As Rohit Kamra gets ready to showcase his collection at Amazon India Fashion Week 2016, the designer recalls how one opportunity changed his fortunes.

HYDERABAD: In 2003, when Rohit Kamra met Priyadarshini Raje Scindia, (MP Jyotiraditya Scindia’s wife) he was wearing a denim ryder pants with a simple, high collared white short kurta. “I was wearing self-designed denim ryder pants at a time when it was unheard of; only horse riders wore it. Also people were not accustomed to seeing a short kurta either. I must have got it stitched at some random tailor shop,” he recalls. That incident changed Rohit’s fortunes. Now, as he gets ready to showcase his collection ‘Made in Jeypore’ at Amazon India Fashion Week (AISW 2016 ) on March 18, the Jaipur-based men’s wear designer attributes his success to Buddhism, which kept him going in the tough times and his determination to work hard.

Initial years

As a youngster, Rohit was taking care of his parental business. The family incurred losses in running the departmental store. “We were in a dire situation and with no financial back up, it gave me an impetus to practice Buddhism. Through it, I have been able to manifest my design sensibilities,” he affirms. The first few years were tough, he admits. The agony continued when this commerce-graduate failed the NIFT entrance exam. His family was into manufacturing and were selling garments for uniforms for five-star hotels. “An opportunity can change the course of one’s life. Taj group was coming up with a hotel at Gwalior with Priya Raje Scindia’s family. The group sent me to meet her and she liked the dress I was wearing and the way I carried myself. I always designed my own clothes so it helped me to understand the requirements. I sent her the sample which was appreciated,” he reminiscences. There has been no looking back after that.

Rohit began designing uniforms for five star hotels. “Still, I was not a designer because a designer is the one who does a ramp show, right?” he smiles and asks. His second break came at Lakme Fashion Week, when he went there as an audience. “I was flabbergasted when I saw what was happening on the ramp in terms of Men’s wear. I thought, ‘If this is on the ramp then I can do better.’ That determination and desire to succeed took me forward and I found a mentor who gave me a break in serious fashion. I did a ramp show for the first time at Lakme India Fashion Week in 2007,” he says with pride.

That was the debut of the label Rohit and Abhishek (his brother). His label has undergone a change and at AISW 2016, it will be the debut of his label Rohit (‘I am still with my brother.’) Talking about the ‘Made in Jeypore’ collection, he says, “Since the time I started designing, this has been my signature style. It has been the story of modern maharaja. The classic garments were worn by the royalty. In today’s age, it is not about royalty but anyone who feels like a maharaja from within. The modern maharaja is one who feels like one, can wear my clothes and carry it off with a lot of aplomb.”

His clothes include jackets, blazers and slim fit beeches, with all an Indian inspiration. “Not many people could wear traditional beeches so I have transformed and made my own style of slim beeches which look like an innovative variation of a slim trouser. From cuts and colours, the look is young and a reinterpretation of the classics. It is also targeted at international buyers,” he explains.

Rohit’s calling has been designing in Men’s wear segment. “I have experimented with clothes, styles and looks on myself. It is said that designers have a little feminine trait but I think my sensibilities have been masculine, powerful and very straight forward,” he notes. Any plans to open a store in Hyderabad? “Hopefully, soon,” he ends with a laugh.

Rohit speaks

Trends are important but not so important that you lose your identity. Maintain your individuality.

Comfortable clothing is a must but sometimes fashion clothing makes one happy. It could a fancy jacket or shoes which looks nice. It could be a little uncomfortable, but bear with it.

Wear whites and all the bright colours this summer. Choose a colour which suits your skin tone.

Don’t wear tight T-shirts if you have a small belly. Also out shirt is a better idea. Shorter and smaller clothing suits teenagers and not older people.

My style mantra: ‘Be different, yet go with the flow.’