The maverick designer tells Shweta Mehta Sen about how traditional Japanese temari balls feature in his maiden collection, aimed at edgy, open-minded men.
Why has it taken you so long to do menswear? What made you choose Koovs as a platform?
Looking back now — from participating in various international Fashion Weeks to being appointed as the creative director at Paco Rabanne to collaborating with brands like M.A.C Cosmetics, Swarovski etc — it’s been a whirlwind of a decade for me. I’ve always wanted to curate a menswear line that is true to my brand ethos and aesthetic, and I believe now is the right time to enter the menswear market; which is why as you put it — ‘I’ve taken so long to do menswear’.
Koovs has been able to successfully penetrate the Indian market in a very short period of time. It’s an ideal example of a platform that has been able to retain the premium-ness of its products while catering to a vast audience at the same time. Collaborating with a platform like Koovs in India allows me to provide my consumers with an opportunity to own an exclusive, signature Manish Arora product at an accessible price. It also allows me to do justice to my creations.
What can we expect from the collection?
I’ve incorporated an interesting play of graphics, textures and colours while creating a statement menswear collection. True to my aesthetic, this collection features an amalgamation of multiple inspirations put together.
The dominant inspiration that can be noticed throughout the collection comes from temari balls. It’s a form of folk art that has originated and is still practiced in Japan. Historically, the remnants of old kimonos were utilized to construct temari balls. However, over time, more attention to detail and decoration has been incorporated while crafting them. Inspiration has been procured from their dizzying graphics and it has been combined with stripes and additional geometric motifs.
To create a one-of-a-kind clothing line, multicoloured stripes have been infused with black and white geometric patterns and graphics. Another prominent design feature that can be observed in the collection is the use of the crown ornamentation, which has been placed across textures that can be described as beautiful and delicate.
Highlighted accent colours like emerald green, fuchsia, red and electric blue have been utilized while keeping the colours of black, white and gold as constant throughout the collection. The base is water coloured, which also showcases splashes of the patterns and motifs. The collection consists of apparel and accessories like bomber jackets, T-shirts and sweatshirts, snazzy bottoms, shoes and espadrilles for men and also phone cases. The complete line features over 35 styles.
What kind of man is this collection targeted at?
Words that have become synonymous with my brand identity are fun, quirky, bold and unique. So naturally, I’ve designed this collection for the Indian male who is fun, bold, edgy and open-minded with regards to his personal style. Everything is priced between Rs 495-1,995.
What do you think the menswear market in India is lacking at the moment? How can that gap be filled?
The menswear segment in the Indian fashion industry, although growing very rapidly, is still potentially untapped. The modern Indian male has become much more aware and conscious about himself than what he was 5 to 7 years ago. However, from what I’ve seen, fashion for males in India is still very restricted and classic. But times are changing; the younger generation is much more open-minded and exposed to international trends than the older generations.
Similarly, the Indian fashion industry is also much more accepting than what it was years ago. And with the increased exposure and awareness, new trends and consistent change in style is inevitable. This is also where I step in. I hope that with the launch of this collection, I am able to contribute and influence fashion for males in India that they can appreciate and incorporate in their wardrobe.