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The runway to success


This young designer’s journey from Malhausi (a village near Kanpur) to Milan, to taking the glitzy ramps of the world by storm and touching many villages on the way, is no less than a success story. Rahul Mishra graduated in science from Kanpur University, before he moved to Delhi, unwilling to give in to his father’s wishes to become a doctor or an engineer.

What was meant to be a three-year apparel design and merchandising course kept him in college for six, as he attended all classes — filmmaking, furniture and animation, among others. “I utilised my time well. There was so much to learn, I didn’t want to leave the campus!” Rahul laughs.


National Institute of Design (NID) was his launch-pad for the debut at the ‘genNEXT’ show at Mumbai Fashion Week in 2006. He had created a collection made from Kerala handloom fabric, all of which could be worn inside out. When Sabyasachi Mukherjee called it a “dream debut” and the entire industry started taking notice, Rahul was all about learning from his mistakes. “It was surreal. I was still in college and couldn’t handle the production properly. Difficulties were only opportunities to learn from.”

He places a lot of value on trends and stresses its’ importance for both designers and shoppers. “Fashion is synonymous with trends, and they don’t just come out of thin air. They come from political and social issues like climate change and biodiversity. As a designer, you should try to find trends from the times,” opines Rahul, whose latest collection, Monsoon Diaries, draws inspiration from the rains.

We ask this runway regular for his opinion on celebrities walking the ramp. “It works for certain designers but not for us. Fashion needs to have its own strength and the collection should talk, not the celebrity. It negates the point when the only thing people want to know is ‘who is the showstopper’,”

he avers.

Like others of his time, including Aneeth Arora and Madhu Jain, Mishra lends his support to the craftsmen. There are about 500-600 families that are dependent on each of his collection. “Fashion cannot be in isolation from the craft and textile industry. The craft and textile industries contribute to 12% of the Indian GDP. It’s also the largest exported commodity. We are too focused on showstoppers and the real sense of fashion needs to come in,” he says.

The designer’s go-to style is comfy sneakers, denims and shirts, and has a dream to employ one million people with social benefits, 10 years from now. Mishra also has the prestigious Woolmark Prize under his belt, which he won in 2014. He says that there is no typical Rahul Mishra woman. “A woman who wears my label doesn’t want a compliment on her outfit, but on how she looks. My ideology isn’t to create costumes or give you a new personality, but add to yours.”

‘Monsoon Diaries’ available at Evoluzione from today

Sustainable style

Mishra is all about taking it slow and investing in pieces that stay in your wardrobe longer. It’s also about making a judgement call and moving towards brands with better social practices. “What people have written about cotton fabric may not be true. Sometimes, a polyester T-shirt might be more eco-friendly. If you need 1,000 litres of water for one cotton T-shirt, so you have to go for the lesser evil,” he says.Read more at:evening dresses online


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