Diversification key to survival in fashion world: Raghavendra Rathore (Interview)

March 21st, 2009 - 11:42 am ICT by IANS  

By Shilpa Raina

New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) Forget the recession. Even in good times the key to survival in the fashion world lies in designers diversifying, says veteran stylist Raghavendra Rathore, who himself has spread his wings to areas like jewellery and software and has also tied up with a leading fabric manufacturer.

“Designers should focus on different avenues. They should move beyond fashion and think of utilizing their creativity in the best possible manner,” Rathore told IANS in an interview.

“We (designers) should break away from the cliche of stereotype designing and think of reaching to the common man,” added the designer, whose collection was well received at the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WLFW) here.

But Rathore also sounded a word of caution.

“At the same time only those designers who have an aptitude for diversification should go for it,” he said.

Rathore launched his Rathore Jodhpur label in 1994. After establishing himself as a designer whose roots lie in the royal forts of Jodhpur, he started to expand his portfolio by designing for jewellery brand Tanshiq and has also collaborated with suiting brand S Kumar.

His latest venture is creating the ‘Lifestyle’ software for the iPhone.

“I have moved beyond fashion. It took me seven years to learn the basics of the trade. But the effort has paid off because the future of Indian fashion calls for diversification. There are many designers who have understood the fact and are moving out of their shells,” Rathore said.

For example, designer Manav Gangwani is to introduce his eyewear collection in the Indian market, while bridal wear design diva Ritu Kumar is launching her own perfume line called The Tree of Life. Young designer Amit GT, who started with a focus on menswear, chose to branch out into designing for women and now also dabbles in home furnishings and accessory designing.

This apart, Sabyasachi Mukherjee had earlier tied up with home linen brand Bombay Dyeing for a bedsheet collection, while Manish Arora tied up with sports brand Reebok for its lifestyle shoe collection that was called Fish Fry.

Rathore said, “I am a businessman now as the first thing that comes to my mind is to utilize resources. I have learnt this from father and I feel that the design fraternity should know how to utilize resources because it gives value to the product.”

Ever the diversifier, Rathore earlier this year also donned the cap of vice president of the newly formed government body - Fashion and Design Promotion Council (FDPC).

“It is very important for designers to understand that we all have to come to a meeting point and think beyond fashion weeks. With so many fashion designers graduating every year, we have to make sure that they find suitable jobs and use their creative skills,” Rathore explained.

“Our aim is to empower youth and provide them various platforms that they can use to establish themselves in the business. The best part is that the government is very supportive this time and the body just needs the right directions to achieve its goals,” he added.

(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at shilpa.r@ians.in)

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