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Mar 29, 2023

A take from Mumbai: “Dior in India is a gateway for cultural exchange”

Dior picked the historic Gateway of India monument for its new fashion show. Here Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of the Maison’s women’s collections, prepares to make history. From Paris to Italy and the United States, editors have shown their enthusiasm as their newspapers, magazines, and digital platforms turn the spotlight on India, not only as a source of inspiration for Western fashion or as a supplier of embroidery and embellishments but also on the country’s traditions and luxury market. You may wonder why. In choosing India as the destination for her latest work, Chiuri has also decided to write a laudable ode to her long-standing collaboration with Indian excellences, such as the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai. But what do the people of Mumbai think of this huge event? Maze35 asked the editors from Istituto Marangoni Mumbai school – four Fashion Business students – to share with its community their unique perspective straight from the city where the magic is about to happen. Here’s what they have to say.

On Mar. 30, Maria Grazia Chiuri will stage a fashion show at the historic Gateway of India monument in Mumba

On Mar. 30, Maria Grazia Chiuri will stage a fashion show at the historic Gateway of India monument in Mumba

Dior’s decision to host its Pre-Fall 2023 show in Mumbai is creating a major buzz. The luxury fashion giant’s choice of location is significant not only for the brand but also for the Indian fashion industry and the economy as a whole. 

India is a diverse and developing market that presents a prime opportunity for any luxury brand that looks towards it with utter seriousness. The country has not only one of the world’s fastest-growing economies with a huge expanding middle class. According to The Times of India, this segment is growing 7% - 8% annually and rising disposable income levels. On average, every Indian is earning 30 per cent more now than they made six years ago. India’s luxury market is rapidly growing, with a predicted 80% rise in the high-net-worth individual population by 2031. According to Frank Knight, India has the third largest number of millionaires. Euromonitor expects the Indian luxury market to grow from an estimated $5.9 billion in 2022 to $6.1 billion this year. Making it one of the most critical markets that should not be overlooked.

Dior’s long-standing relationship with the Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft, respectively an export embroidery house and its school in Mumbai, acts as a solid testament to the brand’s acknowledgement, and appreciation of Indian craftsmanship. The Chanakya School of Craft was founded in 2017 by Monica Shah and Karishma Swali of Jade to empower women from low-income groups with a source of livelihood. Both Dior and Chanakya have shared the same value system in their brand ethos: supporting, educating and empowering women. This in itself sends a strong message to anyone willing to listen.

Monica Shah, co-Founder of Jade and the Chanakya school of craft, in conversation with Rachana Singh, unit leader for Fashion Business and Postgraduate Programme at Istituto Marangoni Mumbai

Monica Shah, co-Founder of Jade and the Chanakya school of craft, in conversation with Rachana Singh, unit leader for Fashion Business and Postgraduate Programme at Istituto Marangoni Mumbai

This show may leverage more such prospective partnerships in India between luxury brands and regional artisans, wherein Indian craft and craftspeople can receive immense global exposure, respect and acknowledgement. Being one of the first brands to do this may evoke loyalty towards Dior. The rise of luxury brands entering India will also help develop luxury retail infrastructure, provide new business opportunities for local developers, and bring in more investments in the industry. Bringing significant investment and job opportunities in an already thriving market, contributing to the growth of the Indian economy and helping to increase the country’s GDP. Dior may create a ripple effect on the Indian fashion industry, paving the way for more international brands to accept this market and establish themselves here. 

Moreover, the expanding portfolio of international luxury brands in our backyard can help promote and encourage innovation in the Indian fashion industry. This can, in turn, lead to increased demand for ethical production methods, sustainable practices, and reduced waste, as luxury consumers in India have become more aware and educated about the importance of such practices. Furthermore, as more luxury brands settle in India, they may invest in sourcing sustainable materials here, as the country is home to numerous sustainable resources with a vastly positive impact on the local environment and communities. India is also home to some of the most ingenious and talented artisans globally, who specialise in traditional crafts such as weaving, embroidery, and metalwork. Global exposure can help support and further nurture this homegrown talent, strengthening the country’s position in the industry worldwide and getting acknowledged as a critical fashion destination.

By tapping into India’s rich cultural heritage, artisanal legacy, and growing middle class, luxury brands like Dior can help stir up the fashion industry in India. Inspiring local designers and consumers to incorporate new cultural concepts and aesthetics into their designs, we can expect to see a wave of innovation and creativity, with a strong push towards empowering and establishing women entrepreneurs. Furthermore, preserving crafts and educating everyone about cultural relevance will be a priority.



Tarush Jain, Vatsalya Shah, Vridhi Choksi and Vrushti Patel
Fashion Business students, Mumbai