Moving on... with times
AVINASH KALLAAVINASH KALLA
Indian fashion designers are now moving on from mere outfit designing to other fields, all to strengthen their brand names
THE INDIAN designers are on an expansion spree. The big names in the industry are marching forward on the path shown by the Western designers. Will they succeed, however, remains the big question but there is no dearth of motivation... A Giorgio Armani store boasts of a state of the art fashion café and the designer has branched out to perfumes, cosmetics and accessories. Christian Dior is associated with cosmetics and skin care while Calvin Klein is hugely into perfumes and lingerie. Fashion designers in the West are more then mere designer label. They are brands.
Following their footsteps, Indian designers have started not just making more rounds to the fashion capital but also headed in the same direction. In a small span, the Indian fashion world has witnessed this trend making big inroads.
Raghavendra Rathore doesn't merely believe in dressing up his clientele but is also designing their living spaces and has ventured into chocolates with his brand Les Chocolates De Jodhpore. His new showroom at Lado Sarai here presents a range of chocolates and antique pieces for interiors selling under the brand name Rathore.
Ravi Bajaj along with restaurateur Ritu Dalmia has added another floor to his designer store in the form of a fashion café and now, will be dishing the visitors more than range of outfits. There is a shade more to this mosaic. Designer Payal Jain has penned Fashion Studies, a book on fashion specifically for the students of XI standard, who have opted for fashion-designing course as a part of their CBSE curriculum. The book is the first of its kind to be written by an Indian designer.
While Bollywood's favourite designer Manish Malhotra is seen hosting a show on the new channel Zoom. Rohit Bal and Malini Ramani have taken a shot at the silver screen with cameos in films like Boom and Hum Tum respectively.
So what prompted this sudden rising? Are the Indian designers today in a state to ape this Western model? Do they have the funds to sustain this development? They agree that it certainly is a tough task but a beginning has been made. "It is an investment for the future. Designer interiors or chocolates might not be a big thing today but I see them as an investment in the brand that is going to yield substantial returns in the future. Such concepts are a big and happening thing in the West and soon, India too will realise that," says Raghvendra Rathore who has done the interiors for the Sherbagh Resort in Ranthambore.
However, diversification is not everyone's cup of tea. For a designer to diversify, one needs to be well established in the industry and perhaps this is the reason why only big names are thinking of this concept. It's names like Rathore, Bal, Bajaj and likes that feature in this list of designers expanding their umbrella and venturing into untested waters.
To this, Ravi Bajaj says, "As long as the diversification is in a related area, it is a natural and positive progression." In addition, Bajaj says, "What I have created is a fashionable cafe. Food is part of lifestyle just as fashion is and this offers me an opportunity to provide my own clients with a sense of luxury and place for unwinding after shopping. It has been created to be run as an independent brand and Delhi certainly needs a café." And adds, "With this, the intention is to increase the foot falls and brand extension." However, not everyone wishes to move ahead with the diversification. It is just a welcome break from the daily designing schedules or a wonderful one time experience. "I penned down this book when the publishers came up with this idea. As CBSE was coming up with fashion designing as a subject and there wasn't any text book, I took it up as a challenge," says Payal Jain adding in the same breath, "It indeed was a challenge." Although, she will be writing the book for XIIth standard too, she plans to keep the pen down there. "It took me five months to put it down in whatever time I had. So there aren't any immediate plans yet."
Bal also reportedly put down to play the bad guy in director Tigmanshu Dhulia's Charas. A shift is seen but will it sustain? "It's too early to predict the future of this trend as fashion industry itself is in a nascent stage in the country.
But the way designers have successfully joined hands with corporate houses in creating distributing networks for their labels, who knows this too might pick up as well," says Payal.
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