Kolkata, Sep 11 (IANS) Despite the numerous design schools in the country, there is an absence of design history programmes, says design curator Mayank Mansingh Kaul, adding that in documenting the history of Indian textiles and fashion the period between late 1940s to 1990s has been “ignored”.
“India is perhaps one of the many countries in the world that has many design institutes, but not one design history programme. We have so many art colleges which teach art history but not one programme on the history of Indian textiles,” Kaul told IANS here.
The fashion designer was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of ‘Cloth And India 1947-2015’ edition by Marg, a magazine of the arts, on Saturday evening. The book was unveiled at the Oxford Bookstore by Latika Gupta, associate editor of the magazine. Kaul is guest editor of the edition which talks about the history of Indian textiles and on evolution of contemporary fashion.
Expanding on the documentation, Kaul underscored the importance of understanding the history of fashion in the contemporary period.
“With regard to Indian textiles, we have a lot of books on historical textiles and in the last two or three we have had some books on Indian fashion, but there’s a period between the late 1940s and the 1990s that has been ignored by history and is a very important aspect of our history.
“We have to know our histories better, especially, of our contemporary period,” he said.
Kaul reasons that design practice needs to be aided by design history, and for innovation in design, know-how of the past is important.
“Often I have seen designers do a lot of new things, and they have no understanding of the fact that these have been done earlier, and pass it off as very innovative. Whatever you do, you should be aware that it belongs to a certain kind of history and is not just coming from anywhere,” he added.