Neeta Lulla Unravels Inferno 2021’s Theme and Takes Us Behind The Scenes of Her Fashion World

This article is written by the PR team, Inferno 2021

Design is all about creating new things, solving problems, and innovating constantly, and designers have the power to bring about change.

ISDI Mumbai, one of the leading design colleges in the country presents to you Inferno 2021- Asia’s Largest Virtual Intercollegiate Creative Arts and Design Fest.

The curtains of Inferno’s theme launch were unraveled virtually on the 30th of July 2021, by working within the protocols of the lockdown and keeping in mind the safety of all. 

This year Inferno 2021 welcomed the design maestro, Neeta Lulla to shine some light on Inferno’s grand theme “Illuminate” which means to bring to light changes we talk about but are yet to actually achieve. 

This year, Inferno will bring forward questions that affect society on a large scale and combine them with design to encourage young designers to see design as a broader aspect that has the strength to resolve issues and come up with real-time solutions that are beneficial for society.

“The illumination that is the fire within, is what keeps you going,” said the czarina herself. She states that “Shine from within and speak your mind and positive things. Be the light for yourself that guides you to say optimistic things”.

Team Inferno and Neeta Lulla, then indulged in a conversation of all things design!

  1. What keeps your passion alive, especially in an industry where after a certain time you feel burnt out?

True to Inferno’s theme, illumination is the key. I get a massive high on my work and every time there is a new or challenging project it pushes me into working further into it to keep working and making it better than what I have done previously and that’s what keeps me going. What’s important is apart from doing great work, feeling good is very important. It’s not about feeling good to show somebody else or to show how beautiful you look but for yourself to be able to feel beautiful and to convert that feeling of beauty and aesthetics to your work as well.

  1. You played so many roles in fashion when fashion wasn’t even a thing and then a costume designer in the big bad world of Bollywood and you went from costume to couture and bridal beautifully and then an educator as well. Which has been the most gratifying role for you?

You know it is something I haven’t thought of. I didn’t want to have it any other way, it had to be all of this which is gratifying and I have been greedy for all of this and I think the amount of work I get because of this satiates my greed and that has been most gratifying. I believe we all come from a generation where the focus wasn’t on a single thing, we had to be multitasking and in fact, multitasking happened to be your middle name. From sweeping the floor to being called a tailor, we have done it all. Also, everybody at the start went like oh! Filmy and today it’s one of the biggest things; people want to go to see films to be able to be inspired with their clothes, bridal outfits and the looks that are possible. Also, we aren’t just costume designers anymore. Today, I call myself a costume technician because of the fact that I bring in technology, characterization, and fashion statements to films. And coming on working in a big bad world, it wasn’t me who was adjusting to the industry but vice versa.

  1. Tell us a little bit about the Oscars and you being on the panel, how did that happen?

There’s a thing called IMDB that happens and I just put up my work about two years back and just before the announcement came during the last lockdown, my PR agency called and said, “Ma’am you are on the Oscars!” I said, “No! I am not getting any oscar what are you talking about?” and they said, “No you are on the jury!” and it took me a while to adjust to the fact that I am on the jury and there are 800 other designers who are on the panel from every country and I am one of them and the first one from our country to be part of this. I also recall going to the Dolby Theatre a while back and promised a director there that one day I will come here and you know not to take a photograph but to be an integral part of this place and the next year at the lockdown there I was. So if you believe it or not, you truly Illuminate if you speak positively and become a light for yourself.

  1. Designers tend to get inside their heads and often face a saturation. How do you deal with a creative block?

There is so much Inspiration around you. A creative block at your age specifically is impossible as anything can inspire you. Let me give you an example, I was in the gym and I saw an advertisement where an infant was found on the street at a place that shook me to the core but at the same time inspired me. I created a collection known as ‘Woman’. The collection I created was to show strength in the life cycle of a woman. The theme was so well appreciated that I was called to Rome fashion week. I believe we need to create things that inspire and touch our hearts because our brain can reach a dead end but the heart cannot.

  1. Your collections are so vibrant and your garments cover a wide range of styles but what do you prefer grandeur or minimalism? 

Honestly, I never saw the idea of garments in that sense. The garments I create have style, elegance, minimalism and at the same time a sense of grandeur. That’s my style statement. It might seem confusing to some but I like it. You all should also keep pushing your envelope and in fact, I feel, sometimes you should be your envelope.

  1. All the films that you have worked on have been immensely celebrated, which one is your personal favorite?

I have never had any personal favorites, I just do one film and move on to the next. Every time I think that my career has ended, there comes another film that pushes my sensibilities and challenges me to create better work. If you start clinging on to one work, then you can’t move forward, you need to just let go.

  1. So in today’s world technology is constantly evolving, new things are coming up daily and a new thing in the design industry is the use of digital art and digital forms of communicating and creating, So what do you like, designing digitally or by hand?

As an entrepreneur, I can sketch to save my life. There is a digital revolution happening right now. Post the lockdown people have realized different formats of working, different ways of doing, and different comforts of working because of which digital has hugely come to the forefront. The technological revolution has occurred on different avenues in a fashion that has opened up. Fabric texturing, fabric painting, printing, etc have become virtual. Even I did a digital course in the lockdown because that is the need of the hour, so I can definitely edit my pictures here and there but I am still technologically challenged I must say.

The evening was a great success not merely for team Inferno but everyone present there as they surely took something valuable and got inspired by Neeta Lulla.

She concluded her conversation by mentioning that during this pandemic the whole world was talking about sustainability, and stated that- “For us Indians sustainability is all about reusability.” “You see your wardrobe, it’s full of outfits you don’t want to wear, what do you do? shape it, cut it, style it for yourself, bring it together and reuse it, restyle it and restructure it and that’s how you come up with new and innovative styles. As students, this begins at your home so get into your wardrobe, look at the outfits you don’t want to wear, cut it up, restyle it and create magic”. “When you do that you will feel a certain kind of happiness, fire, and passion because you have achieved something from something that was not useful. For me, that is you guys shining and that is illumination for me so create whatever you can from whatever you have and have fun with it and you will achieve something different and something new”.

The inauguration ceremony was one step forward towards fulfilling the purpose of our theme ‘Illuminate’ as Neeta Lulla not only unraveled the curtains of the fest but also through her inspiring words lit a light in each one of the students presents to do something new that this world has never seen, that can bring a change in this world. As a fest working towards a change, Neeta Lulla stands as the true definition of the powerhouse of the design world and she rightly Illuminated the power and hope in each one of the members of team Inferno as we look forward to our main fest happening on the 26th, 27th and 28th of November, 2021 aiming towards building a virtual platform for all the young minds and hearts with a fresh perspective of the unpredictable world ahead of us.

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