In this week’s episode of #TailorMadeBiz, in association with Linen Club, Sohila Bajaj talks to designers Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna and uncovers how they became the country’s first prêt menswear designers.
Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna’s sartorial journey began two decades ago in 1997. They started out at a time when there were no fashion weeks to showcase their work and the designer couture out there was primarily traditional wear. Soon, they were anointed the country’s first prêt menswear designers; even winning the ‘GQ- Designers of the year’ award in 2011.
Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna believe in curating garments that are timeless and elegant. Their designs are focused on silhouettes and detailing as they draw inspiration from linear structures and geometrical lines with influences from modern contemporary art. Their creations have now made their way to Selfridges in London and showcased at Tranoi in Paris and New York.
Today, they are also known for their collections of womenswear with loyalists such as Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra donning their outfits. They have three stand-alone stores within the country and reach out to over 100 multi-designer stores and boutiques nationwide, such as Harvey Nichols, Swank and Sun Motoyama, Anthropologie, Seibu, Depenchmode, and H. Audrey.
Excerpts from the interview:
Sohila: So between the two of you, you were able to bring the best of both; technical education and work experience. How did you guys start the label
Rahul: I think we merged together because of our similarities in taste. We were very minimalistic when we started out, and we wanted to do something simple which was not available in the market. At that time, the design world was full of bridal wear and there were designers but no one was doing prêt. We both were travelling to London together on a holiday and saw The Sock Shop. This made us think, why don't we launch a 'shirt shop'? So, we opened with a shirt shop.
Rohit: And we opened it in the garage of my house. Thank god no overheards (laughs). Luckily for us, it became a hit.
Sohila: You guys are the first ever menswear prêt designers in India.
Rohit: And it started with just different types of shirts.
Rahul: What we had introduced at that time was the 'fitted' shirt when everything in the market was loose and baggy. People would ask "who will wear it?"
Rohit: And big brands like Linen Club specially manufacture amazing linen for us which were of different varieties.
Rahul: We used to spend hours and hours at the linen factory. We started with a lot of linen clubwear shirts. The trend was changing as men started becoming fitter and more conscious of their bodies making our shirts an instant hit. After that there was no looking back.