“It’s believed that older generations don’t understand it or recognize it as a proper profession or something worth studying; design to them, just performs a function,” he added. “They don’t realize that it can create an impact. And with so few spaces for designers to show off their skills, it’s hard to change that perception.”
By turning seat covers into canvases, Avlani hopes to not only increase the visibility of young Indian designers but also connect with members of the public through visual storytelling.
So far, Taxi Fabric has outfitted six taxis. The success of its fundraising, however, means Avlani and company will be able to reupholster another 30, not to mention compensate drivers for taking their vehicles off the street for stripping and refitting.
At a rate of one refitted taxi per week, Avlani predicts an audience of at least 120,000 Mumbaikars by Christmas.
Still, the project can already claim success. “The taxi drivers have commented that they believe their customers are not only engaging with them more, but most of them also ask them about their designs featured in their taxis,” Avlani said. “Some have even told us that they are getting more fares because their taxis stand out in a way the other taxis don’t.”