He has returned from Milan after a year's MA scholarship in Fashion Design from Instituto Marangoni.
What lessons did you learn in Milan?
Certain crucial aspects of design like brand positioning, intense exposure, importance of visual merchandising and quality control. More importantly, I found my true identity as a designer. My partner Samar Firdos and I do not fancy calling ourselves ‘fashion designers’. Fashion is a superficial word. We do not idolise designers like Armani and McQueen.. we don’t want to become like them.
What would you say is the USP of your label?
The USP is that we are concerned with reviving the crafts of India. We come from simple middle class backgrounds. e don’t dream of rolling around in money.. travelling in yachts. If we, as designers, are not bothered about the craftsmen, who will be?
But hasn’t that become a mere marketing tool? Some designers use a rare fabric and call themselves revivalists..
Do you knowthere are thousands of women who just earn Rs 2 an hour doing chikankari work at home. They have been doing this work for ages. We designers use their craft and make 100 per cent profits out of their labour. Is that fair? I don’t give a damn about crafts but I do for craftsmen.
Doesn’t fashion pull you in a strong way?
Honestly, I don’t think we will be doing this all our lives. Five years later, maybe you could be asking me, “Rahul what about all your big talk?” We have just started in the business and have real financial constraints. I guess it’s the call of the conscience.
While you were in Milan, Samar Firdos managed the collection for the Lakme FashionWeek. How?
I came to India last year in January. We decided that the fabric we used would bring out the essence of the collection. Later, we drew sketches and mailed them to each other. Yes, but the real thing was lacking.. and that was obvious in the collection. We weren’t really satisfied.
Talk is that you will be applying for the Milan Fashion Week this year. You showed at the Australia FashionWeek few months ago. Why hop around?
Yes, we are considering Milan Fashion Week but it’s not finalised yet. Showing at Milan and Paris is a dream come true for any Indian designer. I have a Milan connect, so it will be easy for me to go back. As for the Australian Fashion Week, it was a profitable opportunity.
What will you be showing at the Lakme Fashion Week next month?
A new interpretation of the way garments are stitched. A new technique of pattern making will be the highlight of the collection. For example, every stitch on the garment will be invisible. I’m a science student.. I use science and
architecture in the process of making clothes. World famous designers like Hussein Chalayan are doing this too.