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Hope cloaks the able bodied

Posted December 6th, 2016, 12:02 PM IST

Hope cloaks the able bodied

Alarming body trends like the thigh gap and collar bone have been doing rounds on social media for quite a while now, making more women conscious of their body types. A number of young women even take drastic measures to adhere to these pre-designed measurements, which in turn lead to disastrous results.

Throwing some light on the sensitive issue, two young Bengalureans – Aloka Dsouza a designer and Nandith Jaisimha, a filmmaker came together to make a short film on women, body consciousness and fashion.

Needle’s Eye – Fashion Beyond Shape, documents the views of nine women from different age groups and fields of life, and how they are expected to fit into the typical body type, in order to look beautiful or be considered fashionable.

The idea sprouted in Aloka’s thoughts when people commented on her outfits, based on her silhouette. “I’m athletic and on the shorter side, and people would comment on how I couldn’t wear certain outfits because my legs were too athletic. And then I realised that people follow it only because that is what is dictated by the mainstream fashion designers – skinny models who fit the idea of perfect,” the 26 year old designer reveals.

“In design school too, we are taught to draw skinny models and design sole-ly for them. My measurement book was filled with different measurements for different bodies, and that’s when I realised that this is not how things work,” says Aloka, who then went on to look for interesting people from different fields, and managed to find most of them in her friend’s circle itself!

The idea that every woman, no matter what age group or background she comes from, feels the pressure to look and dress a certain way, is present throughout the film. “Initially they were hesitant to reveal their issues on camera, but we tried to make them as comfortable as possible by even shooting in their own homes and surroundings. We also didn’t want to cast actors. We wanted people who could tell stories of what they go through on a daily basis to give the film a more authentic feel,” admits Nandith, the director, about the film which gives off the feel that the women were actually conversing with the viewer.

“That was the whole point of it! I had a few structured questions to ask them but once they started talking, they were quite open about what bothered them, which seems to have resonated well among the viewers, because these are issues we all face. We are looked at weirdly if we shop from the men’s section, or ask for a figure hugging dresses if we aren’t skinny. But it’s more important to be comfortable in our own skin and accept that there is no ‘perfect’ body size,” says the headstong designer, in conclusion.