Jakarta opens it arms to Indian ethos as Charu Parasher wows them with her unique khadi silks and batiks at a unique showcasing, organised by the FDCI in collaboration with the Indian embassy
By Asmita Aggarwal
It a chance meeting at the FDCI India Fashion Week, that turned into a lucrative 12-year-long association with a swishy store Le Rosh in Jakarta for Charu Parasher. Just back after showcasing her line in Jakarta, that commemorated 70 years of Indo-Indonesian friendship and 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi with an ode to khadi silk, her fabric of choice. “Indonesians love colours and every time, I work with prints, especially batik which is their oldest form of tie and dye, it sells really well. All this could happen because the FDCI chose me and gave me this wonderful opportunity,” says Charu. The showcasing also won her loyal fans in the Indonesian Minister of Industry and his wife Airlangga Hartarto and Yanti, who invited her for lunch the subsequent day and placed orders for her Indo-Western dresses.
The Indian Embassy in Jakarta contacted the chairman, Sunil Sethi, and it paved the way for a designer exchange program, which gave Indian style gurus a chance to showcase their ensembles to a discerning audience.
Indonesia being a predominantly Muslim country is one of the most liberal in terms of thoughts and working with them has been revelatory for Charu. “In India when I show my khadi silks, which has a bit of inconsistency due to the yarn, most clients want to know if it is a defect not understanding that it is the inherent texture of the fabric. Slowly this is changing and an intelligent customer understands what it entails and realises how much effort goes into first treating the fabric for it to be able soak in the engineered prints. I sell my bridal line made in khadi in seven big cities all across the US, so there is a greater acceptance now,” she adds.
Among the few who still works with hand embroideries with no interference from machines, Charu’s rendition of zardosi, resham, cutdana is a laborious process along with a sprinkle of Swarovski, which has won favour in the island city. “We also have common religious deities’ hanuman, Vishnu and the Ramayana and Mahabharata has unique interpretations there so people love Indian aesthetics, making it is easier to retail as culturally there are similarities,” she adds.
Recalibrating the sari by adding jackets to it, along with a palette that is spring fresh—minty greens and cappuccinos as well as tonal beiges, Charu believes there is a lot one can do to make the six yard wonder modern. “Many of our saris look like dresses, some come with cropped tops, so it is completely global, the Indian elements are almost disappearing,” she adds.
Though what needs to change is how we consume fashion, she clarifies, reduce carbon footprints and waste and offer separates as well as classics. Above all, learn to resist even though the retail environment has made most of us compulsive shoppers. “Stockholm has this year cancelled their fashion week, to display their commitment to sustainability, so many are really looking at these aspects of climate change quite seriously. They are not indulging in mere talk, but taking concrete steps,” she concludes.