New Delhi: Fashion platform AiSPi has launched a new campaign called 'Virtual Fashion Vacation' to Europe!' - a first of its kind 21-day summer vacation and fashion voyage for the Indian consumers, bringing a distinct selection of 25 contemporary, inaccessible European designers and brands together.
It aims to bridge the gap between consumers and the hidden gems of the fashion world, driven towards promoting unique experiences while connecting creative and fashion lovers to local designers and boutiques in Europe.
The tour will offer an experience for everyone combining art, cuisine, travel adventures, popular markets, history walks and more, with the most exciting designers, store owners and fashion insiders.
Some of the designers on board include L'alingi, Fyodor Golan, Izaak Azanei, Rosantica, Nita Suri, and 0711.
IANSlife spoke to Aisha Saraf Kothari, Founder, AiSPi, to know more about the campaign and the idea behind it. Read excerpts:
Tell us about the idea behind this campaign
Our team sat down and we thought hard on what we are going through right now and where we can be as a fashion platform or as a company that has always stood by the feeling that 'fashion is an experience' - where can we play a role. That's when we realized that today people are in a very unhappy and not in the most positive state of mind. Hence, when people are in such a state normally, a vacation is what generally gives them a breather to refresh and rejuvenate which unfortunately is not possible at this point in time.
That is why we thought of this idea of a virtual vacation; it's going to consist of taking people for 21 days with a new travel experience each day, a new conversation every day and also a new designer who is going to come on board and talk about what they are doing.
Why do you think something like this was needed?
We think something like this was needed purely to take people outside of their current state of mind to instil positivity and something which connects them with what they considered as normal. At the same time, we also think this is needed because our aim is that fashion is beyond consumerism; fashion is an experience, it's an expression, it's a work of art. Through this, it's also allowing us to bring our consumers, our clients closer to that ideology. The conversations that we will have, the connections that we'll make with the designers and different regions, the idea is that will allow us to connect what you wear and what you buy beyond just retail therapy.
Moving ahead, what role do you think the digital world will play as far as fashion is concerned?
We believe digital definitely always has and will continue to hold a massive role in fashion. But, we also believe in an omnichannel, online-offline effort, that's how our entire business is structured. Let me explain that a bit further...
When you think of having a meal what are the first thoughts that come to you when you want to step out? If you can easily consume something that you can order at home, why will you take that effort to dress up, get in your car, find a place, make a reservation and then eat. Rather, just order in. But, at the same time, if you know that the entire meal is going to be an experience where you can meet your friends, have conversation and extend it beyond just a quick consumption moment, then you will make that effort and you will cherish it forever.
Let's translate that into the fashion world, it's the same thing. I feel, digital adds a layer of efficiency, effectiveness and speed which a face-to-face maybe doesn't. But, what physical retail does is makes things into an experience that cannot be forgotten and that's where I see the future of digital - it's here for scaling, connecting, for being efficient and you need to have that offline physical human experience to make it unforgettable.
How do you see the future of fashion in India?
India is a land of talent and skill like no other. When I curate here in the western world, and they sell the concept of 'handmade' to me as couture, I almost smirk because I am a proud Indian that has had the luxury to wear handmade all the time. India has a gold mine of karigars, materials, skill and design. In the western world, things that are scarce are found in abundance and almost taken for granted in India. And that is where the future of India lies. In recognizing how to take that skill and craft and making it a global phenomenon.
Rahul Mishra has done an excellent job of this and is the perfect example of how to take the Indian skill and reach global recognition. Hemant and Nandita are another brand who are often seen in a global setting as is the boutique store Varana in London on Dover street.
We as Indians need to take our craft and adapt it the very slight bit to cater to a wider audience of 7 billion people.
On the other hand, there are ofcourse areas where India does miss a western contemporary touch. The future of fashion in India is opening its doors, to internationalize its local designers and give its local people access to western brands as well. It is to make Indians a global power economy of sale and consumption.
Tell us about your journey in the industry
I don't actually come from a background in fashion; my background in fact is in strategy... I'm a consultant by nature and what we do is, we try and see what's the problem and find a solution. Meanwhile, I think I was always really enamored by the fashion world and not having any formal education or training but being this outsider who loves this industry so much gave me an unbiased view into it. This is where we launched AiSPi and it really started as a place to bridge gaps.
It started with the simple ideology today that every time I travel or every time I walk into a place, I want to walk away with an unforgettable memory.
In fashion, the one thing which is actually the most wearable expense that you will make, it's still considered consumerism. For instance, today someone can go into an art gallery to pick up a piece of art which will be hanging in your room only to be seen by a few. But, the dress you will wear which will be seen by hundreds is not given that much thought or it's not enjoyed or appreciated as much. That's really where we started AiSPi; how do we connect this everyday consumer, the one that's looking to express themselves to the hidden gems of the fashion industry.