The fashion industry of Assam, compared to the past decade, has cultivated quite a positive ground in Assam. Numerous fashion personnel, whether they are designers, models, or consultants, have made a mark in the international scenario. Fashion designer like Sanjukta Dutta flaunted her creations at the Cannes Film Festival this year while models like Monikangana Dutta landed for numerous international brands, commercials, and magazines.
During the 1990s or early 2000s, there were a handful of models, about 15 to 20, who had to buckle down societal prejudices, redundant stigma, and all other odds to acclaim themselves as a model or land themselves in a music video, or a movie. The scenario has evolved with time.
Raaz Matazzo, the first fashion show of Assam, curated by Vikram Rai Medhi in 1994 was one of its kind that Guwahati witnessed. The show presented models like Miland Soman, Shyla Lopez, Shamolee Verma, Rohit Roy, among several others.
Poor pageants and shows affecting the industry
But amid this prosperity, it is not quite easy to build oneself in this industry, especially when the invasion of substandard beauty pageants and fashion shows have deteriorated the industry. Iconic magazine pages, a circle of followers, a glamorous lifestyle, and a glaring Instagram profile packed with glitzy party photographs tempt numerous young minds to pursue a career in the fashion industry. But beyond this glitziness, is the glamor industry of Guwahati smooth enough for a person seeking a career option here?
“In Assam, the fashion industry did not win much attention a decade back or two, albeit it was in the course of progression. The ones who surpassed that phase to reach this industry were strong models who know their work and its value. But now, there’s a beauty pageant or a fashion show almost every alternate day. Everyone is a model. This, unfortunately, bemused the industry. People began questioning the credibility of the people of this industry,” retorted Medhi, a senior fashion curator.
In another instance, an established model (anonymous) narrated, “The modeling ecosystem is turning faulty every day. Most newcomer models pay the organizers to walk the ramp and nobody seems to be complaining.”
A career in modeling is observed as a selection of class, elegance, and excellence. Seemingly, people now looked down upon the same as a “clouded choice.”
“When the supply increases, demand drops. Similar is the situation here in this industry. Without proper eligibility or grooming, anyone and everyone have become a model and a pageant organizer these days. There should be a proper forum or an association to look into these things and safeguard the respect and identity of the ones who have been working hard for ages to build a name or help the industry grow in the true sense of the term ,” added Stuti Choudhury, former Miss North East, anchor, and an actor.
How does the payment aspect affect models’ growth
Compared to the tier I cities like Delhi or Mumbai where an established model gets up to Rs. 60,000/- per show, the payment here is mediocre. And oftentimes, it becomes difficult for an aspiring model to depend only on shows and assignments for their daily bread.
Whatsoever, Mr. Medhi further added that despite this imbalance, models who are confident, well groomed, and gained healthy knowledge about their profession are celebrating their career with apposite assignments and payments.
It may not be much of an arduous task for models with a good academic graph and communication skill to place themselves. But for the inefficient and untrained ones, it is equally challenging as well as distressing to survive in this industry.
Retaining the lost glory with appropriate measures
The people representing this industry should carry out strict scrutiny and measures of its members and representatives. While the fashion industry is evolving with several new faces, original ideas, fresh paths, offering vivid horizons to the generations, it is equally important to set certain limitations and standards to retain its glory.
Fashion and style exist in the DNA of northeastern people. However, people need to be practical, have knowledge about the profession and industry they are representing. If placed on the right track, this industry can create a revolution in India.
Photo Credits: Sualkuchi Utsav and Celebrating Northeast by Vikram Rai Medhi