Showstopper Consumerism

Fashion week headlines often feature buzz reports on who walked for which designer and draw comparisons on which celeb look was the crowd favorite. In a world where celebrities often receive more press attention than the actual clothes, one can’t help but wonder Bollywood is overshadowing fashion in its inseparable relationship with one another and redefining ‘Showstopper Consumerism’.

Parallel Universe

Not a concept borrowed from the West, the idea of ‘showstoppers’ concluding shows have long been a part of fashion week custom. The days when flocking to designers showings displaying unadulterated theatrics conveyed through the medium of clothes and setup alone, now belong to a bygone era.

These days, seeking any attention from the mainstream press is impossible without celebrity additions.

Internationally, the celebrity dilemma at fashion weeks is not that different. Often paid to attend shows, singers, actors and reality television stars are seen huddled up on the front row marking their presence alongside industry professionals.

Reputed fashion critics like Suzy Menkes and Cathy Horyn have often voiced their opinions on how celebrities are making it hard to focus on good fashion. In an interview with The Guardian, Menkes mentioned how she could barely get into shows as crowds of paparazzi would be snapping away at the celebrities. “If fashion is for everyone, is it fashion?” she added.

“Being a showstopper is a model’s birthright,” said Ujjwala Raut, one of India’s first supermodels in an interview. Having walked for several international names like Yves Saint Laurent and Roberto Cavalli, she claimed that Bollywood is one of the main reasons why India hasn’t produced supermodels after the likes of Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre.

What does it talk of our modeling industry when Indian models like Bhumika Arora, Pooja Mor, Neelam Gill, among many more are gaining supermodel status internationally but falling victims to showstopper consumerism in our part of the world?

The Butterfly Effect

You could shrug their constant presence at fashion weeks all you want but Bollywood is the most powerful marketing tool for anything you do in India, it has become a part of every PR representative and brand manager’s marketing mix. Fashion editors aren’t strangers to this fact as they’ve been known to actively team up with celebrities whose mass appeal directly impacts sales and readership.

Bollywood is a medium that sells fashion in this country and internationally the notion is quite similar. If reality star icons like the infamous Kim Kardashian West associating with designers like Olivier Rousteing and Riccardo Tisci amidst gaining legitimate press attention from leading publications like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar is any indication, it’s that the power of the celebrity is an undeniable one.

With fashion’s global audience devouring celebrity associations, it’s hard to foresee this economically successful relationship come to an end.

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