I’m lucky that I don’t design cars for a living,” Rahul Mishra surprises us at the get-go. He explains a moment later, “As a designer I don’t think I’d be able to wait that long to see the finished creation!” In case you were wondering how long a fashion line takes from sketch to the last stitch, we’re told it takes anywhere between two and three months. Hold on, now we can process the comparison.
With his collection from the last Paris Fashion Week making its Indian debut right here in Chennai this week, we exchange Q and A that steers far away from up in the air travels and is fact, much closer to home.
The Reverse Migration Project
Ever since he won the coveted Woolmark Prize at Milan last year, Rahul has been a busy man. The Australian prize of $100,000 had him join the list of heavyweights in the biz like Karl Lagerfield and Giorgio Armani who previously bagged the honour. However, as we’re imagining swanky parties, Rahul jumps in the opposite direction. “I’ve been spending my time reverse migrating weavers (a hundred so far) from the slums in Mumbai, back home to their villages,” he tells us.
While it has been quite a task to convince these men of guaranteed employment, some of whom have spent over 40 years in the city — Rahul tells us it is all in a day’s work. “A single garment of mine sometimes has as much embroidery as a lehenga,” he shares. “To give you an idea,” he goes on, “that could employ about seven weavers for a week!”
So, the collection that will be on display at Evoluzione has been inspired by a ferryman, who takes his boat to far off places and then weaves a fresh tale with each garment. But Rahul let’s us in on a secret. His music as it turns out often has a much bigger role to play than travel. “I actually pick a playlist that goes with the theme of my designs, and then I just listen to it over and over,” he describes. From Adele’s Rolling in the Deep to the Interstellar theme — this designer seeks different company every time he is sketching a collection. “As a matter of fact, with this year’s Paris Fashion Week around the corner, I’m actually on the hunt for my next soundtrack!” he says.
This force to reckon with in fashion doesn’t pay too much detail to his own clothing. “I keep it simple with black and white mostly,” he says. However, one element of his look that has stayed constant over the years is his ‘rockstar hair.’ “I’ve had it long for 10 years now,” he says with a laugh when we ask him about it. And he adds after a pause, “Come to think of it, it helps me in this line of work.” During peak production periods when he can’t leave his studio for weeks at a time, he says, “I don’t have to worry about it ever growing ‘too’ long.”
“Most men head over the salon once a month,” Rahul states. And then adds in contrast, “I just need to go twice a year, and if that isn’t enough — a pony tail never goes out of fashion!”
Rahul Mishra’s Paris Fashion Week line will be on display for a month at Evoluzione, Khader Nawaz Khan Road. Contact 28333627.