a very interesting and a long one. There is still a long way to go and I haven’t reached half the distance yet. We will have to do a lot. There were also a lot of difficulties, experiences, high and low points as well. I could not have got the experience of meeting people and making collections in any other journey (read any other profession). There is an excitement every morning about what new thing we can do or what dream we can fulfil. So that journey is incredible.

You had also worked in Pakistan. Share a bit about your experience with us.
That was long time ago actually (in 2003). I had gone with Ritu Kumar and JJ Valaya (designers). It was a very big thing for me to showcase myself with them on ramp but it was a very interesting (experience).

How challenging is it to come up with new ideas every morning?
Isn’t a challenge common in every profession? It depends on your ambition. Everyone has to do their work. Maybe the level to which one pushes himself is different from the other but challenges are everywhere. Of course my work is damn difficult because I will be judged (everyday).

You have worked with several Bollywood celebrities. Did you face any situation where any of them had objected to your idea of fashion?
No. Nobody really objects. We work in coordination. It is a back and forth process. It is not like I force anyone to wear a particular dress. It does not work like that.

Any celebrity you want to work for?
Rekha. I want to dress her up (smiles).

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