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What Bespoke Tailoring Can Do, Ready-to-wear Cannot: Anupama Sachdeva

With IMTA's mission to revive bespoke tailoring art in the country, it seems India is poised for a new breed of fashion evangelists who will be more concerned with the science of style than mere glamour

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The art of bespoke tailoring in India has not managed to reach global standards. Despite the availability of skill and manpower, the bespoke tailoring has been a lacklustre story. The fact that this art form has failed to evolve with changing market demands explains its lost relevance.

However, over the past few years, the bespoke industry is making headlines again. Not just in India, but off shores too. And the person behind the renaissance of sorts for this industry is Anupama Sachdeva, the founder of the Indian Master Tailors Association (IMTA).

According to her, IMTA is not about a company or an individual, it is about an industry and how to serve the market and provide the customers better quality and service, duly assisted by appropriate skilling of manpower across the industry.

"IMTA's vision is to expand the market, impart new training skills and to develop India's bespoke tailoring industry to international standards, thereby promoting the Government's agenda of 'Make in India'," says Anupama.

What was started by her on a whatsapp group to connect 70 top tailors of the country, has now become a reality with the group growing every day.

The idea behind IMTA is an inspiration in itself. Explaining the rationale behind IMTA, Anupama says, "I was based out of Singapore for eight years and that's where I learnt tailoring as an art and also started my brand Pezalli. I was inspired by my mentor- Professor Thomas Wong, who was the President of the Singapore Master Tailors Association, and when in 2012 Singapore hosted the Federation of Asian Master Tailors, the fact that there was representation from 8 countries from Asia but not from India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka, inspired me to start IMTA. Despite the immense talent in terms of craftsmanship, the bespoke industry in India has been unable to move beyond cottage industry status and into a globally recognised market. Our aim at IMTA is put India among the top tourist destinations when it comes to bespoke tailoring."

As part of IMTA's first initiative Anupama recently invited Professor Andrew Ramroop OBE, Founder and Principal of Savile Row Academy, London to take up the first course on spreading the secrets of Britan's finest tailoring in India. Andrew Ramroop has over 40 years of experience working with Savile Row, the home of bespoke tailoring.

He recently shared the Savile Row techniques to draft and fit a three piece suit in an intensive one month suit making program. 15 high end bespoke tailors, chief technicians of Madura and Raymond and designers benefitted and upgraded their skills through this program.

As the next milestone, Anupama has also been successful in getting recognition to IMTA as the Indian representation to the Federation of Asian Master Tailors Congress and will be leading a delegation to attend the Asian Congress in Thailand in July, 2016.

Commenting on his association with IMTA and his master class with Indian bespoke craft lovers, Ramroop said, "It was an innovative idea by Anupama to set up an association in India and to work together for a common purpose. As I am from Indian background, I felt this will be very interesting. India is known to be a very creative place in art and design and so on, but when it comes to bespoke tailoring they haven't got the skills, the background or the training. Now, IMTA will be the rebirth of bespoke tailoring in the country, and it offers a huge opportunity to build exports and to build respectability and knowledge in high class bespoke tailoring. If you think of high quality bespoke tailoring, it is synonymous with Savile Row, and now what IMTA is doing is to bring that quality to India in order to compete with the world. The good thing about this program is that even established businesses are opting to upgrade their skills in the bespoke tailoring, which is a good sign for its growth in India."

Highlighting the need for a mindset shift to compete at the global stage, Anupama adds, "In India lot of tailors don't want to call themselves tailors as it is not seen as a respectable title or profession. When I attend any event or a party, I'm introduced as a designer, and I correct each time and say I'm a bespoke tailor; my whole objective is to make this profession a glamorous domain and that is what I think it lacks."

It must be mentioned that India's bespoke tailoring has a British pedigree. Though, the craft was practised during British era, however, it became non-existent or lost its value primarily due to non availability of required skills and practitioners.

"I have noticed that in India, as in comparison to rest of countries of the Asian congress, tailoring lacks the standard what is achieved and practiced in Italy and at London's Savile Row, where bespoke tailoring is immensely elevated to high levels of professionalism, finesse and an extra touch of gloss and glamour. I have been since then reaching out to several tutors and trainers across globe to be able to come and teach in India and help raise the standards," explains Anupama.

With IMTA's mission to revive bespoke tailoring art in the country, it seems India is poised for a new breed of fashion evangelists who will be more concerned with the science of style than mere glamour.

Explaining how bespoke has an inherent advantage over ready-to-wear industry, Sachdeva says, "What bespoke can do, ready-to-wear cannot. Bespoke is crafted for your body, and you feel the suit is draped around your body in tune with your body shape. In fact we have got people from ready to wear industries participating in this training to understand how they can correct their patterns, and this is also an indication about the influence and relevance of IMTA's vision, which is finding more takers by the day."

Here are the names of the participants who enrolled for the bespoke training program with Savile Row's Andrew Ramroop in Mumbai: Fuzail Ansari- Yaseen's, Mumbai, Shanawaz Chandiwala- Kings Bespoke, Mumbai, Shubh Mehra - Brahaan by Narains, New Delhi, Himashu Pithadia, Fitwel Design Studio Mumbai, Mohit Bellani- Bellani S, Mumbai, Kushal Jain, Fairdeals Fashionettes Pvt Ltd., New Delhi, Rahul Agasti (Rahul Agasti), Mumbai, Vinayak Rao-M N Rao, Mumbai, Dhruva Bhasin, Bhasin & Sons, Lucknow, Ratul Sood (Sood), Calcutta, Akshata Bhojania (Akshata Bhojania), Mumbai, Neeraj Gaur, Madura Fashion, Nitin Wanker ( MTM, Silversparks) , a Raymond subsidiary, Usman Ansari, Brahaan by Narians, Kushal Singh, Madura Fashion and Hafiz Sheikh, Silversparks.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Ruhail Amin

As a media practitioner based in Mumbai, Ruhail Amin writes on start-ups, contemporary business challenges with special focus on advertising and digital marketing

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