An Inter-school Fashion Designing Competition was being held. Our art students
were encouraged to participate. I was not an art student, but I had friends in
the Art Club and they invited me to help them with some ideas. They thought I
had creative ideas as I was always the one who came up with suggestions for
posters and presents. They asked me to come up with designs for skirts and
blouses, something completely new to me.
I spent quite a bit of time poring
through fashion magazines and books. Then, I got to work. Somehow, the designs I
produced looked commonplace. I felt they lacked originality. I asked my sisters
for their opinion. They politely praised them, but neither showed any
extraordinary keenness and interest in getting their dresses sewn according to
my designs. I was at a loss for ideas. My suggestions were due in two days' time
and I did not want to let my friends down. In desperation, I asked my brother,
who was good at digital art, to sketch a few ideas for me. He came up with
several designs, but they were rather flamboyant.
It was at this point that Grandmother came to my rescue. She asked me to go
into the garden and pick a few orchids and other wild flowers. I was very
puzzled by her request. Nevertheless, I complied. She asked me to sit by her
side and gave me what was probably the best lesson in fashion designing. She
picked up the orchid and turned it upside down. Then, she drew my attention to
the little "fairy skirt" that she held before me. Truly, it was a beautiful
skirt. The petals flowed beautifully. Next, she asked me to note how Mother
Nature chose her colors. They were exquisite.
The orchid had a pale shade of yellow blending into a
subtle shade of mauve. Grandmother went on to show me the marvels of
nature in the other flowers I picked. Nature indeed is the best example of
creativity and beauty.
In two days, I had four designs for my friends. The art teachers were
fascinated by my designs and choice of colors. My friends then added their
technical skills to my designs and produced the skirts and blouses.
On the day of the competition, I brought Grandmother along. On the runway
were our girls parading in our nature-inspired clothes. I felt the pride swell
in me with each step they took. And we took home the second prize that day.
Grandmother only told me later that she was an art student herself.