Manish Arora says it's all about the product

NEW DELHI Tue May 8, 2012 5:03pm IST

1 of 2. Manish Arora poses inside a store in New Delhi May 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Parivartan Sharma

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian designers are famous for their elaborate embroideries and rich textiles but have yet to come up with products to woo the world's fashion hotspots in the West, says Manish Arora, the international face of India's fashion industry.

Known for his colourful and psychedelic designs, Arora is the only Indian who is a regular at the Paris Fashion Week, and boasts of celebrity clients such as singers Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.

Demand for Indian couture has surged in the Middle East and East Asia in recent years, but the geographically and culturally distant West remains a largely unexplored frontier.

Many designers say they just need exposure to carve out a market in places like Europe and the United States, but Arora disagrees.

"I don't think it's like that (exposure). It's the product which matters at the end of the day," Arora, who just launched his Spring/Summer 2012 collection in India after showcasing it in Paris, told Reuters in an interview.

"If your product is ready for the international market, then it will be there."

While flowing dresses with intricate draping and heavy embroidery mastered over centuries in India may suit rich buyers in Dubai and Riyadh, they remain novelty items in Paris and London, where the avant-garde is celebrated.

Arora, who is often described in the media as India's "John Galliano" for his innovative and bold cuts, said his originality is what earned him recognition in Europe.

"I guess what people like about my work is that I have a very strong individual style. That's what works for me," said the designer, whose overseas clients account for around 70 percent of his sales.

The New Delhi-based designer is stocked in 75 stores worldwide with a majority in Europe. The price of his Spring/Summer collection ranges from 8,000 to 75,000 rupees

Arora's creations are combinations of intricate Indian craftsmanship and futuristic designs which are sometimes described as "bizarre' or "theatrical," earning him fans like Lady Gaga.

"I don't do anything specific to dress celebrities up. Katy Perry, she noticed my work herself through shows ... and Lady Gaga or Rihanna, their stylists are always looking at everybody's work and I guess I match very well with their personality," he said.

Arora, who was appointed as creative director of French fashion house Paco Rabanne in February 2011, said he had left the label after completing his one-year contract.

"I'm finished. It was just for a year," he said.

Arora's international success apart, a majority of Indian designers still sell around 80 percent of their products at home, where couture is still primarily a bridal wear market catering to the big, showy Indian wedding.

This means that the fashion industry is still relatively small, estimated to pull in around 7.5 billion rupees in 2012, according to a 2008 report by business body ASSOCHAM.

Despite the economic and cultural hype surrounding India in recent years, Arora said the country's designers have yet to properly cash in.

His advice? Be original.

"To each his own. Everyone has their own individual style and it depends on them," he said.

(Editing by Tony Tharakan and Elaine Lies)

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

India Cricket Chief

India Cricket Chief

Former ICC boss Dalmiya returns as BCCI chief.  Full Article 

S&P on Budget

S&P on Budget

Budget shows commitment to keep fiscal deficit low - S&P.  Full Article 

New Phone

New Phone

Samsung unveils sleek new Galaxy phones to battle Apple.  Full Article 

MH370 Search

MH370 Search

Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon.  Full Article 

Blogger's Murder

Blogger's Murder

Bangladesh says arrests main suspect in U.S. blogger Avijit Roy's killing.  Full Article 

England under Fire

England under Fire

Changes demanded after England's latest World Cup flop.  Full Article 

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin Rally

Anti-Putin protesters rally in New York after Nemtsov's murder.  Full Article 

Brit Awards

Brit Awards

Brit awards shake up British album chart, boost Sam Smith.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage