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‘I couldn’t change the market...'

The 24 x 7 newsmaker, Ravi Bajaj, confabulates with RochellePinto about why he split up with the Fashion and Design Council of India.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2008 20:33 IST
Rochelle Pinto

The 24 x 7 newsmaker, Ravi Bajaj, confabulates with

Rochelle Pinto

about why he split up with the Fashion and Design Council of India and more...



Ravi Bajaj doesn’t show at fashion weeks. Why?


(Laughs) I had no idea that that was my reputation. I’m not totally averse to fashion weeks. I participated in the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Moscow because it was prestigious and a new market. In India, the market knows me and I know the market.

What’s new in your collection?
In my women’s line, I’ve created an interesting silhouette that I call the poncho sari. It has three influences — it is a traditional sari, the back has the fluid structure of a Grecian gown and it also has the Mexican influence of a poncho. It was designed so that foreign markets would be able to relate to it.

How come you’ve often mixed traditional silhouettes with western fabrics like tweed?
Simple, I don’t think about it. Indian shapes are becoming universal. I keep trying to create new avatars. One way is to play with detailing. I experiment with epaulets, pockets, zips, you name it.

You’re known for minimalism. For a bling-friendly Indian market, what would you say is the essence of that style?
Unfortunately, I have to admit that I’ve been edged out of my minimalist approach. I couldn’t change the market, it changed me. Besides, Indian wear needs a little surface ornamentation, a little cheer.

Whom do you look at for inspiration?
My muse is the market. Fashion is not a fine art but an applied art. You’re catering to a market, not for yourself.

Why opt for both menswear and womenswear?
I don’t know how I’ve managed.. or if I’ve managed at all. Today, you have to be a brand. You can’t afford to say that you can’t do this or that. However, menswear is highly technical.. that’s probably why so many designers stay away from it.

How did you pick up the habit of collecting buttons?
(Laughs) I don’t have drawers spilling over with buttons. I source them for my collection. Buttons reveal the class of a garment.

Have you contemplated any parallel businesses?
I like doing interiors, so I’ve designed all my stores. Right now it’s just a hobby.

You are a classically trained singer.. ever thought of a career in music?
Oh no, I’m still trying to sing. I was part of a coterie of good singers and I was the only non-singer. So I decided enough was enough. Now I actually manage to hold a tune.

Abroad, editors of magazines and fashion critics are considered all powerful. What would you say of the scene in India?
Although the Indian fashion industry is just about 20 years old, fashion journalism has not grown in tandem with it. Very few people in the media really understand fashion or what the designer is trying to say. Today journalism is conducted over the phone or the Internet.

Why has the Indian fashion scene been hit with rifts and turmoil of late?
I was one of the founding members of the Fashion and Design Council of India.. I resigned because it was becoming too political. The split happened because of the ego of one stupid designer.

Your opinion on Fashion.. the movie.
I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve heard it’s too clichéd. I don’t think the director did enough research. By the way, no one in the industry is talking about it.