The eternal love for the Indian crafts is very well encapsulated in the following statement by Mr. Rohit Bal “A stitch in time revives a dying craft”.
The renowned fashion designer- Rohit Bal originally belongs to Kashmir. He earned his education from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and National Institute of Fashion Technology.He launched his own line in 1990 with a singular focus on traditional menswear category. His line later expanded into the womenswear and accessories category.
His design philosophy revolves around a notion- making something out of nothing. His innovative and experimental skills are quite evident in his work.The core strengths of his collections are the exotic Indian crafts and textiles. His work is immensely inspired from the royal mughal and the gupta period.
The time magazine has appropriately defined him as India’s Master of Fabric and Fantasy.He prefers to work majorly on Muslin and Khadi fabric. His label has evolved on the basis of the transformation in the lifestyle and aspiration of his clients.
Inspiration from the Nature
He has been deeply attracted towards the two extraordinary gifts of nature- the lotus and the peacock since the advent of his design career. This has made them an integral part of his designs. Although, both these objects are quite contrasting in their qualities, their beauty is given an aesthetic makeover through his breathtaking designs.
He is quite experimental in his approach. This has led his to constant engagement in introducing multiple styles in his various collections rather than focussing on any specific signature style.
He believes in showcasing the rich cultural heritage of India in his designer clothes. This is clearly evident in his clothes which he exclusively designs for the renowned celebrities. He emphasizes on the fact that India is self sufficient in terms of the creative expertise required in creating the aesthetic pieces of garment through his marvellous collections. His collaboration with the Khadi Gram Udyog signifies his respect towards indigenous fabric and his profound sense of pride for his motherland.
Off White is used more often in his collections along with the elegant Kashmiri embroidery. Such features enhances the element of rarity in his outfits. He also prefers to make use of Ombre in his garments to give an innovative touch to them.Apart from this, his love for pastels and earthy tones of his dresses is equally admirable.
The three collections which would surely affirm your perception regarding the affiliation of Bal with his dearest motherland would now be discussed in the following section.
The Gulbagh Collection
The Gulbagh collection was showcased at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015. The title of the collection itself signifies a garden of roses. The floral designs used in it drew their inspiration from the majestic floral beauty of Kashmir. All the garments exhibited the incomparable aura and the multiple hues visible within the gardens of the Mughal era of Kashmir.
The spectacular selection of exotic fabrics and designs in this collection enhanced the beauty of the Gulbagh collection.The designs used by him were quite distinctive and bold in nature.The couturier in Mr. Bal found its most appropriate reflection in this collection.
The Shaahaan-e-Khaas Collection
The Shaahaan-e-Khaas collection was exhibited in 2017 in the Indian Couture Week which is organized by Fashion Designer Council of India.
This collection focussed on reviving the traditional Indian crafts. It derived its inspiration solely from the glorious Mughal times.The ensembles within this collection were beautifully adorned with golden zari embroidery. Another unique feature about this particular collection was the usage of a new motif- cock throughout this collection rather than the other two signature motifs – lotus and peacock.
The motifs used in this collection depicted the commendable craftsmanship which has been inherited from one the Golden age of Indian history-The Mughal Period.
The Guldastaah Collection
The distinguished attitude of Mr. Rohit Bal can be guaged from one of his recent collections i.e. the Guldastah collection which is one of his most distinctive works.This collection was launched in 2018 in India Couture Week.
This has been one of his landmark work wherein he intended to emphasize the aesthetic beauty existing in Kashmir. It actually aimed at redefining the unpleasant image of Kashmir on the Indian map which has become synonymous with the bloodshed and political instability.
Guldastah basically translates to a bouquet of flowers. This collection made use of flared silhouettes and fine fabrics including cotton silk blends, velvet, silk, silk organzas and chanderi. The entire collection embodied the luxurious characteristics with the usage of intricate zari embroidery and elaborate floral prints.
This initiative actually served as an eye opener for those undermining the exquisite creative capabilities of the Kashmiris. The primary source of inspiration of this collection was the natural treasures present at Kashmir.
The attractive floral prints which were a prominent part of the collection were inspired from the exotic flowers present on the magnificent shikharas of the Dal Lake, the dry chinar leaves and the sun dried red chillies within the secluded parts of Kashmir. Whoever will closely view this collection would be reminded about the natural treasures of the heaven of the earth including the flamingos, lilies and the sunflowers.
The intricate craftsmanship of the region was also evident in the intricate zari embroidery undertaken on the external surface of the garments which were a part of this collection.
This collection was also presented at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2019 by a collaboration between the Usha Silai Fashion Brand and Mr. Rohit Bal.The Usha Silai Fashion Brand was basically launched to enhance livelihood opportunities for women.
Under this project, the women of Kashmir were provided comprehensive training. This primary objective of training was to enrich their expertise in sewing the beautiful garments which were a part of this collection.It served as a commendable initiative towards women empowerment!!!
Hopefully, the bad boy image of Mr.Bal in the Indian fashion industry may get transformed after this discussion and his inclination towards his motherland attain the limelight!! Sometimes a mindful exploration brings a major transformation in our thoughts. Isn’t it??