“It is a false myth that Fashion is for people who can Afford it. I believe everybody deserves it”.
One of India’s premier fashion institutes, INIFD (Salt Lake) (Inter National Institute of Fashion Design) recently celebrated contemporary Fashion at their Annual Graduating Show, Elixir 2015. Present at the event were major Fashion Idols- Menswear designer Sharbari Datta, Danceuse Alokananda Roy, Fashion Designer Abhishek Dutta and Footwear Designer and Product Development Manager of Bata, Matteo Lambert.
While the talented students showcased their Graduating collection of this year, we had a lovely conversation with Matteo as we talked about the Indian Fashion scene to capturing the market as a footwear brand. His Italian accent adding on to his charming personality made conversing with him indeed a wonderful experience.
Being a footwear designer for Bata, a brand that every Indian swears by, what is your take on the belief that “everyone has a right to fashion”?
Matteo: I believe Fashion should be accessible to all. It is a false myth that Fashion is for people who can afford it. I believe everybody deserves it and has a right to access fashion. I love it when brands or non-brands offer affordable fashion to all kinds of people.
You hail from Italy, the land of couture, of Dolcè and Gabbana. From there to Kolkata, the land of intellectuals, how has the journey been so far?
Matteo: As I matter of fact, I have been pretty comfortable here. Though I live in Kolkata I travel around India for work. I have been quite impressed with what I see here. India is not at all laid-back in terms of fashion. It offers a lot of creativity and has a young people who have a lot to say. Even the infra-structure around the fashion business is growing here. I meet young designers and I am stunned at what they have to offer. It definitely has huge potential.
How, according to you do the fashion schools here differ from the ones in Italy that have produced the greatest icons of the fashion industry?
Matteo: The basic difference lies in the infra-structure, courses and trainings. Here they should invest more in those. There is a lot more creativity here, they just need to be provided with help.
Do you plan to imbibe Indian rural art to your footwear designs?
Matteo: For sure! Infact we are already doing it. Some of the most beautiful textures, art, colors that I have seen in my whole life have been from India, and many designers are taking inspiration from Indian heritage. I will continue to imbibe the Indian roots in our collections to come.
Bata being a brand that caters to every kind of person, be the uber stylish or the regular clothed, how difficult does it get to cater to all kinds of customers?
Matteo: This indeed is a big task. The Bata stores are all family stores, catering to the needs right from the senior citizens to the toddlers and we have to satisfy everyone. We are paying special attention now to the younger generation, and by “young” people I mean young at heart. We are developing more as per their needs. We are trying to make sure that our collections are interesting for people looking for fresh contemporary styles.
Bata has been one of the first brands to introduce a platter of styles right from comfortable flats to six-inch heels with comfort. So how did that occur to the brand?
Matteo: Comfort is one of our main features. We will always persue that no matter what. Comfort in fashion lies in the DNA of the brand and is probably present since even before I was born (*laughs as we could not agree more*)
And here are some of the collections by the talented graduating students of INIFD, Salt Lake.