Curating Local Fashion for the World

My new favourite word is “curate” it rolls off the tongue, many fashion sites uses it to show their extreme styling prowess.  In some cases its used correctly, while in others I know they just used a dictionary, or worse copied another website.

But what does it actually mean?

It’s the act of choosing from a large array and picking out only that which suits a particular audience, mood or anything else. Sounds simple enough, yet in most cases, what you find is a large array with no curation or theme.

I thought up the “brilliant” idea (already been done in various ways) of curating local fashion for the world. This means, I would choose a specific region or local area and pick out fashion that was reminiscent of that region and sell it in North America. Not to the insanely rich person, but to the regular fashionista or fashionister (?) who is interested in travel and fashion.

My idea was more or less sparked further while in Goa. I met a woman who had a roadside clothing shop, she designed and sewed all her own stuff, which was basically just sarongs, beachwear, and funky harem pants. I liked the authenticity of it all. Of course, everywhere you went, there was the same roadside stand with the same clothes. I imagine it sold well amongst the tourists, me being a prime example. It wasn’t original in Goa, yet perhaps as an online pop up shop it could be to the West….during summer or vacation season.

I also met a talented fashion designer who designed most of his own stuff as well, yet most of his ideas and designs were made on a whim while traveling to Thailand, China and Bali (where all of his stuff was sourced and produced). So would someone in the West want to buy a transparent sarong, funky tie up fabric sandals and a printed linen scarf? I suppose for the right price, they could experience a bit of Goa that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to experience. Yet, there is the nightmare of tariffs, taxes and shipping to contend with which makes it all not worth the price for the end consumer, but of course there is always ways around this.

The point is though, how authentic is all this fashion? Isn’t it all just copied from someone else from some other place? Isn’t it all just something that is made in China? Has local fashion turned into China fashion?

It definitely feels like that when all signs point to China in my search for curating local fashion. But, that’s not what I want to do, I don’t want to design, create or source out current trends or fashion, that’s what trained and talented designers are for. I want to pick out local style from these talented designers (I have an eye for that) and sell it in a package. But, that local style has to be locally produced and original – this is sort of rare and expensive.

Also, I found that some places just don’t have an authentic everyday style that could work in the west. Take Delhi for example, I haven’t really come across an affordable, casual style for women, that I could put together. The decent stuff is in the malls while road side shops are all copies of each other more or less shipped from Thailand. There are places like Khan Market and Hauz Khas Village that are authentic, super trendy and cool yet are a bit expensive even for the west. Plus shipping would be the ultimate heart attack.

Each local region definitely has a unique personal style, but don’t we all at the end of the day? Are we not all shaped by our experiences, where we have traveled and how we view our bodies? This culmination is ultimately how we dress regardless of where we live. We are our own curation of fashion.

In any case, the hunt continues for what I believe is my ultimate passions in life – travel and fashion. Atleast coming to India has taught what I had already known for years.

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