What A Wonderful World by Rahul Mishra
When and how you decided that you wanted to be a designer?
Graduating from Kanpur University with a Physics degree was not my primary choice, I always wanted to be a creative person; I wanted to be an artist or a filmmaker. When I applied to NID (National Institute of Design), my qualification as a science graduate wasn’t good enough for the film/video discipline so I was only left with one choice; apparel design and merchandising. That’s where fashion found me, and I found a sweet spot of communicating my ideas through fashion.
Which is the first thing you designed and for who ?
The first thing I ever designed was a crisp white shirt, for myself, in college. Though a menswear creation, it was the first time I had ever tailored anything and I quite enjoyed the experience.
Who’s the designer you admire the most and why?
There isn’t one particular designer but rather there have been a few who have inspired me over the years. When I look at the work of the great Yves Saint Laurent, for example, his clothes were so perfectly balanced, there’s a classic element of modernity that is going to remain in his silhouettes forever. In terms of contemporaries, I really like Haider Ackermann, the mystery in his construction and the fluidity of his silhouettes have been very inspiring. More recently though, I have been looking at Chitose Abe’s work from her early days at Sacai, her use of colour, her unique perception on silhouettes and her play with shapes and proportion, it’s captivating.
Who’s your muse, your icon, when you create a dress?
When I create a dress I think of a strong, intelligent woman who knows what she wants from life. She believes in sustainability, in change and in people. She is multi-cultured and well informed. Her fashion choices are governed by her sense of style and she has an eye for detail. This is the woman I envision while creating a dress.
If you had to design an entire collection using just one colour, which is the one you’d pick and why?
White, because it’s made up of all the colours on the spectrum, it’s volatile and it symbolizes purity. Technically speaking it is also much easier to work with white, details are better visible, textures are more distinctive, and fabrics are better projected. Moreover, white is pleasant and easy on the eyes, my artisans enjoy working with white too.
Who’s the first person you show your sketches to?
The first person to see any of my sketches is Divya, my wife and brand director. She is my biggest critique and always pushes me to strive for the best. We met in college at NID, so having that grounding from the root level has played a major role business wise and even in terms of creativity.
The fabric you love the most…silk, lace, velvet and why?
It would have to be wool. It is natural and so volatile in its structure, people tend to have a notion of wool being strictly for cold weather but my discovery with wool embroidery has drawn light on the fact that it can also be worn in warmer weather. The fiber is soft, light and extremely breathable, my first collection at Paris Fashion Week was entirely wool embroidered and it was a Spring Summer collection. Moreover, wool holds such a strong sentiment for me, with the Woolmark Prize and everything that the fiber has given me.
If your clothes had a soundtrack, which songs you’d choose?
Although it’s quite an old song, it is an all time favourite of mine, What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. This is the song I design to, I must have heard it atleast a hundred times! The lyrics, and the very simple yet powerful message is more relevant today than ever before, I can hear the beautiful poetry and sweet melody echo through my clothes.
Do you have any trick to avoid that “blank page” moment when you’re at the beginning of the designing of a new collection? Do you watch a movie, flip an old magazine…
To be quite honest, I look forward to that ‘blank page’ moment. I feel, as a designer, I need that moment where I can’t think of anything, it is only when you have a blank page in front of you that you can actually create something new, something from scratch. The fashion world isn’t kind to artists, and so because of deadlines and time constraints it can get quite frustrating, but inspiration is everywhere, only if you look hard enough.
If you weren’t a designer which job in the fashion world you would like to do and why?
I’ve always had a passion for photography and I try to do as much of it as I can even now but if I wasn’t a designer, and I was in the fashion industry I would have definitely been a fashion photographer. Being a photographer is as good as being an artist, they are image-makers and they’re work is highly influential, it’s not always about the clothes, it’s about creating that look. You also get to learn so much, and are constantly interacting with beautiful clothes and beautiful people- a win, win.