The fashion world always needs a l’enfant terrible – a designer who creates flamboyant and fantastical fashion that surprises us in more ways than one. In the West designers like John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier have played the part, but in the East the title has long been held by Indian designer Manish Arora.
Manish is definitely one of India’s most successful exports and has managed to mix his Indian heritage with a contemporary vibe to create a collection of clothes and accessories that are all about making statement. As such his work has been worn by celebrities who are known for breaking the fashion mould including the likes of Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry to name a few.
Manish Arora spring/summer 2014
Manish was in Hong Kong last week to launch an exclusive collection with accessories retailer On Pedder which is as fun and crazy as his previous work – think reflective fabrics, sequins, jewels and bright prints. We grabbed him for a quick chat to find out what inspires him and the future of fashion in India.
Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
I was working in a different business, but I just wanted to try fashion so I applied for fashion school. I went in, did well… and things just began from there.
Why the obsession with colour and print?
I’m from India, so colour comes easy. Only in India can you see a woman in a small village wearing green, blue and orange all in one garment and still look great. Also, colour makes you happy. My favourite colours are pink and gold.
Tell us the inspiration behind your collection for On Pedder…
This season is inspired by Art Deco period. I thought what if Josephine Baker was alive today and went to a rave? So there are a lot of Art Deco elements in the clothes but it’s mixed with sportswear. If a girl is going to a rave, she needs a backpack so she can dance. You want your hands free, you want something you can dance in, something sporty.
What do you think about the fashion industry in India?
It’s surprising that countries like China and India don’t have any designers who are really out and about internationally; in India I’m the only one. It’s incredible that China is such a big country but they don’t have any big designers, as in India. It’s time to find some. Although in India the Indian designers are very happy with the market there; there is so much demand for Indian clothing in India, which is probably the reason there aren’t as many internationally.
Earrings from the On Pedder collection
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I’d be making films, I love films. I made a five minute fashion film last September which got a great response. That was kind of exciting for me, so I want to explore it more. I think I’ll keep to short films for the moment; it’s actually more challenging to express what you have in mind in five minutes. I think that films will always have some kind of connection to fashion and also a story… I believe fashion is best told when it has a story attached to it.
Your favourite place to be in the world is…
Paris. It’s just too beautiful for words. The streets you see everyday look new. It’s so inspiring in so many ways – not just the architecture but all the exhibitions and things to do and see.
The Manish Arora collection includes bedding, jewellery, lighting, handbags and other accessories and is available exclusively at On Pedder, www.onpedder.com