ACE DESIGNER ROCKY STAR ON HIS LATEST COLLECTION, FUTURE AMBITIONS AND TOP STYLE TIPS FOR WOMEN BY ASJAD NAZIR Indian fashion going global is all thanks to a select group of forward-thinking designers who blazed a trail for others to follow. One of those at the centre of this revolution has been Rocky Star. The commerce graduate realised early on he was inclined towards fashion and enrolled at a design school. Soon after, he began styling for celebrities before starting his label Rocky Star in 1995. Rocky realised people had become more fashion conscious and followed his instincts into the luxury market. Since then, it has become a globally-renowned brand people identify with and love, which has helped put India on the international fashion map. He has now branched out in diverse directions, including home décor, and recently returned for another show at the London Fashion Week. Eastern Eye caught up with the ace designer to talk about all things fashion, including his journey, top style tips, inspirations and future predictions. Tell us, how are you able to maintain such a high standard? There is nothing more important to me than quality craftsmanship. Innovation comes hand-in-hand. I believe in creating the best quality garments and designs for my clientele. Staying true to your essence and to your art is key. I’ve believed in sincerity and hard work, and the rest falls in place. Which of your many achievements are you most proud of? I believe in constantly trying to push boundaries and look at various design avenues to showcase my creativity. I’m proud of the space I’ve created for the brand in the lifestyle arena. After having carved a niche in couture, we decided to make designer styles accessible to all with our high street brand, RS by Rocky Star. We’ve expanded and dwelled into furniture and home décor with RS Home. We have also ventured into hospitality with Rocky Star Cocktail Bar. Expanding my horizons and creatively contributing to different avenues, while also understanding a whole new industry and retail chain is challenging, yet invigorating at the same time. You have delivered catwalk shows globally, but which has been the most memorable? Every show has been a memorable one. Having said that, two shows that I particularly remember are the first showcase in India years ago and my first show at the London Fashion Week in 2016. Today, where do you draw your inspirations from and tell us about your latest collection? I’ve been in constant admiration of the baroque era, its art, architecture, and opulence. Everything about it astonishes me. With my Autumn Winter 2019 collection, I’ve tried to recreate that splendour in a modern, more relevant fashion. I believe there is so much unexploited creative territories in that period that can be incorporated into designs. It’s a memorising era and I try to manifest a little of that in my styles for the modern, fierce and fearless women. This season, we have altered our approach in accordance with the changing fashion sensibilities. The aesthetic is contemporary with Gothic traces and influences. Edgier cuts, sharp silhouettes, more street flair with high fashion flounce, take centre stage in the collection. Every garment can be styled to either dress up or dress down, depending on the occasion. How would you describe the woman who wears your creations? Our brand talks about being the best version of yourselves, striving for excellence and never settling for less. We design for women who encapsulate this while being independent and bold. They are comfortable in their own skin and love to experiment with fashion. Women who are fierce, fearless and love to break set norms inspire me to make fashion that caters to their understanding of style. You delivered another fashion show in London; what keeps bringing you back to the city? Every showcase at the London Fashion week has been special. I truly believe in treating each show with the same enthusiasm as the first. So even though this was my sixth season of showcasing in London, I had the same energy and drive. To see your vision come to life in the most beautiful way on the ramp season after season is what makes me work harder and push boundaries. We’ve not only carved a niche for the brand, but also for Indian fashion in London. How does London compare to other cities in terms of fashion? London is recognised as one of the global fashion countries and I am very glad to have the ability to represent India on this platform. A lot of myself has gone behind creating and putting together shows in a way that can appeal to a global audience while also keeping in mind London fashion and style. London is certainly one of the trendsetters in terms of international fashion. What can we expect next from you and what do you predict will be the hot trends for this year and in 2020? Luxury high street is a trend that is here to stay and shall continue to rule street style in 2020 in structured and tailored silhouettes. Fashion that is absolutely versatile in gender-neutral looks will surface in relaxed, comfortable styles. Functional and fuss-free fashion shall take the centre stage. What key fashion tip would you give? Less is more. Don’t go overboard and keep your look subtle. Concentrate on one aspect of your look. While the key to dressing for any occasion is to own the outfit you wear, but at the same time, it is important to have some fun with fashion and experiment with styles and silhouettes. Opt for materials that are light in a colour palette that complement your skin tone. Following seasonal colours and trends blindly is not the best way to go about it. Finally, it’s all about comfort. The way you feel in an outfit is what shows. So opt for styles that elevate your personality and not those that bring you down. What do feel are the biggest fashion mistakes women make? I believe in dressing according to the body type. When you’re comfortable in what you wear, it is seen. Even while designing for clients, I look at what would work best on them depending on their body rather than trends. Tell us your biggest unfulfilled fashion ambition? I don’t believe in unfulfilled ambitions. I believe in working for everything I wish to achieve by trying day after day to make it happen to the best of my ability. One such ambition is to make Indian fashion globally recognised. Even though I will continue retailing and making new collections for my Indian clientele, global expansion is my next focus for our brand. Also, we are, through these international showcases, trying to spotlight Indian fashion, its beautiful intricacies and handcrafted techniques on a global level and I’m sure my vision for Indian fashion will be a fulfilled ambition. What are your big passions away from work? I love travelling. It is my way of meditating. Diving deep into a whole new world, understanding different cultures and exploring new places and open my eyes to newer experiences. I am often inspired during my travels, which result in the different collections I come back and create. What does the future hold for your brand? This year and next seem like a great year so far with exciting projects and collections in the pipeline. We are working on our couture collection, which will be out mid this year. We’ve also opened our studio in Mumbai, to enable our clientele to have an exclusive luxury experience of our offerings. We’ve also launched our website this year and are looking at enhancing the shopping experience online. Our focus is to make our brand available and accessible to our international customers. Why do you love fashion? Fashion is a creative outlet of expression. It’s an art form and I love the creative process. From when an inspiration strikes, to see it come to life, is a fulfilling journey for me. Sketching to selection of fabrics to pattern making, I truly enjoy the details.