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There’s a conscious awareness about home-grown brands among shoppers: Purnam’s Indu Gupta

Indu Gupta, founding member of Purnam, that organises exhibition Rakhi: The Thread of Love, tells us how the 11th edition of the fashion expo is endorsing new concepts like ‘Make in India’ and boosting the textile’s momentum in the country


Indu Gupta, Purnam’s Founding Member

For more than a decade, Purnam, a community organisation curated to empower budding exhibitors, has not only created fashion exhibitions that are commercially successful but also shouldered the social responsibility of bringing neglected artisans and lifestyle crusaders into mainstream space. The four founders of Purnam ~ Saroj Bhatia, Indu Gupta, Jani Dhingra and Sarita Baluja ~ accidentally met each other in 1994 while working together for reputed NGO, Akshya Pratisthan. However, it was in 2006 when they decided to launch a platform that has now gained a sort of cult status. Excerpts from an interview:

What are the key highlights of Purnam 2017?
While like always we have our loyal exhibitors showcasing their beautiful works, we have a number of new designers and brands joining the family this season. Expect some great creativity in apparels, accessories and home décor. Along with the designers and artisans, we have four NGOs with some very innovative products, made lovingly by the communities they support.

Can you share some of the past milestones of Purnam?
What began as an experiment as a fund raiser in the city of Ludhiana, has reached its 11th year with this edition. After successfully organising exhibitions in Ludhiana, we spread our wings to other cities in Punjab and then came the opportunity to go international. In 2011, we took our talented exhibitors from India for a brilliant show in Dubai and there’s been no looking back since then.

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Designs by Queens Jewels to be exhibited at Purnam Exhibition

Since there’s an emphasis on ‘Make in India’, how is Purnam’s exhibition encouraging indigenous brands to grow and flourish in the market?
There’s been a gradual yet distinctive shift in the way people have begun to react to products that reflect the ‘Make In India’ ideology. While there’s no dearth of the international and high street brands that sell mass produced products at cheaper prices, shoppers have started to realise that with indigenous brands, it’s about, art, craft, quality and something truly individual. We at Purnam encourage every bit of this talent by giving them a hassle-free platform to exhibit and let their work be out there. While there is a basic screening process for everyone, we don’t say no to any artisan who deserves to showcase his/her products. Everyone deserves a chance to reach out to the right audience.

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Roliana – The Benaras Splendour to participate at Purnam Exhibition 2017

Indian textiles are the flavour of the season. Are you also vouching for handloom?  
If you love Benarsi weaves, you’ll be coming to just the right exhibition. Our long-time exhibitor, Roli Mehra, brings the most exquisite collection with her brand Roliana – The Benaras Splendour. Booblie Banerji is bringing the most artistic sarees all the way from Kolkata. To begin with, think handlooms topped with intricate Madhubani in the most gorgeous colours.
To sail you through the blistering summer, we’ve got Vintage Loom with its collection of hand-detailed handloom cotton shirts and kurtas. These and of course lots more!

Besides garments, what can one look forward to in terms of interiors and lifestyle?
We have put together a beautiful kaleidoscope of products for our buyers. Along with the most gorgeous Indian and Western wear, we have everything to complete a look. Think precious jewels from Shri Hari Diagems, fashion jewellery from the likes of Queens Jewels and everyday pieces from Saphhira Jewels. We have a mix of exhibitors selling stylish footwear, bags and accessories as well.
Festivities also call for never ending dinners and get togethers and for that, we’ll make sure you’ll be entertaining in style. From ornate serve-ware by Pret Homes to the prettiest home decor from Casa Bonita, you’ll also get the choicest of home furnishings to choose from.
And finally, we have something to tickle your taste buds as well. This year, give the exotic food a miss and treat your guests with something that will take them back in time. Nani Ki Mathi gives you a wide assortment of home-made sweet and savoury food that is definitely finger-licking good! Treat them later with the best mouth fresheners from Raja Suparis.

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A creation by Pooja Malhotra for Purnam Exhibition 2017

Could tell us about Purnam being the platform for artisans and NGOs, thereby directly endorsing a social cause?
For designers and brands operating in tier 1 cities, there are a number of platforms to reach out to urban shoppers. If not a physical store, there’s a booming online medium and then of course there are exhibitions. But for some very creative artisans from smaller cities, there isn’t an organised platform to reach out to potential buyers who may appreciate and know the worth of their skill. We at Purnam never refuse such artisans. Their art deserves to be shown to the world. Likewise with NGOs. You will more often than not, end up finding the most creative products at their stalls. In fact, we give the NGOs a free platform to sell their wares.

What is the message for exhibitors and customers?
Just enjoy yourself! Soak in the beauty and talent around you, get inspired and simply have a nice time.

What are the future prospects of Purnam? Are you taking the exhibition to other cities as well?
We have been offered to expand Purnam to other cities in North India as well as in Mumbai, but we are yet to fix on something. At the moment, we are focussing all our energies on the Delhi editions.

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(l-r) Purnam Exhibition founders: Sarita Baluja, Indu Gupta, Jani Dhingra and Saroj Bhatia

How did the Purnam team assemble and conceive the idea?
The four of us have been active volunteers with Akshya Pratisthan and are responsible for putting together their fund-raising exhibitions and cultural programmes. While organising these exhibitions, we realised that we could take this initiative forward by putting together more such events that give others a platform to showcase their talent and grow their businesses.
We had some time to ourselves and the ideas were pouring in. An opportunity came our way from Ludhiana to organise something similar there. We did our first show from Purnam in 2006 at the Rotary Bhawan in Ludhiana. Part of the proceeds was donated to Nirdosh, a school for mentally challenged children. The organisation was very happy with the response. Not only was the exhibition a grand success, it created a lot of awareness on what the Inner Wheel wing of the Rotary Club does and led to large donations from corporates and individuals towards Nirdosh.
We continued to do these exhibitions in Ludhiana and spread out to Chandigarh and Jalandhar and were now also supporting more NGOs such as the Guild for Service and Sudhinalaya in Delhi. In 2010, we did our first exhibition in Delhi and in 2011 our first in Dubai.  It’s been an enriching journey so far.

EVENT: Purnam Exhibition titled Rakhi… The Thread of Love
REASON: Festive Shopping, Discounted designer clothes
WHEN: July 17, 2017
WHERE: The Ashok Hotel, Chanakyapuri, Delhi
TIMING: 10:30 AM-8:00 PM


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