Leading fashion designer Raghavendra Rathore, who has been instrumental in changing the way fashion is perceived in India with his design ideas that focus heavily on the ‘Made in India’ theme, feels that sustainability is the only way to make Indian fashion a global phenomenon.
“We are cautious in the present sluggish economy but are steady on our five-year plan for our brand positioning. We are taking steps to make our brand the flag bearer of Make in India,” said Rathore.
The designer spoke to Sputnik about his plans for his brand Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur.
Rathore feels that sustainability is a logical progression as far as trends are concerned along with the localization of luxury brands that will have universal appeal.
“Fortunately for a bespoke brand like us, the use of resources is a bare minimum. The speed for our brand to process the manufacturing is favourably sustainable as compared to fast fashion brands. Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur prides itself in not using materials that are polluting. We are drawn to a biological approach, encouraging a sustainable ethos in its product offerings,” he added.
“With the changing world, luxury brands will look at localization as a big trend, which implies both in terms of sourcing and production. Brands will exhibit consumer sensitive sales and service experience, and therefore it is essential to keep an eye on the global trends while maintaining a focus on homegrown markets,” said the designer.
Rathore was born and raised in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and is a cousin of Maharaja Gaj Singh of the royal family of Jodhpur. A graduate from the Parsons School of Design in New York City, Rathore got the chance to work for Donna Karan as an assistant at DKNY. He then worked at the high design atelier of Oscar de la Renta and was an assistant to de la Renta.
The designer’s brand is one of the celebrated names in India and has been flaunted by Bollywood personalities like Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone.
So how much does Bollywood contribute to India's fashion industry?
“Bollywood is like Hollywood, and the celebrity culture in Asia is very similar to any other society. Percolating ideas and design styles through the silver screen is an art that most designers have mastered in India. This approach also stems from the response Bollywood receives from the press and audience at large,” Rathore said.
In 2018, Reliance Industries Ltd owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani and Italian fashion giant Ermenegildo Zegna purchased a 12.5 percent stake in the "Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur" brand.
Talking about how the consumer is adapting to new trends, Rathore said that technology is changing consumer behaviour.
“We have made an effort to battle this disruption for our students at Gurukul School of Design (his fashion and design institute) via teaching design via technology. We aim to imbibe universal design knowledge to our students in an endeavour to build the future entrepreneurs of India,” said Rathore who also feels that one must learn to adapt quickly to new market conditions.
The designer has recently tied up a deal with global rug maker Obeetee for a limited edition collection and he feels “expanding into other lifestyle genres is a logical progression for any luxury brand.”
“This unique collaboration with Obeetee allowed both brands to flush the market with new ideas and concepts. The big trend is to move into high-street flagship stores away from malls to offer a holistic brand vision and experience,” said Rathore.