Kunal Rawal, the youngest designer to exhibit his collection at the Lakme Fashion Week, recently joined NewsX for a candid interview as part of NewsX India A-List. Kunal has worked for several prominent Bollywood personalities like Anil Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan among others, who have come ahead to close the show for him.
Recapping his journey and how Kunal decided to become a designer, he said, “I knew pretty early on as my family works in textiles and my dad has an export firm. He used to go to this factory and used to take me and my sister as well to late night drives at the factory. We both used to climb up and shut eyes and play this game and guess the fabric. Pretty early on, I knew textiles and fashion is what I want to do and what my calling is and where my interest lies.”
Kunal started his label ‘Kunal Rawal Dstress’ in 2006. Having graduated from London School of Fashion, his style of design can be best described as one in which traditional Indian clothing meets contemporary designs with an edgy twist. The designer further continued, “The more I got into it the more I realised that there were so many things going wrong because a lot of men didn’t choose what they wear for the occasion. They didn’t dress according to how they felt and had a severe lack of optionality.”
Talking about the USP of his brand and label, Kunal said, “The idea was to put in elements details to pique men’s interest rather than having them just wear something that’s given to them. And the more you pique interest, the more the conversation starts, and that’s what I’ve been consciously trying to put in elements and a design aesthetic that is slightly more relatable, slightly more catering to the user. Today, I am all for traditional clothing, I love it, but I think it needs to be modernised and contemporise to suit the headspace of us today and the lifestyle that we all live globally.”
When asked what inspired him to create his first designer collection back then to now, Kunal said “Inspiration keeps changing, inspiration, keeps evolving but if I have to pick one or two inspirations. I would say people is what inspires me. I personally believe that the youth in India, the younger generation is far more progressive than the youth of even the strongest first world countries. That is very inspiring.”
Sharing some personal lessons learned and challenges faced during lockdown, Kunal said, “This last year and a half, has been quite a challenge for all of us and especially for as much for our industry compared to any other. Well, I am a creative person first, and then a business owner. So, both these have called on different different emotions through the year. To be honest, I think we’ve all learned as much as we’ve learned our whole life in the last year and a half. We’ve been through a gamut of emotions living life. We felt anger, pain, happiness, helplessness we have gone through, the entire cycle of emotion circumstances, and every month, every day actually has been very, very different.”
“When being a creative person, I have enjoyed bits and pieces of last year as it gave me a good amount of time to go back to how I used to create when I was much younger, finding and chasing a thought and doing R&D and all of that so that was exciting. Creatives have a way of constructively using any emotion. I managed to put out the two big collections last season, you know, we did the India Couture Collection and Lakme Fashion Week so I’m glad I got some creative energy out. But, as a business owner things kept changing and it’s been quite challenging. My biggest learning through last year, is the importance of a plan A, plan B, plan C,” he added.