Organising shows for a cause or collaborating with NGOs, the fashion fraternity often indulges in charity work, but many are of the opinion that these attempts do not actually help the beneficiaries and that sometimes it's just to grab eyeballs.
Arundhati Sharma, who is associated with a Delhi-based NGO, says it's all about creating a sensation and being in the news because there is hardly any profit that a charity organization receives.
"I am associated with a charity organization that works closely with some of the known names in the fashion industry. These designers only help the NGO when the media is involved; otherwise they don't have time to spend for such cause. Also, it's all about sensation and being in the news," she told IANS, requesting that her organistion be not named for obvious reasons.
Part-time teacher Asha Kumari, who has been a beneficiary of an NGO, had a slightly different take on this.
"There are many NGOs I have been to. I got to know that in some of them, whatever benefits they got from big names did not percolate down to those it was meant for. This is unfortunate," Asha Kumari told IANS.
For make up-artist Lovell Prabhu, the association between a designer and an NGO is usually about getting the limelight.
"Fashion, I feel, has always been dominated by what interests the buyers and the media. Backing a social cause is one such way where designers get noticed. Honestly, one can't say how much support an NGO is getting from these sources," he added.
But there is a flip side.
For instance, Mumbai-based designer Anita Dongre is committed towards the cause of going green.
"What I have seen with the association is that the NGO Shop for Change offers best deal to farmers so that they get an option to earn more money. Also, the partnership helps me in buying silk cotton from certified cotton vendors on an affordable price," she told IANS.
Handloom revivalist Ritu Kumar is known for promoting the traditional Indian industry through her collection and label, while Ritu Beri has associated with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
A few months ago, Archana Kochhar created a line of 50 garments exclusively for BETI, a social initiative against female foeticide started by television personalities Anu Ranjan and Shashi Ranjan.
"As charity begins from home, I think our social behaviour also sprouts from our comfort within the four walls of our homes. One should respect each other, should not take them for granted and respect their individual self-esteem, by offering them the necessary breathing space where they can flourish and have an enriching personality and this is the reason why I support BETI," said Kochar.
Designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil, whose brand has been associated with charities like Khushii, Elle Breast Cancer Campaign and Samarpan Foundation, feels when one works for a cause life becomes more meaningful.
"We strongly feel that fashion affects the life of many people and if the same thought process works for special causes, then life becomes more meaningful," said Shantanu Mehra.
Neelam Pratap Rudy, general secretary of NGO SETU Foundation, felt the presence of a celeb could definitely help such organisations.
"Association with an NGO is the noble thing which one can do for society; so it is their responsibility to give their best without being partial and selfish," she added.
(Nivedita Sharma can be reached at email@example.com)