Goa seems to be doing wonders for designer Arjun Khanna. After successfully launching a lifestyle salon, Vespa Rodrigues, he’s looking to launch a comic book now.
“The name Vespa Rodrigues slowly evolved into a full-blown character. I started sketching and realised that I could turn him into a comic book character. And I’d love the publisher to be Marvel comics,” he reveals.
The character’s attitude and love for bikes likens to the designer himself. Khanna says, “Those who are close to me think that he’s my alias. I plan to give him a family soon, maybe a wife and kids.”
While Khanna hasn’t set a deadline for publishing the comic book, Vespa has already appeared on his line of kurtas and shirts. He says, “I’ve introduced sketches of this character onto shirts and kurtas and the response has been very encouraging. They were completely sold-out. Besides, the drawings are completely mine, there’s no design team involved.”
Ask him whether he plans to expand his lifestyle salon space to Mumbai and he says, “I’d love to, but the cost of space in Mumbai is criminal. I don’t want this to be a hole-in-the-wall venture. My place in Goa is an old Portuguese villa. I can’t expect the same in Mumbai because these places are being torn down and replaced by high-rise buildings.”
The store in Goa exhibits vintage toys, cameras and antique furniture, including altars, as Khanna admits, “I have a penchant for Christian art.” Khanna’s sister recently designed a women’s line for him and he’s currently looking for young talent to help him design capsule collections. Looking for local talent “There’s plenty of local talent in Goa, including foreigners who have lived here for years. I’m looking to collaborate with young designers under the Arjun Khanna label,” he reveals.
When he’s not riding his collection of classic bikes through Goa and Mumbai, he’s busy restoring them. “I recently restored a 1960s Vespa, that’s where the name Vespa came from. I probably own more than 10 bikes, including Enfields, Nortons and Triumphs, divided between Mumbai and Goa,” he says.