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Fashion: Chic clique

Abdul Halder, the 26-year-old fashion designer, whose first assignment was to design clothes for Michael Jackson, has launched his own label Halder Miraya's and caters to Bollywood celebrities within six years of starting out his career. Namita Kohli reports. Up, close and personal |Q&A | Stylists can earn pretty packages | Career ladder | Institutes in Delhi | Pluses & Minuses | Skills required | Quirky facts | Institutes in India | 'Luxury market has great growth potential' | Fashion industry at a glance

delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2012 12:32 IST
Namita Kohli

When your first assignment means designing clothes for Michael Jackson, you know you are not quite off the mark in your career. Even if everyone around you thinks you are a

darzi

.



“Or someone who runs around with an inch tape, as my father would say,” laughs Abdul Halder, the 26-year-old fashion designer, who completed that coveted assignment in 2002.



And there’s good reason to look back at it all and laugh now — within six years, the graduate from the Pearl Academy of Fashion has launched his own label Halder Miraya’s, retails to three high-end Mumbai stores, caters to Bollywood celebrities and is touted as one of the promising designers amongst the young crop.



In between, he’s also done a stint with a European fashion house SB Italia, that included “cutting apart designer wear from Krsna Mehta’s to Tarun Tahiliani’s”, taking out the embroidery and using it for his creations for royal families in Middle East.



“It was my passion for glamour and creativity that drove me to fashion,” says Halder, who’s just got over his show at Lakme Fashion Week. “This time I worked on the theme of paparazzi, exploring the notion of being the centre of attention.”



The theme also mirrors his aspirations — which wasn’t really happening with his family business of leather, or the export house where he did an internship after passing out in 2002. “For those two months, I just did 3 shirts. No innovation at all.”



So he decided to start his own label, but profits eluded him. Soon his first stint at the Fashion Week in 2003 got him noticed and he landed a job at SB Italia.



It was those three years-and-a-half years that proved to be the turning point in his career. “We would start at 9.30 am and end at 11 in the night, with just an hour for lunch. I learnt that every detail matters: stitching, trims, fusings, all of course, backed up by good machinery, which is lacking in India,” says Halder. But he knew he had to come back to India.



Luckily, when he started out with the Fashion Week in 2006, good response followed. “Though a lot of the Indian market is still about ethnic wear, my kind of western wear has found a clientele in the cosmopolitan markets like Mumbai.



Well-cut silhouettes and technical finesse is making all the difference for me,” he says, juggling between phone calls and his buyers, who keep trooping in at his Shahpur Jat store.



Today, his gowns and dresses for women range from Rs 2,000 and Rs 60,000 and the ‘popular’ men’s jackets he does go up to Rs 40,000. “A lot of my stuff also goes for wholesale. That’s how I have managed to gain in a market that only wears names,” he says. Now with some 50 regular clients — including celebs he can’t name — Halder, who’s also eyeing Bollywood, says he has just managed to “break even.”



But there’s a lot more to achieve. “I want to break the notion that in India, only embroidery sells.” Just like he broke the notion of the darzi.