If he’s nervous, he’s not showing it. At a city mall, to showcase his new menswear line, ace designer Hemant Trevedi is excited to have his parents in the audience. Amid all the drama, Trevedi manages to squeeze in time to put a hem on some questions. Over to him then:
It’s been a long time, were you in the hiding?
(Laughs) It may sound clichéd, but I strongly feel that one doesn’t have to be seen at social gatherings to promote oneself. I’ve been in the business for over 25 years now.. I must be doing something right. Then why should I scream when I can just whisper and be heard, eh?
You studied fashion at the Australian Technical Institute of Fashion Design before pursuing a career in India. How much of a difference does studying fashion abroad make to one’s career?
It depends if your target is the Indian fashionista or the international one. Talent is more than just spending ‘daddy and mummy’s’ money. Your parent’s name won’t get you far. I am very clear that I am an Indian designer.. that’s how I want to die being known as.
As a person who gave up lucrative job offerings to settle in India, where do you see the fashion industry headed?
(Thinks) It seems to be in a hurry. I wish the industry understood the disciplines of design before taking on elaborate ventures. Japan promotes designers as artists. We have a long way to get to that status.
Any designers whose work impressed you?
Ritu Kumar has kept the Indian ethos alive even in the international market. Tarun Tahiliani’s work is superb and Manish Arora’s is very creative. Among the new lot, I like Monisha Jaising’s work.
Do you plan to design for the Miss India pageant again?
I miss not being able to impart my knowledge of the business to the girls and making each one feel like a potential winner. But the chances of going down that route again are slim.
Any pageant winner you had fun working with?
Till date, I’ve trained six out of the seven international winners. Sushmita Sen was the only one I didn’t groom. I had fun training Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra. The most rewarding moment though was Lara Dutta being crowned Miss Universe the very minute I regained consciousness from a bout of coma post a fatal accident in 2000.
So what’s keeping you from going back?
(Smiles) Let’s just say that I’m not happy with the way the pageant is conducted now. You’ve always reiterated that respect tops your list. So complete the sentence. A designer loses respect when....he sells himself more than his talent.
What is your new menswear line about?
I’ve designed 120 shirts, as part of six collections for SDS. They’re real shirts for real men, which is why they will be available in small, medium and large sizes.
Weren’t you going to design a men’s underwear line too?
(Laughs) Yeah, you guys know about it already! I was in talks with VIP, but it’s not working out. Guess the company has other plans.
Why don’t you predict trends?
(Shrugs) There are fads, trends and classics. Trends are just fleeting moments. I see trend forecasts on TV all the time. Not even a quarter of those trends are actually followed by the layman.
Anyway, one can’t stop someone from wearing blue because it is not the ‘in’ colour. Heck, one can wear bell-bottoms even today if they feel like. But there is a faint buzz that yellow is the new black. I would like to differ.. black has no substitute. When in doubt, wear black.