Edited excerpts from her IANSlife interview
*How can fashion contribute to a kinder world?
Internationally, a popular strategy among fashion brands is to collaborate with charitable causes as part of a cause-related marketing campaign. In these promotional campaigns, the company develops a unique fashion line, where with every item sold, the brand contributes funds to the non-profit charity.
The other thing that the world needs to follow is sustainable fashion. The throwaway culture or fast fashion with extremely cheaply priced clothing must stop. The current way we consume textiles exhausts infinite resources in a finite world and disregards the pain our consumption habits cause to our fellow humans.
Thirdly, cruelty meted out to animals in the fashion world is shocking. Every year, millions of animals are killed for fashion. People should realize that there's an immeasurable amount of suffering that goes into every fur-trimmed jacket, leather belt and wool sweater. Saving animals is as simple as choosing stylish cruelty-free clothing. Many variations of faux fabrics look and feel almost identical to the originals -- leather, suede and fur
*Please tell us about why you started this crusade against cancer?
I lost my father and a very young brother-in-law to cancer which became the impetus for me to do something for the less privileged fighting a very expensive battle. And therein started my association with the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH).
I set up a charitable foundation christened Mcan in association with TMH to help the head and neck cancer patients. To raise funds for these patients, I hold an annual charity gala and fundraiser at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai wherein glamour meets giving. It is a glamorous evening where people come and bid for a live auction of high-end goods and experiences which is followed by live performances and a fashion show of my creations.
Besides donating an ornate ensemble from my latest collection for the bid, I also give a percentage of the sales proceeds from my collection to TMH for the cause year after year.
*Please tell us more about the charity gala.
This year we have art, jewellery, destination amongst other things that will be going under the hammer. Jewellery by Farah Khan iamp; Paulomi Sanghavi, Rolex Watch by SVPL, hosting collection by Shaze, art curated by Parvez Damania and some exotic destinations courtesy Sajid Mittha are all going to be up for a bid with a celebrity helming the auction.
Actress Sunny Leone has pledged her solidarity towards my cause for this year's charity gala. Some more names from the world of Bollywood are expected to come on board. We will also have a Sufi singer's rendition of some melodies.
*How do you plan to scale your philanthropy initiatives?
My fundraiser has grown immensely over the years. In its first year in 2013, we raised an amount of Rs 32 lacs for TMH. The following year it went up to Rs 34 lacs and in 2015 it more than doubled to Rs 92 lacs. In 2017, we raised Rs 98 lacs. In 2018, we raised Rs 1 crore and 45 lacs. We hope to better the amount this year and help as many patients we possible can. In last six years since Mcan's inception, more than 1,200 patients have benefitted through the funds raised.
*What's keeping you busy on the work front?
Working on my fundraiser is currently keeping me busy. After this I will be working towards a line for the Christmas and New Year.
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at email@example.com)