Fashion Reality Check with Wendell Rodricks

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Minimalism, cut, shape and the flavour of Goa is what describes him the best. Padam Shree awardee, Wendell Rodricks, the celebrated designer believes that the growth of Indian fashion industry is phenomenal, but at the same time feels that increased fashion shows have created more confusion in some ways and business opportunity in others.


In conversation with Rishabh Raj, Wendell opens up about his real source of happiness, and clears the myth about the underrated Indian fashion industry and overrated international market. Excerpts:


Tell us about your first designing project, what was it and how was the experience?

My first design project was for a cousin’s dress when I was very young, I had no idea what I was doing. I thought I was simply helping her choose a colour and a few contrasting elements. Later I learnt to do a college collection in Paris. It was thrilling and enriching as an experience. It also made me realize where I could be happiest, at the drawing stage and making the clothes.


After bagging Padma Shri, do you think this recognition has increased the expectations of the Indian fashion industry from you?

I am very happy to have received the Padma Shri, as it has given hope to the young talent in the fashion industry. For me fashion is my life and the best way to pay back to the society is through keep working hard, and that, I will continue to do.


Do you think that the industry is on the correct pace or things would have been better, with the help of government? 

Irony is, still the government has not recognised us (fashion) as an industry. Things can be fairer, if government recognises us and starts walking with us. That apart, the industry has changed for the better.


What makes the international market ahead of us?

Who says they are ahead of us? We are ahead of them. We are selling real clothes. They are using fashion shows to make clothes that will sell perfume, bags, shoes, cosmetics and beauty. In India, designers make clothes that women buy. Out there, their clothes don’t sell.  If you don’t believe me, walk into any big brand store and see how much space has been allotted to clothes. It’s very little compared to accessories.


Is Indian market still stuck with designer bridal wear or things have changed?

Bridal wear is a huge market, especially in India. So, that cannot be neglected in any case. But with the change in time things are changing, now people are spending, many people are buying real clothes, whether it is designer, or hi-street brand.


Do you think that funding and market exposure to Indian designers is still a hurdle in opening gateways at global platform?

To be frank, I am not t all interested in the international market. But from my experience, Yes, if you don’t have sufficient funding to have a constant presence overseas for seven to ten years…forget it!  And for Indian designers this is one of the challenges to come over.


Increased fashion shows have raised the standard of designer wear or we are on the wrong track?

It has created confusion in some ways and business opportunity in others. I am watching and will decide in a few more years about this phenomenon. At the moment, the fashion weeks that prop up have dented the two main weeks a bit, as sponsorship could have gone to the main fashion week by FDCI in Delhi.


What made you sign Onir’s Shab?


Onir approached me with a script. After reading it, I realized that this was up my street. So I accepted to become a part of the film as I have the bandwidth to dress the main male lead.


Do you owe your success and achievement to anyone?

Apart from my own talent, my partner owes it all, who believed in me, my talent and has always been a real and pious support.


Your future plan.

Let the moment arrive and we will announce it.


Dil Se…


Fashion: Style is more important

Love: Respect is what should be the main operative word from the onset. It supersedes love.

Favourite apparel brand: Wendell Rodricks

Favourite footwear brand: Berluti and Louboutin

Favourite perfume: Terre d’Hermes

Favourite watch: Santos De Cartier. I never take it off my wrist

Favourite car: I may drive a BMW but my heart is with the Ambassador

Favourite holiday destination: Turkey and Chile

Perfect daywear:Kurta shirt with line Pajamas or a Lungi

Perfect nightwear: A sharp Sherwani for formals, a Nehru jacket for semi-formal, a Kurta Churidaar for cocktail

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