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Home / Brunch / “When I was 22... I was always hungry!” says David Abraham

“When I was 22... I was always hungry!” says David Abraham

The fashion designer tells us his biggest dream then and the life lessons he’s learnt over time

brunch Updated: Oct 18, 2020, 10:30 IST
Veenu Singh
Veenu Singh
Hindustan Times
David Abraham at NID with Rakesh Thakore (behind him) and Archana Shah (next to him), founder of Bandhej and Padmini Nair and Reena Singh (far left)
David Abraham at NID with Rakesh Thakore (behind him) and Archana Shah (next to him), founder of Bandhej and Padmini Nair and Reena Singh (far left)

Hello David... at age 22, where were you career-wise?

I was still completing my studies at the NID in Ahmedabad. My life was all about weaving and printing of textiles then. No career to speak of.

And your finances?

Probably zero. I received a regular allowance from my father, which would get exhausted by the end of the month.

David during his graduation days at National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad
David during his graduation days at National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad

Any romance in your life?

None. I was single.

What was your focus in life?

Study, work, eat. Not necessarily in that order. I think “eat” came first very often. I was always hungry.

A girl dressed in a khadi garment designed and printed by David
A girl dressed in a khadi garment designed and printed by David

And your mindset...?

Hopeful. At that stage of my life the future was an empty slate. So much seemed possible. I could dream.

Was your family supportive?

My family was my rock. They gave me a tremendous sense of security.

David when he was a 22-year-old
David when he was a 22-year-old

Tell us what your fashion sense was like in those days.

Very scattered. I transitioned through wide flares and pleated baggies. From polyester to khadi. From platform shoes to Bata-Quovadis sandals.

“[40 Years ago], we walked for miles, but not for reasons of fitness. It was always to get somewhere!”

What did you do for fitness?

I didn’t even think about fitness. We walked everywhere. Miles sometimes. But that wasn’t for reasons of fitness. It was simply to get somewhere.

The Indian fashion designer, now, in his early 60’s
The Indian fashion designer, now, in his early 60’s

And your most prized possession at age 22?

Rotring Rapidographs were the drawing pens we couldn’t live without. We were the pre-computer generation of designers, when we drew everything by hand.

Your biggest dream then?

To become a good and successful designer. I didn’t realise then that these two objectives are far from compatible.

David’s focus on life then was eat, sleep and repeat
David’s focus on life then was eat, sleep and repeat

One thing you’d want to rewind and change about your 22-year-old self…?

I think I could have taken more risks. I was careful, staying within my comfort zone. There are huge opportunities in letting oneself go, in taking risks.

The biggest lesson in life from that phase?

That creativity and beauty lie everywhere. And that, in design, the simplest ideas can often be the best and the most effective.

From HT Brunch, October 18, 2020

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