It is said that behind every successful man, there's a woman. Barkha, popular Santoor player Rahul Sharma's wife, has been a major part of Rahul Sharma's dressing and exclusively speaking to this lady is a pleasure beyond words. Both the husband and wife have even performed for PM Narendra Modi recently, which only adds to their credit.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Your website says that you design clothes only for men. So does that get difficult?
When we started off men's wear, it was a really niche market and we used it like a blank slate where we could experiment different things and excel in it. That's how we decided to do men's wear. To destress, we (me and my sister Sonzal) go shopping for women's wear.
With women, you can create maybe a saree for them, but with men, there's some restriction. So is that a drawback for you?
When you design things correctly - with classiness, perfect cuts, impeccable finishing and know how to customize the designs according to a person's personality - like if a person can carry it off, it'll be great on him. So depending on people's choices, we have created all type of looks - from simple and sleek to a lot of experimental looks (like Rahul Sharma's). Namaste India actually has design made of string beans and red cabbage, green peas.
What was your inspiration to take up fashion designing?
My sister studied fashion designing in London. A lot of her collections were put in the museum. Sometimes, she'd call me to just think of an idea. I've always been into handicrafts and she's been good with technical aspects. So together we decided to get into men's wear , create a brand with unique looks. We're brought up with values that speak about integrity, scenic beauty. Especially since we are born and brought up in Kashmir, with Kashmiri artefacts around us. We saw beauty in natural things and that was an inspiration, motivation and happiness.
'I would love my husband Rahul to promote everything Indian'
What was the idea behind creating outfits which can be worn inside out?
Since I love handicraft, I like products which have heart and soul. Some of the handicraft product are not particular about finishing, but since my sister was a lot into the technical aspect, who emphasized a lot of the finishing and wanted it to look impeccable with a finishing too! When we did that, a product would look even more classier. We wanted that person to enjoy choice of wearing it either inside or outside. The ultimate motive is to make them feel good. So we just decided that everything should look like a finished masterpiece.
You husband Rahul Sharma has an identity through clothes as well. So if given a chance, would you like to change that?
His identity is the santoor. Frankly, I would love him to promote India and everything Indian. He can easily carry off a tuxedo because of his looks, but we travel all over the world and hence it gets important for us to represent India. We are playing for people from different culture, cast and we need to represent our rich culture. Once upon a time, India had best clothes in the world and it was exported from India worldwide. So why shouldn't we stand for Indian values? Only thing is that we (me & Sonzal) try to do it in a cool way and keeping in poise today's times so people can't even recognize where the person is from and basically there's no stereotyping. That's what we're trying to promote. Indian clothes are like that if worn correctly and cut in a certain way.
Do you and Sonzal have creative differences? If yes, how do you deal with them?
Yes of course. Like every sister, we argue a lot on things like who's going to do more work or what's the status with things. But at the end of the day we are sisters, so we also patch up immediately! If someone else looks at our silly fight, they'll be laughing, but yeah!
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