Manjima Bhattacharjya shines light on dark aspects of India's fashion industry
On May 24, Manjima Bhattacharjya released the book “Mannequin – Working Women in India’s Glamour Industry” which shows a number of widespread issues in India’s fashion industry illustrated by in-depth interviews.
Recently released with the publishing house Zubaan, Bhattacharjya’s new book “Mannequin – Working Women in India’s Glamour Industry” contains 30 in-depth interviews with professionals in India’s fashion industry. From these interviews and her own research, Bhattacharjya posits that a major issue in the Indian fashion industry is that models’ work is not respected which often leads to exploitation and even sexual harassment.
According to the “The State of Fashion” report by McKinsey, India is the fastest growing market in the global fashion industry. Bhattacharjya writes: “You would think the economies of glamour would be organized, structured with well built systems, but a closer look showed in it characteristics of the informal sector – unskilled, with a floating labour population, relative ease of entry, operating on informal transactions, with no minimum remuneration, a chain of third parties facilitating work between two parities and absence of any institutionalized body to oversee or regulate matters arising from conflict.”
Bhattacharjya lists many cases where female models were taken advantage of financially and sexually when working in the Indian fashion industry. She highlights the need to address this problem and posits that respecting the work of fashion models is the first step.
In the book, Bhattacharjya also writes about some of the more positive aspects of the industry. Writing that fashion can allow people to “step across class and caste boundaries”, she does praise the industry for its creation of opportunities for social mobility. However, Bhattacharjya argues that this is not sufficient and that much work needs to be done.
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