'Indians tend to over-accessorise'

NICHE CREATOR

Succumbing to the demand and supply of fashion, a majority of designers take to making garments. But to complete the look, one often needs accessories or a bag, which led designer Prabhat Kumar to start his own line of crafted leather bags, shoes, jackets and other accessories called ‘Aphrodite’.

The designer spoke to Metrolife during a fashion week recently. “Aphrodite is the god of love and the bags symbolise love, luxury and beauty. I had done animal prints in my previous collection but I have started using more subdued colours of late. Earlier, my collections had a rugged look but I’m experimenting with softer features now,” he says.

From growing up in a small town in Jharkhand to running his own store in Kolkata, Prabhat has come a long way. “I was serious about drawing since I was in the first grade. I would spend a lot more time doing that rather than studying. Growing up in Jharkhand, a career as a doctor or engineer was coming my way. But I got lucky as my parents allowed me to go to a design college like NIFT, where I specialised in leather. They didn’t restrict me in any way even though they didn’t know much about the field. And right after finishing college, I started my own brand,” shares Prabhat adding that in India, there is a big market for leather export.

On being asked if he views himself as a trendsetter, he answers, “I don’t follow trends but I feel that somebody has to take certain trends forward and I don’t mind doing that. We designers start trends while making forecast. But even though apple green and fuchsia are coming into fashion, they don’t necessarily look great on a bag. I go for elements that would make a customer want to buy my product.”

Content with the response from the Indian market, the designer plans to enter international markets in the near future. “In India, there’s not much passion for leather bags as compared to the USA or UK. We have traditional taste over here like a lot of embroidery and hand printing. Indians tend to over-accessorise a lot of times but that’s also because celebration is part of our culture, be it through festivals or weddings. We’ve stuck to our roots and there’s no need for westernisation,” he points out.

Is he a fan of Bangalore?

He nods and replies, “When I came to Bangalore for the first time, there were no
accessory designers displaying their work and it was only garments. At that time, it could either have given me a complete mileage over others or been a foolish risk. But I took the risk and got a good start. People in the IT sector have a lot of money and they love my bags!”

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