We spoke with Richa Aggarwal, recognized by Vogue as a designer to lookout for.
Tell us about yourself and your work?
I graduated from NIFT Bangalore in 2007 with the best design collection award. Soon after I was awarded the JN Tata scholarship in 2010 to pursue my masters from the prestigious University of Southampton, UK where I received the outstanding scholar award for the graduation collection. Label Richa Aggarwal showcased its debut collection in Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festival 12, India. Recognized as the new upcoming designer to watch out for by Vogue India, our work has received appreciation in both national and international press. Harper Bazaar reckoned us as the new talent to watch out for.
Did you always want to become a designer?
Yes, I always wanted to become a designer but was never sure about the career choice. I had a science in high school, back then doing fashion designing was still not considered a mainstream profession. That is why I kept my options open and gave few (traditional) entrance exams (Architecture and Engineering).
When you set off, were you worried the space is already too crowded?
I had no idea what I was getting into partly because the kind of family background I come from. As kids we were never exposed to this space like todays generation is, thanks to the digital media. The Lakme Gen Next was our debut show; I wanted to give it a try, and eventually things fell in place. But as I said, I always knew I wanted to do clothes!
How do you plan to distinguish yourself from the rest?
I believe every designer has an inbuilt unique handwriting or A brand DNA, which makes each of us different anyhow.
A white shirt interpretation of Stella Mc Cartney would be completely different from Rei Kawakubo. So it comes naturally. In terms of my design handwriting I would say I love to explore textures by combining our traditional skill sets of karigars with contemporary/now silhouettes and I enjoy designing for a well-travelled global citizen who understands design. We draw inspiration from the vibrant culture and colourful streets of India. We make new technology meet old world craftsmanship with the craft of intricate needlework, creative pattern making and fine tailoring.
How does an idea translate into attire?
For any idea to translate I need an inspiration. It can be found in the simplest of things. My SS15 collection was inspired by this one photograph, which I stumbled upon a brochure. And then I researched into it and several other subjects became part of inspiration and prompted me to make the collection. Anything, which can spark an interest, would be good enough to translate into a garment.
Describe your signature style.
I would say it is Finding harmony in contrast. I love juxtaposing odds,especially coming from India it is inbuilt in my DNA! I love how we co-exist in the most difficult of situations and find a balance in this complex new and old world.
Your main hurdles so far?
We faced difficulties at every step. When starting a new business there are many hurdles, we have had our share of them as well. From renting an office space to sourcing the right fabric in the middle of the night for a dress to be delivered the very next day. But apart from the smaller problems my journey has been pretty smooth and I feel I am blessed. One of the major challenges for a start- up is funding, but my family has always been super supportive about it.
Your most proud moment.
My first award, at my graduation ceremony at NIFT for best design collection. When I think about it, I still get goose flesh.
Designers you admire the most.
So many of them, to name a few Sabyasachi, Stella Mc Cartney, Anamika Khanna, Anita Dongre, Yohiji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, Marni.
Your dreams going forward?
Fashion industry is very competitive and one has to know what is next. I want to reach a point where I decide what is next like Anna Win-tour
What are you planning for the upcoming festive season?
Upcoming season, we are going all natural with fabrics. People have started admiring the advantages of pure organic handmade fabrics. They are very skin friendly and organically produced. Hence, it is all about the fabrics coming season with few embellished updated details.
Advices you would like to give to Indian women.
Firstly, dress to make yourself happy, not your husbands, boyfriend, in-laws, family or friends, love yourself. Secondly, do not follow trends!
Checkout Richa Aggarwal
Written byOur Frontcover desk