Gaurav Khanijo first drew his design inspiration from his immigrant grandfather who always dressed impeccably in custom-made clothes. This formed the foundation of his fashion label ‘Khanijo’, which is a nostalgic, sartorial ode to a time when personal style reflected craftsmanship and culture. His work offers a new homegrown classic for the contemporary.
He believes in taking artisanal traditions forward and creating contemporary clothing rooted in diverse cultures. He infuses his fabrics with a plethora of colors and textures using indigenous weaves and hand-woven techniques.
His design aesthetic can be classified as part vintage, part classic, and part modern. It complements the lifestyle of a neo indigenous man, focusing on mobility and functionality, along with easy layering. Gaurav creates understated menswear in modern settings that are constructed using simple (but archival) bespoke techniques. His label is akin to an epiphany of India’s artisanal brilliance, tailormade for urban demands.
Bollywood celebrities such as Arjun Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Sidharth Malhotra, Farhan Akhtar, Irrfan Khan, Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao have been proponents of the brand.
CNBC-TV18 anchor Sohila Bajaj meets Gaurav Khanijo as he reveals how he maintains his almost minimalistic design aesthetic among an audience that demands ostentatious designs.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
Sohila: What does fashion mean to you?
Gaurav: For me, fashion is a mood though I hate the term fashion. I always wanted to become a designer and I love clothing. I love dressing up and to dress people up. I think when I got into the industry I felt it was still a bit confused. While the magazines want to see you put your best work on the ramp, the buyers want something else and your key customer wants something different. So, finding that balance is difficult. That's why I've divided my label into three sub-categories: one, Khanijo Soul which is easy, lounge/travel wear which involves a lot of linen. I use a lot of linens and natural fabrics. The second is Khanijo Lab, which is experimental wear; something I think India isn't yet ready to embrace. The third is Khanijo Root, which is primarily Indian wear that includes classic achkans and bandhgalas.
Sohila: You said you use a lot of linen and handloom fabrics, why linen?
Gaurav: When I started out, I bought a lot of fabric from Linen Club and still do. If you see my work, you'll see it is a lot about textures and fabrics. Linen is one of the best fabrics I've come across; especially since we live in a country that has such arid summers linen is great during that time.
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