Change is the only constant, as we all know, and reinvention is the key to evolve and grow. Which is exactly what Satya Paul is doing. Founded in 1985, the brand with strong colours and patterns as its ethos has illustriously dominated the world of saris. It is now extending its focus towards a more versatile and ready-to-wear series of apparels. Think handbags, scarves and stoles, ties, pocket squares and cufflinks. Under the leadership of Creative Director Rajesh Pratap Singh, the brand recently debuted its contemporary collection at its new concept store in DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj, Delhi.
So how does Singh mix and match his vision with the design ethos of Satya Paul? “Mr Paul revolutionised the fashion industry and monumentalised bold and big prints in the 1980s with modern and traditional textiles from across the world, both machine-made and handmade. The brand has the same values now as it did back then, but with a more modernised and relevant creative direction. When I was approached to create a new artistic direction, I knew that Mr Paul and I have the same brand sensibility and design roots. For me, it was a synergy of two brands that think and create alike,” says Singh.
The shift in product focus needed to be reflected in the stores as well (more than 25 independent ones across India). Little wonder then that the new concept store showcases an inclusion of distinct materials such as tinted glass, gunmetal fixtures and contemporary jaali, which add a lighter element. At the same time, it retains the old school charm of wood, terrazzo and the traditional richness of brass. “The design philosophy for the store is definitely a step forward but stays true to the brand’s soul. It is more of an experience centre,” says Singh.
Elaborating on his old connection with the brand, Singh says, “I have known Mr Paul since I was a design student at NIFT nearly 30 years ago. His teachings had a profound impact on me and over the years, I had been in touch with both him and his son.”He reiterates that Satya Paul always has and will continue to stand for the strong, independent and bold men and women of fashion—the people who are unafraid and experimental. But at the same time, he agrees that what was relevant in the ’80s and ’90s is not necessarily relevant today as tastes and trends continue to evolve.
“We are constantly reinventing ourselves with changing times. We all share the same spirit and essence as the late Mr Paul and continue to use it as our inspiration and vision board,” he says. In order to appeal to a younger audience, the brand has now entered into an all-new menswear arena, besides accessories. “I believe that there is an excellent synergy between my design essence and Satya Paul. He was one of the finest creative minds ever. The iconic big, bold prints needed an upgrade,” Singh adds.
So, as the iconic brand undergoes a makeover, is sustainability a mainstay? “Sustainability has to be a key component of anything and everything we do. It must be tackled in its entirety and not only in business but in our lifestyle as well. It’s a continuously ongoing effort that takes years to accomplish. In the fashion industry, sustainability is a journey that designers and manufacturers have to take in order to find solutions that work best for both,” Singh says, adding as an afterthought, “No brand is 100 percent sustainable. However, the design fraternity is always trying, reinventing and putting in an effort to make smarter and better choices. I would rather say, it is a work-in-progress.”