Exclusive: Designer Rahul Mishra Talks All Things Fashion

Exclusive: Designer Rahul Mishra Talks All Things Fashion

Karen Alfonso
Rahul Mishra
Rahul Mishra

Team MissMalini(TeamMM): Have you always loved fashion?
Rahul Mishra (RM): Honestly, not really. Until about 10-15 years back, I wasn’t into fashion. In fact, as a kid I was good at studies and my parents encouraged me to pursue engineering or medicine. I went ahead and completed my B.A. Hons in Physics. I was like any other guy my age, at that point, conscious about fashion and dressing and wearing fashionable clothes. I was aware of Fashion as a profession, however I didn’t think of taking it up as a profession. I always wanted to do something in the creative field as I have always been creative as a person, maybe a film-maker or an architect. There was always a creative buzz.

Rahul Mishra
Rahul Mishra

TeamMM: What is your earliest fashion memory?
RM: I was never into fashion. However, it was only when I went to NIFT that I looked at fashion more closely. I remember, during my workshop on the different textiles, 10 years ago, I was dumbfounded on how much I need to learn about the fashion and textile industry. It was only then that I began learning about fashion in its truest sense. Though I have always loved dressing up and thinking of innovative ways to dress up.

TeamMM: How was your experience with the Vogue Fashion Fund, how has your life changed after entering it?

Rahul Mishra
Rahul Mishra for Vogue Fashion Fund

RM: I love competitions. I love the innovative thinking, the passion and hard work that goes behind it. The Vogue Fashion Fund was a great experience. It made me think about my business plans. Competing in it made me realise where I see myself 5 years down the line and made me think about how I want to contribute to the fashion industry in the future.

Rahul Mishra
Rahul Mishra

TeamMM: What made you decide to enter the Woolmark competition? What do you expect?
RM: The International Woolmark Prize is one of the biggest competitions and I am honoured to be a part of it. The stalwarts of the fashion industry like Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, and Karl Lagerfeld have been a part of this Competition. I missed last year’s (2012-13) regionals by a small margin. I just had to apply for this year’s round! The award itself makes you excited and opens a window of opportunities for you as a designer on an international platform. Overnight, you are seen as an international name. The right agents, buyers, people. It helps you polish yourself as a designer. Getting something like this in the beginning of your career is like playing for the World Cup as a young cricketer. IWP must be on every designer’s to-do list.

TeamMM: What’s your favourite piece from your capsule Woolmark collection?

Rahul Mishra for Woolmark
Rahul Mishra for Woolmark

RM: A merino wool dress during my regional round. It is one of my most innovative pieces and the reason why I am getting to go to Milan today. 85% wool and you will never figure it out by looking at it. It’s got beautiful chanderi work.

TeamMM: Will you ever embark on a menswear line?
RM: Very soon, in fact. I am too loaded with work. With IWP and my own designer line, I haven’t had the time to concentrate on anything else. I like to invest time, sweat and effort into anything I do and not for the sake of it. Hopefully, in time, I will have a bigger team and will be able to expand and create a menswear line. I do really want to.

Team MM: Your wife is also part of your design process, how do you maintain the work/personal balance?

Rahul & Divya Mishra
Rahul & Divya Mishra

RM: She is my muse. A very difficult one at that. Being partners in life, both professionally and personally isn’t the easiest relationship to balance, but we do. We argue over work from time to time, but she keeps me on my toes. She is a multi-tasking queen and I just can’t do without her.

TeamMM: What is the biggest lesson learnt since launching your label?

Design by Rahul Mishra
Design by Rahul Mishra
Design by Rahul Mishra
Design by Rahul Mishra

RM: I am still learning. I learn something every single day. But the biggest lesson of all was – how to maintain simplicity in your designs despite the friction, the pressure, the challenges that surround a designer everyday.

TeamMM: What are you strict about?
RM: As I said, the simplicity. For me, it is very important as a designer to maintain the simplicity and attention to detail in my designs. We are very particular about our quality. I think it is very critical when you work with handloom to deliver matchless quality.

TeamMM: Who would you love seeing in your clothes?

Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone in Rahul Mishra

RM: From India – Deepika Padukone, while she has worn my design before, I think she has the personality, the elegance and I would love to design for her. Another person from India would be Sonam Kapoor. From the West, Natalie Portman hands down. Or Anne Hathaway. They have the grace and beauty that is any designer’s dream.

TeamMM: A style philosophy you wish Indian women would adopt?
RM: To keep it simple. Indian women have the beauty, the skin colour to carry off just about any colour. They look graceful and elegant in any style.