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Kunal Rawal’s new collection, Role Play, set to debut at Lakme Fashion Week

Designer Kunal Rawal talks to MW about his collection, his inspiration, the hottest menswear trends and more.

Designer Kunal Rawal is all set to showcase his collection ‘Role Play’ at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016 on Sunday, August 28th. Before that, he talks to MW about his collection, his inspiration, the hottest menswear trends and more.


What inspired this collection? 

Well, these are the times when we’re not really limiting ourselves to a single perspective and the inspiration is on a global scale. We travel East, we travel West, we get inspired wherever we go, and when we come back, we get inspired in India too. I’ve also noticed that in the past couple of years, Indian wear has really emerged, with a number of designers offering a variety of perspectives to the costume. I, personally create cotton kurtas, heavy embroidered ones, shorter formals, military kurtas and basically, different versions of the plain old kurta because it has finally become an acceptable silhouette. According to what I feel, it compliments the Indian body type and I feel a lot of men are opting for kurtas as office wear. So yes, global inspiration, surely.

You have always stressed on making Indian ethnic wear more accessible. How does this collection take that ideology ahead? 

I think our wardrobes have always been compartmentalized into either Western wear or Indian; what we’re looking at is growth in the middle section, the Indo-western (for lack of a better word).  So I feel I’m trying to add that fun element to Indian wear.

If you ask me why ‘Role Play’, then well, it is because I’ve noticed that with Western wear, you pick things depending upon your personality and sense of style. If you wish to dress grungy one day, you have the option to pull out a particular wardrobe. Similarly, when you feel a little overweight on a particular day, you can pull out an all black look. Likewise, on days when you feel all bright and sunny, you can choose white or maybe prints. So basically, what I mean to say is that we can do the same with Indian outfits, adorn it according to our personality and mood on a particular day and that is the basic point of my collection.

But unfortunately, what I have also come to notice is that Indian wear is generally limited. Men in India only opt for Indian wear for particular occasions; say maybe a couple of sangeet outfits or a Bandhgala for the main reception. So the idea here is to provide more options for Indian ethnic wear, so that you choose to wear a particular outfit in accordance to your mood.  This collection is a mix of Western wear and Indian wear with a lot of combinations. And that’s Role Play for you.

What menswear trend is really hot right now?

For the festive season, I’d definitely go with colour play, because it is one of the most intrinsic elements of your wardrobe. Also, detailing is very important. The colours that I use for my collection are generally bold and deep.  So you will see a lot of colour palettes in my collection that are neutral, clashed with deep, dark and the bold. You may also see a few pastels, but definitely lots of blacks and whites. I love black and I don’t really understand the issue people have with the colour, especially when it comes to wedding wear. I certainly believe it is high time we change that concept, which is why you will see me incorporate a lot of black in my wedding wear collection.

The collection seems very nature-inspired. How did that come about?

I think flora-fauna inspired me a lot for this collection. Also, the fact that it is the festive season and my collection goes very well with the mood of celebration. I also believe that we should have controlled motifs, especially when it comes to menswear. The parameters to play with menswear are slightly thinner. My collection comprises grass motifs and embroideries which you might think are geometric, but maybe aren’t. I try to keep things symmetrical, but with motifs. And there is a very important message in this collection, which is the fabrication and texturing. That’s a pretty intrinsic part of this collection. I like a cleaner approach, embroidery should be tone-on-tone and I’m definitely not a lover of brocades or multi-coloured fabrics. For me, sheen is great, not shine.

Tell us about the launch of your gadget accessories for Macmerise.

This is something I’ve been very excited about for a very long time. The timing to bring it out has worked out just right. It’s a very fun collection, inspired by all the elements we use. It is bright and bold and graphically we’ve had a lot of fun. And the material we’re using for these phone covers is something we’ve experimented with, for the first time.

Three handy tips every man should remember while styling himself? 

My biggest tip is dress according to your personality and mood. I think it is very important to inculcate that comfort factor while dressing up.  Sometimes, with Indian wear, we don’t have much choice because we don’t have as many designers focusing on menswear, as there should be. I think one should also start experimenting with the wedding wardrobe. Dress to your personality. Make sure you are very comfortable in what you’re wearing. Menswear is about the right cut; so ensure you do look into that department. And the more comfortable you are, the better you will look. Turn up your sleeves.  Have fun and be comfortable in what you wear. Clothes is wearable art, it is about how you feel when you’re wearing it. So that is something we take a lot of care about.

What’s next after fashion week?

My studio was getting renovated, so that should be up and about in two weeks time. We’re gearing up for the Macmerise launch. Bridal Asia is coming up in October first week. We’ve also worked on the film Jagga Jasoos, starring Ranbir Kapoor. So yeah, lots of things happening.