Rina Dhaka is one of India's most dynamic fashion designers who has reigned the ramp for more than three decades. She is all set to showcase her new collection, ‘Urban Tribe’, today at FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week 2022. It is inspired by archives, vintage embroideries, and botanical prints. Excerpts from the interview:
How did you source the detailings for this collection?
We don’t out source, we create our material for fashion week. Basic raw materials are cotton crepe, tulle, and organza, along with a lot of stretchy fabric. We make our prints by taking inspiration from art, real-life vintage pieces, or botanical plants and then play with that. It can be distressing the denim or printing on organza...
What is sustainability to you?
Sustainability is a journey, it's a moment. I'm not successful all the way, but I use alternate leather due to being a PETA representative. I use patches and leftovers so that we can use these materials even if we are producing a bulk order. We minimise the use of paper. In future, I plan to use patchwork, repurpose clothing, and redesign.
You have been looked at as the contemporary women's designer... Is it overwhelming living up to the image for more than three decades?
You try to live up to the image. However, fortunately, when I started in this industry, there was no media, no concept of money... just youth and energy. Now, I do shows with people as young as or younger than my children. But as they say in Buddhism, age doesn’t matter, it's my spirit that should stay young.
How was it working with a government organisation like Khadi India for your previous collection?
I have worked with a skill development training programme for KVIC, with the Uttar Pradesh government, which is called One District-One Product (ODOP). Working with the government is wonderful because it provides access to materials that you would not be able to obtain otherwise. Khadi is a miracle fabric. It's our soul and has different weights, colours, weaves, and genres. Today, I have young and fashionable girls wanting to wear our khadi lehenga and corset to Diwali parties.
Are your designs influenced by the colours and trends of the season?
Yes, we do colour forecasting. It is the technique of forecasting the colours and colour stories consumers will want to buy in the future. We like to follow trends and some basic identifiers. However, when we start working on a collection, the clothes show us the way. You get around with draping and doodling.
What is your take on fashion trends? What do you like and hate about them?
The upside is that you look forward to being the ‘it girl’ in the season’s trend. On the downside, you buy more, but the industry needs the cycle of seasons and trends to survive. Fashion is a technical and research-driven profession, so your mind is like a galloping horse. The trend keeps you in control. Otherwise, it can get unreal given the amount of imagination you get to produce the collection. Nowadays, trends are like a command – this is our uniform for this season and you all have to follow it. If not, then you cannot be a part of the season, which I don’t like about current trends.