Designers from Hyderabad open up about the darker side of the fashion industry and how they cope with it
Underneath the glitz and glamour
The alleged suicide of celebrity fashion designer Prathyusha Garimella has once again drawn our attention to the ugly realities of being part of a job that requires you to smile all the time. Not everyone knows about what goes on backstage and behind the face of those are in show business, eventually leading to their stories and struggles staying untold.
Designer Archana, founder of her label Archana & Puneeth,shares a little about all that designers put up with, to make their presence felt in the industry. “It all depends on your team, if your team does not deliver things on time it becomes a problem. Putting up with clients is another issue — I stopped socialising with toxic people, long ago. When you're part of the fashion industry, the minute you step out, what you wear and carry, everything is scrutinised. It thrives on things like — 'fake it till you make it' and 'flaunt it if you have it' — which are both harmful to our sanity.”
Archana adds that things get worse when you rub shoulders with the elite and cater to bridal and luxury wear. “You have to be perfect every time and everywhere — but that's not humanly possible. I was depressed when my first marriage failed. I'm happily married again, but I have to fight my own battles everyday, silently. I started meditating and meeting people who mean the most to me,” she asserts.
Srikanth Goggi, consultant clinical psychologist and Vice President of the Telangana Association of Clinical Psychologists, talks about how Page3 culture of most celebrity designers can eat away their peace. “People who are in this industry have standards to maintain to be included in a particular group. While for some, it's part of their job, for many this sense of belonging to the group give them a sense of false identity and contentment.
There is a mismatch of who you are and who you want to be. In the process, your actual self is lost and other people’s perception of you becomes your own. Most struggle with this conflict management. The real self, some day or the other, realises it won't be able to meet the expectations and eventually, feelings of guilt sets in. If unchecked, they could lead to depression and loneliness," the psychologist shares, adding that social media has made matters worse.
Ankitha Veerapalli, known for her vibrant label Amsa, shares, “We have very unrealistic exceptions and the market feeds on these. We have brides coming in a week before the wedding and other customers demanding work within unrealistic deadlines. The industry is not as fancy as it appears on screens and newspapers. Both talent and luck go hand-in-hand here, to reach where you want to. It is a two-way game. If you want the PR, you have to perform as well as entertain. It could appear to be glitter and sparkles but it can get ugly and unreal."