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When designers fell fowl of Indian ‘culture’

The fashion industry is no stranger to problematic wording and thought processes. It is often highlighted when designers and industry insiders do not realize the issues with their approach. Here are the top 5 controversies where top brands stepped in trouble by their words.

New Delhi: The fashion industry is no stranger to problematic wording and thought processes. It is often highlighted when designers and industry insiders do not realise the issues with their approach. Here are the top 5 controversies where top brands stepped in trouble by their words.

1. FabIndia Jashn-e-Riwaaz

The popular clothing brand ‘FabIndia’ recently made headlines as it got caught up in a controversy due to one of their Tweets. 

FabIndia had tweeted, “As we welcome the festival of love and light, Jashn-e-Riwaaz, by FabIndia is a collection that beautifully pays homage to Indian culture…”. The post alongside featured men and women adorning festive, Indian ethnic clothing in a vibrant shade of red. This created a lot of chaos on the internet and netizens started tweeting #boycottFabIndia. 

The clothing brand was accused of damaging the Hindu festival of Diwali. Therefore, the tweet, as well as the promo, was taken down later. 

2. Falguni Peacock

Falguni Peacock, one of the popular designers was called out for making body-shaming comments.

The designer was asked in a post-show interview about what she would recommend for plus-size brides, she replied, “Long blouses, more flared lehengas and not fitted because fitted won’t really work when you’re a little big. No deep necks for them may be higher.” Falguni was then called out for her reply and was said that it was deemed fatphobic. 

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Later, she apologized saying how she herself dealt with body issues and didn’t intend to hurt anyone.

3. Tanishq

Tanishq is one of the top Jewellery brands of India and it stepped in a controversy on making an advertisement exactly one year ago. 

Tanishq, in its ad, showed an inter-faith marriage and showed how a caring mother-in-law respected her daughter-in-law’s faith and culture. This portrayal also drew criticism from a virulent section of the society that threatened violence against the brand, forcing Tanishq to withdraw its advertising. Netizens took the angel and compared it to ‘Love Jihad’ as well.

4. Raw Mango Kashmir-inspired

One of Raw Mango’s collections inspired by Kashmir wasn’t received too well, drawing criticism for being “insensitive” and “exotifying”, the region that has been under a security lockdown since 5 August when Article 370 that granted special status to the state was scrapped.

Raw Mango recalled the collection with an apology.

5. Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Top designer Sabyasachi, labeled “overdressed” and “caked with makeup” women as ‘wounded.’ He did so in one of his campaigns and got caught up in a controversy. 

The post read, “If you see a woman ‘overdressed’, caked with makeup, armoured with jewellery, it is most likely that she is wounded. Bleeding inside, silently (sic)” An array of bloggers, editors and commentators criticised the post as misogynistic, a case of mansplaining and some went on to label it as downright toxic.

Later, he apologized for his words as well.

first published:Oct. 21, 2021, 3:34 p.m.

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