From his famous clothing line Distress to his collaboration with Koovs and his Lakme Fashion Week stint in 2017, it’s hard to say for sure how many ventures Kunal Rawal has dipped his toes in. Kunal began his career with his first store Distress with a youthful men’s contemporary line. From the beginning, he proved his flair for fashion and design in a space already budding with amateur and established designers. After working his way up in the fashion industry, he debuted his collection at the prominent Lakme Fashion Week in 2017 and recently partnered with Koovs for a pret collection. Kunal’s line is built on the principles of versatility and the intriguing complexity of garment structures. Read on as Kunal Rawal sheds some light on his career and gives aspiring designers his best advice for making it in the industry.
LL – When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
Kunal Rawal – As long as I can remember, I’ve always looked up to my dad; he’s always been my style inspiration. Before I knew it his aesthetic got engraved into my fashion sensibilities.
I definitely made some questionable choices as a kid; I experimented with hair extensions, braided hair. I’ve been all around the spectrum and back. My dad had an export house; my sister and I would accompany him to the factory often. I so vividly remember one room, which was full of different fabrics, just layers and layers of it, we used to jump around and play this game where used to try to guess the fabric by only touch and feel.
I have been around clothes and fabrics since I can remember, which gravitated evoked an interest in fashion at an early age and very naturally gravitated towards fashion designing from then on.
From your first venture in 2006 to the runway in 2017 and 2018, describe your journey from Dstress to Lakme Fashion Week?
I started Dstress as a youthful men’s contemporary wear label. Parallel to Dstress, I also forayed into costume designing for several prominent personalities in the Hindi film industry. The ’next step’ to this journey was to create an ethnic-evening wear collection for the modern Indian man. I started Kunal Rawal Label in 2017 as a luxury Indian contemporary brand. Which has become popular for its non-conformist and multi-functional approach towards design; the brand speaks volumes for its cultivated imperfection and unconventional aesthetic while being deeply rooted in its Indian culture.
With Lakme Fashion Week since 2017 celebrities like Anil Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan, Prateik Babbar have closed the show for the label Kunal Rawal. The brand has not only been worn by most A-listers in India but also the likes of artist Pharrell Williams, comedian Hasan Minhaj, designer Michael Russo, Edouard Guerrand Hermès of Hermès, Senior VP at Apple Eddy Cue, BOF Founder Imran Ahmed and many more.
What is the inspiration behind your “Winter Perspective” collection at LFW 2018?
‘Winter Perspective’ is visualized as a mirror of chaos that can have numerous unique point of views. With an anti-trend approach and multi-functional designs, Kunal’s motive is to let the collection be uniquely adapted and expressed individually by way of style exploration. The collection brings out the true essence of the notion that’s there’s always more than meets the eye.
How would you depict the modern Indian man?
Men are more aware of their body types and the trends prevailing globally. They are well researched and hence aware of the options available in the market. They are taking an informed decision on what they like to wear and what’s actually them. They show more interest in the process considering they are more involved and have the decision making power.
Moving on in terms of trends we see more of tone on tone and modern silhouettes and patterns working for men these days.
What is the common mistake men make when curating their looks?
I feel aping trends blindly. Not dressing according to one’s personal style and keeping one’s body type in mind are mistakes people make while curating their looks.
Who is the one celebrity you love to see your designs on?
As a stylist, I have enjoyed working on designing and styling the look keeping the personality in mind and have applied my aesthetic while catering to their requirements. I have been fortunate enough to work with a lot of celebrities in the industry. To mention few names wwithinve worked with in the past Mr. Bacchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar etc.
Describe the “Kunal Rawal x Koovs” collection in one word.
Grungy because the collection is industrial in aesthetic and language Vibrant Progressive, this is something I strongly believe in. The pieces can be worn all across the globe that can fit into different aesthetics and versatile.
There’s so much pressure for designers to come out with their greatest collection season after season. What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
Follow your vision!
Where: Kunal Rawal
Dstress House, 125A, Opposite Sujay Hospital, 10th Cross Road,
Gulmohar, JVPD, Juhu, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400049
Phone: 097696 47696