“A good designer never designs for himself but instead understands the market conditions and in-builds these elements into his collection. This is the sign of a good designer. The most unwarranted myth in the industry is that bigger designer brands make more money. It may be quite the opposite,” Rathore told IANS in an interview.
He feels proud of the fact that Indian designers are appreciated around the globe but says the industry needs to be bit more mature to understand business dynamics.
“While the talent that some of my colleagues seeking international recognition possess is on a par with world-class designers, I however feel that the business hemisphere and the long-term business plan needs tremendous maturity. To sustain is the key to be recognised internationally. It is also a penance that one needs to have the dedication for,” he said.
Is this the reason very little is seen of him at major fashion weeks?
“It’s a conscious effort to be selective and not to make the product available across the counter anywhere else. Hence it is not important to showcase the Raghavendra Rathore label at fashion events as my customers are discrete shoppers. However, we propose to launch a women’s wear label that will be visible at major fashion events,” Rathore added.
The logical expansion of a designer brand is to provide good quality at affordable prices and “be accessible nationally under a completely different label,” he said.
To this end, and to cater to all income groups, Rathore has launched his denim collection under his new Club J label that caters to those who cannot afford high-end luxury brands.
The designer’s journey into the fashion world started when he was hired by American designer Donna Karan as an assistant for sportwear segment of DKNY. Later his association with Oscar de la Renta, one of the world’s leading designers, gave him some unique exposure.
In 1994 he returned home and launched his “Rathore Jodhpur” brand in Jodhpur followed by a workshop in Delhi. His design for the classic tailored look and Jodhpur bandgala jacket has earned him a respectable place in the Indian fashion history.
The designer is not limited to apparel. He has expanded into interior designing and jewellery under the “Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur” brand.
Today, Raghu, as his close friends call him, is one of the few names to have received acclaim both nationally and internationally.