This is the story of how four women who met through an entrepreneurship programme teamed up for a prestigious city event, that allowed them to showcase their designs. They showcased their work at Bangalore Fashion Week which took place at Ottera, Electronic City from July 23rd to 26th.
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It all started when Bangalore Fashion Week organisers invited Babita Jaishankar in June 2009 to apply to participate. As a fashion designer, Babita was thrilled with the honour. But there was very little time to get organised! Desperate, she turned to Cynthia Sapna, a retail designer now full-time into photography. Babita and Cynthia had attended the Management Programme for Women Entrepreneurs (MPWE) programme together a couple of years back.
The MPWE programme conducted by the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore is a short term summer course, that gives an opportunity to women to get introduced to management concepts.and also provides a a strong base for entrepreneurship paths that many attendees end up taking.
It also helps in networking women who are into different business endeavours, among themselves as well as get introduced to other fora, such as TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), AWAKE (Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka), OCC (Open Coffee Club) etc. for business interaction. Cynthia quickly shot a portfolio for Babita to present her designs. That helped Babita get through the selection round.
For the show, Babita’s collection used Indian fabrics such as silks, handloom, cotton silk, muslin with western cuts and detailing. Looking for ethic Indian jewelry, Babita remembered another classmate Priya Mundkur who runs KO Shop which specialises in silver jewellery. Priya provided her chunky and colorful anklets and some brilliant neckpiece.
For accessories such as bags, she requested Lalitha Bilgi, also an MPWE alumni and mother of a special child, who initiated the social venture Swayam that works with special children. Swayam is a parent-support-group which engages such children in various productive activities.
Lalitha, readily agreed to take Babita’s requirement as a ‘job-order’. Three boys and a girl (all aged between 15-26 years and gifted differently), their mothers and 2 volunteers were involved in making the bags for the show. Swayam’s children created unique and beautiful bags with different kinds of materials stuck on it, each one was different from the other. Lalitha says, Swayam parents felt proud that their children’s effort was recognised.
Thus it came about on July 26th, 16 models walked the ramp to showcase the autumn winter collection called ‘November morning’.
The collaboration between four women from diverse backgrounds will serve as an inspiration to other women starting out on their own.
This is a guest post by Meera K, who is also an alumni of the MPWE programme.