Nonita Kalra On The Etiquette Of Going Vocal For Local

by Drishti Mistry

If there is one industry insider who not only advocates but quite literally embodies the ‘Vocal for Local’ movement, it’s the former Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, India, Nonita Kalra. In the business for over two decades now, Kalra is known for her penchant for heritage Indian weaves (she wore a treasured Benarasi sari from her mother’s trousseau for her own wedding), coupled with impeccable Indian craftsmanship. A quick glance at her wardrobe and you’ll spot pieces from some of the most celebrated designers of the country. So, it only made sense that for our August’s spotlight on ‘Vocal for Local’ we sat down with her to break down the intricacies of this long overdue movement. From what style means to her to the most cherished pieces in her closet, we enquired about it all. And she answered…

 What does ‘Vocal for Local’ mean to you?

“Of the people, by the people, for the people”, if I may take the liberty of using one of the most famous definitions of democracy. When it comes to fashion, it is simple: Be Indian, buy Indian.

How and why do you think this movement is critical to our industry? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the fashion industry in a deep crisis. It has suffered both at the level of the craftsman as well as at the ranks of the designer, crippling it from top to bottom.  For the business to survive, it is essential for every customer to support Indian fashion whenever they choose to consume. It needs to become a habit that endures for decades to make an impact.

How do you recommend one go Vocal for Local when it comes to fashion? Is there a checklist? 

  1. Think before you shop. Conscious consumption is the way forward.
  2. Choose a brand that is transparent about its supply chain. You should know who made your clothes and how they were made.
  3. Make sure the label has a “Made in India” tag.

Could you list three of your favourite locally sourced pieces?

  1. An old Manish Arora skirt that I wore as a strapless dress at the iconic Dior show, held at the Versailles Palace, to celebrate the designer John Galliano’s decade as artistic director. The Autumn-Winter 2007/08 Haute Couture show was also a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the brand.
  2. Everything I own by Rajesh Pratap Singh. Especially a bandhgala jacket he made for me in 2000, when I went for my first Elle International Conference as Editor-in-Chief of Elle, India. This event was held in Vichy, France and I wore the suit with a vintage Jamawar shawl, belonging to my grandmother.
  3. A wool-embroidered Rahul Mishra jacket that I wore when I went to Florence as a judge for the international Woolmark Prize 2017/2018. That was the year Ruchika Sachdeva won!

 A parting piece of advice to our readers in this regard.

The time has come for a movement towards responsible fashion. We need to rewear, reuse, recycle to have a sustainable future.

Follow @NykaaFashion on Instagram for more!

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