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Unfolding Designer Anju Modi’s Tale of Attaining Success And Making
Anju Modi has been an integral part of Indian fashion industry and the constant driving force behind the growth of fashion in India for over two decades. This famous couturier is known for a seductive ,exquisite and and authentic combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern trends in the outfits designed by her. A glance over Anju Modi’s exemplary tale of success and struggle offers an interpretation that goes back from collapse of her marital relationship to commencing a consistent journey of exerting herself to obtain inspiration for her work of creativity.Her wide ranging work-experience with weavers and craftsmen in various regions of India and extensive analysis and observation of traditional fabrics pattern and techniques for a long period period of time has enabled her to offer costumes that celebrate rich heritage of crafts of India.
Modi’s upbringing take place in Rachi. Modi was just 18 years old when she got married. Unfortunately she did not enjoy a blissful married life. Having tried for 10 years to make the relationship work, she was compelled to walk out of the marriage one day. She also had to leave her eight year old son there as the Constitution of India did allow the custody of a minor child to be given to the mother. She had to have a hard time both financially and emotionally. But despite giving up and shedding tears she had chosen to fight the existing situation. Destiny might have a different plan for her. She did not know that the existential struggle she she was going to undertake to sustain herself will ultimately establish her distinct identity in Indian fashion industry.
First and foremost what she did is to find what she is good at and then she came to realize her existing passion for painting and making sketches. In Bangalore Modi’s sibling owned a textile business and was in contact with many a weaver.She found a medium of expression through which she could both articulate her creative impulse and nurture her passion for creative ingenuity. She started visiting the homes of those weavers and started to learn weaving. Sometimes she even stayed with them. This is how Anju Modi’s journey of absorbing the essence of diversified Indian tradition of weaving and craftsmanship and translating that learning into work through her creative faculties began. Also coming in contact with the calm state of nature in these of process of learning alleviate mental stress. During the initial days of her learning, she travelled to Bangalore, Chennai, Kanchipuram. Later she also travelled to Rajasthan, Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra. Working with the craftsmen of these regions of India added to her experience and strengthened her mainstay too.
After seven years Modi had been able to meet her son who was then 15 years old. Modi became financially stable by this period of seven years. She fought and also won her son’s custody which proved to be a crucial turning point of her life. She launched her own label in 1990. Since then she has been recognized a robust yet calm driving force in the growth of India. Also she is one of the founder members of the Indian Fashion Design Council of India. She has dedicated over twenty years of her life to understanding traditional Indian fabrics, handlooms, crafts and techniques and worked on tradition of weaving consistently with skilled artisans across the country. She has also worked on vegetable, block printing, old traditional embroidary, dying, handloom fabrics.
Modi made her bollywood debut with Sanjay Lila Bhansali directed film Galliyon Ki Rasleela- Ram Leela, a 2013 film which starred Ranvir Singh and Deepika Padukone in lead roles. She utilized this opportunity to the fullest to exhibit her extensive study on and fine skills works with traditional sartorial looks of India. The look of the character of Deepika Padukone that is Leela was actually inspired by the rustic life of Gujrat. Modi had to have research for six months which involved travelling to the interiors of Gujrat to comprehend the culture and textiles of the region which enabled her to mould her design aesthetic according to the demand of the movie. She got orders in abundance from women around the world who wanted the outfits supposed to be containing more of the essence of Ramleela.
Having celebrated sartorial styles of Kutch in her previous work, Modi again paired up with Bhansali for his next epic historical romantic film Bajirao Mastani. This time she travelled across the state of Maharastra for months. She visited places such as Paithan, Nashik, Pune, Ajanta. As Nizams and Peshwas belonged to the same period of time, she also spent time observing and analysing various materials and miniature paintings that were available in the Salurjung museum in Hyderabad and that also provided her assistance in creating relevant, seductive and mesmerising look of the film. She prepared notes on the Marathas and their dress up. Her research took approximately two years to be completed. Her extensive research resulted in the costumes that earned her fame and great popularity not only in India but from abroad as well. What is more interesting is that not only Deepika’s floor skimmimg Anarkalis and Angrakhas in transparent fabrics coupled with Farshi pajamas created a huge demand but also the designs of the costumes of Bajirao made a timeless aesthetic appeal among the audiences. It was no only the film itself but also the exquisite and elegant outfits designed by Modi attracted positive feedback and critical acclaim to the film.
Modi is now looking forward to teamed up again with Bhansali on one of his projects which is based on the life of Amrita Pritam as she had not worked in Panjab. She is curious to work on phulkari in her own distinctive way. Talking about the experience of working in film projects, she has said that it has invariably been a task of challenge for her to work on a period film as costumes do play a pivotal role in portraying the features of the era. Considering the scale and research conducted, the works were rather a source of excitement for her. It was nothing but a creative rush to work with such a director as Sanjay Lila Bhansali. Modi feels that Indian audiences have grown quite mature to understand that which actually suits and works for their personality and which not as they have got rid of the habit of following fashion trends blindly.
Popular bollywood divas have have walked for Modi on ramp. Madhuri Dixit walks for Modi on Indian Couture Week 2012, organised by Fashion Design Council of India, popular television actress Sakshi Tanwar became showstopper for Modi on Amazon Indian Fashion Week 2017 , Kangana Ranaut walked for the designer in India Couture Week 2014,Deepika Padukone walked for Modi on Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2015. Dia Mirza became showstopper for Modi in India Couture Week 2017 Modi’s creativity was lauded and appreciated with such awards as 20th Annual Screen Awards, 9th Star Guild Awards for her costume designing. In 2010 she was nominated for the Best Indian Designer Award by Marie Claire. Modi was asked to exhibit her collection at the Handloom Week, an initiative taken by the Ministry of Textiles. She supplies in large quantity a wide gamut of expensive boutiques in international market and for her NRI clients in countries such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Dubai, London, California, San Franscisco, Miami, Singapore and Hong Kong. The House of Modi consists of two labels, the one is Anju Modi and the other one is am:pm, conceptualized by her children Ankur and Priyanka. She also was on e of the receivers of Devi award, 2014.
She loves to take inspiration from various characters who emerge from world history, literature, different culture and walks of life such as Devi, Charulata, Paineeta to Draupadi, Radha. All those elegant and exquisite works of designs and boutique are just the results of translation of such inspirations.
The designer’s personal favorite is colour-blending in such a way that the combination will denote the presence of Indian heritage and trendy, contemporary sensibilities and intuition simultaneously. She always has desired to bring about the creation of colour through the mixing which will display innovation in design integrating famous legacy of handloom and distinctive Indian flavour.
Modi believes in simple statements and look which will have a lasting impact. Her designing secret is all about exploring and nurturing the rich Indian heritage of handloom while combining them with a wide gamut of inspiration and moulding according to the trends and afterwards translating them into her work.The only thing that Modi’s tale of success reflects is that nobody can empower or strengthen our existence rather we ourselves have to undertake the existential struggle of your life.