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Shakira gave me greater recognition: Khushali Kumar

Designer Khushali Kumar talks about participating in the upcoming Paris Fashion Week and why it’s important to be unique

Q. What is the theme of the collection that you will showcase in the Paris Fashion Week?
A. I’ll showcase my collection called Swimsummer 2015 at the Paris Fashion Week in July this year.

Jacqueline Fernandez in her creation
Jacqueline Fernandez in her creation

Q. Your store, Reve, at The Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris caters to an international clientele. Do you have plans of opening a branch in India?
A. I have always been focussed on keeping my collection exclusive. I do take customised orders from clients in India but a store isn’t on the cards for now. But I’ll be soon launching an online store.

Khushali Kumar
Khushali Kumar

Q. You have designed for Shakira and also for Justin Bieber in his latest video called Wait For A Minute. Do you enjoy dressing up pop stars as you experiment with futuristic elements such as flowers, pearls and feathers?
A. I was showcasing at a trade show in New York when Shakira’s stylists, Rob and Mariel, spotted my collection and found it suitable for her. Even for Justin’s video, I was lucky that the stylists thought my collection suited their theme. I don’t design keeping any artiste in mind. My creations are an extension of myself.

Q. Do you think it is difficult for Indians to break into the international fashion circuit?
A. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with national or international circuits. To gain recognition anywhere you have to be original and creative. It’s all about being unique and giving something different to people.

Q. It’s a common notion that an artiste gets his/her due in India only once he/she gets international recognition. Do you feel pressurised to make a mark internationally to gain more importance here?
A. No. I think it is about identifying your market. If your product has a universal appeal, then it will sell. For instance, brands such as Zara are doing well everywhere, as their outfits have a universal design and suit everyone’s clothing needs. On the contrary, if you are designing Indian wear, you cannot expect it to sell at Harvey Nichols abroad. So despite Ritu Kumar being a successful designer, her outfits might not necessarily appeal to everyone. Her garments have a niche clientele. At the end of the day, it’s all about the market that you are targeting.

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