In the last two months, fashion designer Kunal Rawal launched two new collections back to back, each with a unique style language.
First was a menswear-only range ‘Hide & Seek’ unveiled at the phygital India Couture Week 2020 and the second collection ‘Process’, including edgy outfits for men and women, was shown at the digital Lakmé Fashion Week, modelled by Sonakshi Sinha and Ishaan Khatter.
In an interview with LuxeBook, Rawal takes us behind the scenes of the making of ‘Process’ that brings alive the original inspiration behind his label – the process of creating garments.
Process focuses on occasion and festive wear, but is created in a palette of blacks, whites, greys and creamy hues. The collection has a lot of versatile separates that range from modern luxury to deep rooted traditional pieces. “We strongly believe in military tones for occasion wear and our last collection had touches of military green, while in this edit, we have transitional looks in steel grey, silver charcoal, and navy greys – a lot of firsts for us,” says Rawal.
‘Process’ is also about intimate storytelling, seen through hand embroidery, washed fabrics, tone-on-tone garments and of course, a lot of monochrome colour play.We have focused on increasing mobility for the wearer via deconstructed shoulders, sweat-absorbent linings and body cheating cuts.
What was the idea behind the fashion film you showcased at LFW?
We tried to loosely set our show in three different environments, bringing forth the journey of a product, from inception to reality. To me, this journey is always as exciting as the day I get to see the final product. We did it this way, hoping that the customers we cater to would also be as inquisitive about our process.
What kind of outfits does ‘Process’ include?
‘Process’ has a range of distinct pieces, from sherwanis, kurta shirts, heavily embroidered bundies and Jodhpuri jackets to a daring backless jacket, slim-line shirts and narrow trousers.
Another trend that we’ve explored is ‘sheen and not shine’ in the form of metallic highlights in oxidized tones.
How have you evolved as a designer since the year (2006) you founded your brand?
I think, over the years I’ve taken a slightly less selfish approach to design. Earlier it was about me and what I wanted to put out there. But today, it’s about the voice of the person wearing the outfit. I focus on what are the things that will be important to them?
This collection is inspired by the needs of young India, so we’ve created pieces that range from contemporary to traditional.
How has the space of luxury menswear changed in the last few years?
I believe, consumers are far more involved today. Our research showed us that men weren’t involved in the process of purchasing their garments and styling them as much earlier. Today, all that has changed; men are far more informed.
Grooms come to us with Pinterest inspiration boards and they know exactly which piece is from which collection. And we’ve focused on making this process more enjoyable for them.
Today’s consumer is interested in knowing whether a garment is handmade in India or is machine produced. People are looking for versatile separates, something that they can style differently on different days as whole new look. They are looking for multitasking pieces that can be used for functions as diverse as a red carpet to a sangeet or to an intimate gathering or a destination wedding.
How have you incorporated sustainability in your new collection?
Consumers and professionals in the fashion industry are shifting their focus to sustainability, conscious consumption, and most of all, handmade, local and one-of-a-kind pieces.
Everything we make is made to order. We incorporate a zero-waste pattern cutting to minimize wastage and we also use our excess for patchwork designs.
Any apparel in the ‘Process’ collection can be used to make four to eight looks without looking like a repeat! We sell our separates and encourage clients to style them with pre-owned Kunal Rawal pieces to promote conscious consumption.
We’ve also incorporated digital lookbooks in all our stores to initiate a paperless experience. Lastly, almost everything at KR is being handmade in the country, to, hopefully, bring the Indian ecosystem back to pre-Covid times as soon as possible.