The style of 'Sunheri'

Designer Rahul Mishra gives a modern touch to Indian textiles traditions in his collection Sunheri which is at display at Rudraksh Store. Here is a short chat with the man behind the designs…

RahulMishra_hi-res1Going by the number of designers coming to the city, it seems the fashion sense is getting better and Puneites will not settle for anything less. Pune is also the home or rather base to a multi-designer store, Rudraksh, which can be credited to bringing top-level Indian designers to the city and their latest collection up for grabs. Rahul Mishra is the latest name to come here and he has his collection at the store from November 29th. He has brought his collection Sunheri which is the designer’s fall winter collection and is his way to keep Indian traditions alive.
To cut it short, Sunheri has Indian crafts and handlooms but not on the heavier side. You will find floral motifs combined with light textiles to create heirloom pieces. “This collection is first of its kind which I showcased at the Lakme Fashion Week 2013. I was curious of how to show old heritage in terms of textiles and techniques like embroidery and so on which is more than 35 years old. By old, I mean the photographs of my parent’s wedding photographs where I saw my mother’s collection of Chanderi, Banarasi saris. These are sunheri yaadien. Thus, the name and idea came about. The craft is as precious as gold. Though it is the past, it has to be relevant for today for the modern woman,” Rahul states.
For him, modern fashion is all about comfort. “The collection in Sunheri is lightweight. It can look opulent and yet simple. It has drama and celebration of colours. The collection celebrates real India.”
You will seen some interesting use of textiles in creating kalidaars, bandgalas, lehengas and saris, along with jackets to go with the saris. It has Chanderis, Banarasis and Maheshwari, embroidery, but nothing is ‘in your face’. Rahul prefers calling it unique and modern, yet traditional.

I am not here to sell clothes per kilo.

Rahul interestingly uses the term Handloom Couture to define his work and collection. He calls his collection as a work which has been thoughtfully worked on. “No two pieces are similar. It has a handmade element but not exorbitantly priced. I am not here to sell clothes per kilo.” As for the buyers, he feels they should love them as they add to their personality. “The clothes are for those who love themselves.”
With the Indian market flooded with both Indian and international brands, you do feel curious of whether Rahul finds handling such competition difficult or easy. He finds competition as oxygen for creativity. “It is the best thing to happen. We try to innovate. All of us want to impress and so compete for space. All want this attention to stay longer.”
For those uninitiated in the world of fashion, Rahul was the winner of scholarship at Instituto Marangoni in Milan. This prestigious event in his life must have had an impact on him. Rahul agrees and feels he became more thoughtful of brands and creating himself more better. “Here (in India), we are always aping the foreign brands. We treat them as godsent and so get intimidated by them. I stayed in Milan where showrooms of all big brands were present. I got to know the brands. They do some amazing stuff and are inspiring, but they are human and designs started from where I am – from the beginning. All you need to have is an identity. When I started work on handloom, not many were speaking about it. Now even international brands want to do the same. Fashion has done for India what even the IT sector could not do.”
Though he is known for his Indo-modern attires, Rahul prefers not having a tags to his work, as he thinks there are endless possibilities. “I want to challenge myself or I will stop evolving. I am a creative person and want to surprise people. Just like filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, I do not want to be known by one style of films.”
He loves Pune and the crowd as he feels people here have high standards and refined tastes, who appreciate and understand fashion. Well, let the designs keep flowing in, Rahul Mishra.