“ We are most excited about our first artificial intelligent garments made in india in collaboration with ibm and watson that we did recently on the occasion of 10 years of vogue. So our relationship with technology is going deeper. ”
Exhibit: Tell us about your journey. What led you to become a Fashion Designer and what draws you to Fashion?
GAURAV GUPTA: It has been 10 years now. When I came back from studying at London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, and after a few jobs in Turkey and Italy I decided to launch my own brand. I think when I started out also I used to design for myself and even now I design for myself. It’s just that the market has adapted to my designs and my brand has created a very strong identity. It has been a natural evolution of my design sensibility. It has become more and more couture, detailed, obsessive, elegant and beautiful, and at the same time it’s progressive, edgy and cool. The market has grown into it.
Exhibit: How would you like to describe your own style of design?
The brand has always been experimental, out of the box and sophisticated at the same time. There was this moment in 2007 when I realised that I am in India and so I just cannot ignore this market here. That was when we started making sari gowns and we got a great market and commercial reaction. Today we are making bespoke couture gowns for the country and internationally, and also pushing boundaries of what can be defined as Indian wear and Indo-western wear. In today’s times, it is something unique, innovative, structural, abstract yet universally beautiful. For example, sometimes I get specific requests for ball gowns which makes me realize the need. It is the concept of future primitive which describes my brand, wherein certain things are borrowed from the primitive culture of India and the world. The indigenous techniques of futuristic boning, sculpting and motifs of Indian baroque come into play in this collection.
Exhibit: Tell us about the first garment you designed and what was it for?
It was for my first ever runway show, which was my NIFT Graduate show and I was just amazed that I could finish the collection in time. The collection was called Alastor – which is a Greek mythological character. That played a foundation of what was to come and my learning was that hard work always pays off as I had also won some awards in Japan for that.
Exhibit: Any challenges or difficulties you met with on your path to becoming the popular Designer you are now?
The biggest challenge is to put up an organizational infrastructure to a company, to imbibe professionalism in people, and to become more humble as a person so that people are not constantly judging you and calling you a snob.
Exhibit: Gaurav Gupta and Tech – what is your take on this relationship?
Technology is a part of all our lives and it has seeped into a lot of aspects of our life. Gaurav Gupta as a brand is on all kinds of social media, so technology touch-points come in there. We are most excited about our first artificial intelligent garments made in India in collaboration with IBM and Watson that we did recently on the occasion of 10 years of Vogue. So our relationship with technology is going deeper.
Exhibit: Name some tech gadgets you can’t do without on a personal level.
GoPro, my iPhone, my Google Pixel phone, iPad, Apple TV, Google Pixel headphones, Bose soundtouch systems.
Exhibit: Which are some of the mandatory gadgets you use for designing purposes?
I use Bose speakers in my room so there is music around me while I’m sketching and phone cameras from which I take pictures of what I’m doing so I can refer back to it later. Then there are these apps such as ProCreate and Photoshop which my design team works with.
Exhibit: How has the fashion scene in India evolved over the years and where do you see it heading in the next 5 years?
It’s changing a lot! With the economic boom and a lot more aspiration in people to look cooler, they are experimenting a lot more. They understand the silhouette a lot more and not just the embroidery. They are able to understand and appreciate design and many aspects of design and thought. Having said that, fashion as an industry has a long way to go. It’s a very young industry in this country and in terms of retail & production infrastructure, the industry needs to evolve infra-structurally to a much larger and in an in-depth way.
Exhibit: How is Digital media/social media impacting the Fashion scene.
The emergence of social media has transformed the world and its entire way of functioning, bringing the world and its people closer. One industry that is considered to be perfectly suited and naturally fit for social media is Fashion. From the fashion blogs to the live streaming of catwalk shows, from the main fashion weeks to the social shopping, we get diversity of opinions on different places through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking websites. It has become the most important runway for the fashion industry. The power and influence of Social Media on the fashion industry is undeniable. Not only this but now the fashion bloggers have a key role to play in the industry. They are considered to be thought leaders and have a voice in the industry.
Exhibit: Your inspirations.
I am inspired by almost everything. My main inspiration comes from nature, forest, sky, water, shape, form, abstraction, art, architecture. It is almost mostly abstract, something fantastical. Also, forests and fantasy characters bring out all the creativity in me. For me that’s the space that I live in. In my mind, I’m always living in this fantasy space so much so that sometimes I don’t even know the difference between fantasy and reality. A forest has many layers to it; it’s the basis of our survival of the planet and the universe.
Exhibit: The best memory of your career.
That would be my top 3 shows- Lightfall Couture 2013, Lakme Fashion Week Finale and Moondust- which were like milestone moments.
Exhibit: One thing you’d tell your younger self now that you have so much experience and seen the industry so up close?
To be patient.
- Advice for aspiring Fashion designers:
Believe in yourself, stop copying others, definitely have a business plan in place, put the numbers down for the next 3 years if not 5, don’t lose hope, don’t be scared of numbers, find your own identity, and, never forget that originality goes a long way.
- If not a Fashion Designer, then what:
I would have been a scientist or an artist.
- Most exotic vacation:
I love different parts of Indonesia and I went to these Chincha Islands where I saw millions of bats flying in the sky and I went and saw Comodo dragons.
- Best piece of advice given to you:
That hard work goes a long way.
- Best dressed according to you: Michael Jackson.
- Go-to fashion trend: I don’t believe in trends. One should wear clothes depending on their personalities. Evergreen style statement: Wear your own personality.
- Your muse: Cleopatra
- Favourite app: ProCreate
- Most unique gadget you have come across: I’m excited about the flying cars in Japan and France
- The priciest thing you’ve splurged on: This American Vintage ring I just bought from Paris.
- Favorite person to dress in your garments: Deepika Padukone