What are the points that you will touch upon during your talk?
At the address, I will touch on topics like heritage in branding Indian design, textile, food, art, music and even architecture. Basically, I will be stressing on the fact that before we design our country, we need to design our minds because that’s important for growth. We need to celebrate everything that’s Indian, that’s how we can get the attention of the world on us. Around the world, countries that retain their culture create worldwide appeal. We need to do that more, with enhanced vigour.
You have done the décor of your stores and you even did the interiors for the Cinema Suite at 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residencies, London. How much does real estate interest you?
I have always found real estate very exciting. Whenever I used to work on a film, apart from the clothes, I used to get interested in the art direction as well. Although fashion was what I began doing first, and got famous for, I don’t believe my real talent lies in clothing — my real love is real estate, and it excites me a lot. I always do different things because if you keep doing diverse things, it enriches your fashion experience as well. Also, I am a person who gets bored easily so I need new challenges to constantly stimulate my mind. The London suite that I designed got tremendous coverage in the London press and a very positive response. I enjoyed doing it immensely. Although it was interiors, I designed it with a craft point of view.
You made clothes for curvy women at a time when most were designing for tall, thin model-like figures. Was it a conscious decision to tread differently?
I’ve always lived in reality and hence my approach has always been very realistic. I’m a simple, middle-class boy, and I don’t live in fantasy. Thus I made clothes that real people could wear.
You work, extensively with Indian fabrics and use traditional crafts in your designs. You have mentioned previously that these fabrics appeal to you. Any other reason for using the same?
I’m happy that my work is creating employment. When I entered the industry, I didn’t enter it only for fashion, but also because I wanted to create employment. Through the designs I create, I have been able to employ many artisans, printers, craftspeople at the grassroots level and that gives me happiness.
You once said that you would like to open a restaurant in the city, any progress on that front?
Right now, I haven’t decided anything on those lines. It’s definitely on my wish list but I haven’t started acting upon it just yet.
Next is a long holiday. I have been working very hard for a-year-and-a-half so I really feel the need to travel now and bring out more ideas. My design sensibilities and my creativity is always an offshoot of my travels, so I need to keep undertaking that.