'There is always room for learning'

Graceful silhouettes

'There is always room for learning'

What started as a hobby has now shaped into a much sought-after design label among fashionistas. Asif Merchant took his first step into the fashion industry 25 years ago and has never failed to impress with every collection he intricately works on, ever since.

From helping his sister with stitching and bringing out a new design during his college days to working for an Italian fashion house that caters to big brands, Asif has seen and done it all. In a chat with Surupasree Sarmmah, the passionate designer talks about his most creative design, his love for travelling and his inspiration.

How did fashion designing happen?

I was an engineering student, but somewhere within, I was always inclined towards the intricacies of designing. My sister was into stitching and creating garments; there were times when I used to lend her a helping hand and would design outfits whenever I got time. And before I knew it, this passion turned into a profession and I started my own label in 1995.

If not a designer...

I would have been a part of a flight crew for sure. I love travelling and this profession would have given me an opportunity to visit different places (laughs).
One of your most creative ensembles...

I remember making a range of gowns with electronic wastes, wires, locks and keys, wrapping papers and chains. I made embroidery out of them on the gowns; it was something which was challenging yet quite interesting. I would say it was one of the most out-of-the-box ideas.

Your latest collection looks very poised...

I have concentrated on the red carpet look for both men and women. Apart from which resort wear and ready-to-party outfits are prominent too. Gowns for women and power-dressing like tuxedos and suits for men, which have a classic royal look, are the highlight.

The three must-haves in your winter wardrobe...

A trench coat, mufflers and scarves and a bag that I dedicatedly carry with me during all seasons.

What inspires your creations?

I get most of my inspiration from nature and my travels. Nature plays a big role in helping me with ideas for colours, designs and even the textures for an outfit. Apart from that, meeting new people from around the world and learning about their culture is inspiring too.

Your favourite fabrics to work with...

I like flowy fabrics. Georgette and natural, organic fabrics top my list. I love working with colours like white and blue.

Anyone you want to dress up from the film industry?

I would love to work with Sonam Kapoor. She has everything that a designer looks for — the right attitude, grace and the fact that she gives life to an outfit.

What is your mantra during a crisis situation backstage?

Be calm and cool. This way the mind will work more wisely. I handle the situation with love and care and don’t believe in raising my temper with anyone.

An advice that changed your life...

My father’s advice, ‘Be yourself’, has helped me look at life differently.

A word for aspiring designers...
Have patience and remember that ‘Rome was not built in a day’. Don’t miss a chance to learn from others. Even after being in the industry for 25 years, there are times when I still get to learn something new from my juniors. There is always room for learning.

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