Feeling at home in the fashion industry

INDIAN HUES

Feeling at home in the fashion industry

Mumbai-based couturier Archana Kochhar was in the City recently for a fashion show where she showcased a colourful collection of ethnic wear. 

“My collection is called Chokhi — it is the Marwari word for ‘beautiful’ and is inspired by the architecture of Rajasthan,” she says. 

 According to her, she was destined to be a designer. “When I was 16 years old, three of my friends and I sat down and decided to put up a collection and see the response. We were in school at that time and I was very enthusiastic. We did it on an area spanning 1000 sq ft and the event was a success. It laid a foundation for me and it was from here that I just grew,” she says. “I have a passion for designing and love doing this. So I suppose I landed in the right place,” she adds. 

The designer has seen the Indian fashion scene evolve over the years.

 “Gowns and silhouettes have become a part of us now. We have become very global in our sensitivities. Dresses weren’t a common thing five to 10 years back but now, all of us wear them. But in Indian fashion weeks, a lot of fusion work is appreciated. And people have become simpler which is a welcome change. Simpler and more realistic — that is where the world going,” she notes. 

Does she think it’s easier to design for men or women? “Men’s fashion is something we are just venturing into so we still have to get better at it. Designing for women is something we are more comfortable with but there is a lot of effort you need to put in when it comes to both of them.

 Experimenting for men in silhouettes and tailoring techniques has taken off now. But most designers like to design more for women maybe because they buy more. There aren’t that many men interested in fashion.” She is one of the few designers to have designed a collection for men during the fashion week. 

Speaking of the challenges she has faced over the years, she says, “There are so many challenges. We overcome them because the times are changing and so is people’s sense of fashion.” The talented designer has her plate full at the moment. “I have a store to run and we do a lot of shows.

I also work with a lot of corporates and teach in colleges and write for certain columns. So there are different challenges in each one of them. You fall sometimes but you have to get up again,” she sums up wisely.

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