At 18, when his classmates were slugging it out on the playgrounds, Prashant Verma was busy crafting portfolios and sending applications for internships with several fashion houses. Alexander McQueen saw the spark in him and as luck would have it, he made it.
He went on to train with Philip Treacy, John Galliano and Christian Dior. Verma now lives and works in Delhi, creating garments on a made-to-order basis, under his label Prashant Verma Design Studio.
I chatted up with him to find out what he’s been doing lately..
Early branding Work experience with four international design houses over a period of four years is a dream-come-true for a newcomer.
But Verma, a graduate from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), feels that it puts him on a different pedestal. “It raises expectations in the mind of the buyers. It means being more responsible and professional,” says Verma.
While he’s now creating exclusively for his own label, he says he will always cherish the experience of working with the brands. “I always wanted to come back. I did not go there to seek a job, it was to train myself,” he adds.
Of all that Verma learnt at the fashion houses, he values the experience of learning to design on a large scale. “It’s all about the scale at which quality garments are produced and the environment that one gets to be in,” he says.
Stamp of approval Verma has also received training from the old guards in India. His graduate fashion show was sponsored by Manish Arora, Tarun Tahiliani and Ashish Soni. He assisted Manish Arora for the internationally acclaimed collection that Manish produced for the London Fashion Week 2006/07.
He also assisted the duo Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna for their Autumn Winter WLIFW Grand Finale 2006/7. “It’s always an advantage to have a piece of the global pie, but Indian fash ion is growing at high speed,” comments Verma.
“Our masters are the ones who’ve taken Indian fashion where it is today. They are the most convincing and substantial bodies of work we have,” he continues.
Couture fixation Most of the established designers in India are now creating prêt more than couture. But Verma is determined about the fact that he isn’t afraid of starting with couture. “I know the market for prêt is growing and that I have an audience to cater to. But the toughest audience I need to satisfy is myself,” he states.
His focus is primarily on high end evening wear and his philosophy is to dress confident women.
Westerner in the making This year the Fashion Weeks’ debutantes like Zubair Kirmani and Nitin Bal Chauhan were touted as the stars of tomorrow. The designers showed a strong western streak in their creation.
“I know a lot is being done for textiles, embroideries and apparel. But I want to do something for the sake of fashion. My creations define me. So, what if they are western?” ends Verma.