Steeped in culture and tradition, Raghavendra Rathore is the brainchild of Prince Rahgavendra Rathore of Jodhpur. Rathore’s royal lineage and 1200 years of family history are the foundations, which the brands style, inspiration and personal language are based upon.
The brand is driven by a holistic vision of luxury and inspired by the old world regalia of Rajasthan in India. The results are designs which, are reflective of their heritage, yet adaptable, clean and classic. Creating a viable, commercial and contemporary brand.
The Interview (London) speak with the founder, Raghavendra Rathore on his family background, an education in Electronics combined with experience working with Oscar de la Renta and Donna Karen. Find out how this has helped the brand strike a successful balance between commerciality and creativity:
Please can you introduce yourself and your brand?
We specialise in customising the Royal Jodhpuri Bandhgala suit, to personalities who value the meticulous craft that goes behind creating these garments. An incarnation of Indian nobility, the suit has evolved to be a part of a modern stylish man's wardrobe.
How would you define your brand and style?
I am always on the lookout for rich cultures that inspire and honour classic sensibilities. My mind is my workspace, where I am able to absorb my inspirations and then create ideas. My roots are very important to me. To me heritage and design that was once celebrated in the classic space, are a precious aplomb of our origins that define the sense of familiarity, a secret ingredient to everything that is design. The rich cultures of various communities globally inspire the classic sensibilities that I am always on the lookout for.
Please can you tell us about your education and career prior to starting your own brand?
My education and career though completely different have both complemented each other. Electronics and robotics teaches you logic whereas the arts accentuate the idea of creativity, collectively they emphasize the complete use of the right and left side of the brain. Creative ideas that come into my head are given direction and analyzed logically, giving a strong commercial viability to my creativity.
What was the most valuable lesson you took away from these experiences?
Oscar de la Renta is my role model and not because he is one of the most renowned fashion designers but because of the knowledge he imparted with me. His learning and philosophy of fashion is what I will cherish the most.
How are you bringing this to the Western world?
Ideas from the East, have recently found a larger share of space, on mood boards, at the helm of top international fashion ateliers, across the globe. Becoming part of a new understanding which is a blend of the East and the West, creating a mysterious appetite, for all kinds of objects of desire. We mostly see this in traditional arts and crafts, whether it is the enhancing techniques like embroideries, even certain drapes or silhouettes, that are reminiscent of eastern sensibilities. Trends from India or the Middle East now get processed by brilliant designers who have the power and understanding of repackaging luxury products that have a sense of eastern familiarity at the same time high equation of European sophistication.
How are you planning on developing and evolving your brand from here?
The new appetite for customised clothing and building a lifestyle around one's character is an interesting idea that is fuelling the new desire of bespoke services in India. The versatility of the Indian man and woman to be able to bridge the gap between traditional and global landscapes so seamlessly, is something that is really exciting to me. Therefore, it inspires me to create the perfect blend of traditional and contemporary influences in my designs.
Have design and creativity always been an intrinsic quality of yours?
My mother was a great force, as she came from a very different background, with enormous amounts of aesthetics that helped shape my childhood a considerably. My grandmother was the real sister of the Maharaja of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawi Man Singh, who was an international polo player and befriended European nobility and aristocracy from across the globe. But his sister, my grandmother, was a humble family loving matriarch, who obsessively spent most of the time with the grandchildren. So for myself, I found my oyster in her, spending time in her lap, watching every luxury brand, assuring appointments to sell her the most exotic of products from all across India and elsewhere. Surrounded always by very special ladies, they would either shun or accept an audience with only the best perfumers, bangle makers, Banaras silk merchants, and of course velvets and chiffons from Paris. This unique world, was alien for me, but looking back I now know that my destiny was clearly defined at a very early age.
Is there a particular creative/thought process which you go through?
To keep one’s personal style comfortable and within your character. The confidence will come with originality, not with aping what is “in”
You offer handcrafted bespoke tailoring. Can you tell us some more about this service and the techniques used?
We use highly skilled tailors, who have an understanding of textile, technique and most importantly aesthetics in their DNA.
The Equestrian Renaissance
Equestrian life and in particular polo is embedded in both the Indian and the British culture. With riding breeches being an iconic contribution to the fashion world.
How have you recreated designs inspired by the sport, Polo?
Jodhpur is the oldest among Rajputana’s great cities and is named after Rao Jodha, who founded it in 1459. The awe inspiring glory of the Mehrangarth Fort and the art-deco splendor of the majestic Umaid Bhawan Palace, are testimony to Jodpur’s lion-hearted character that reflects the immortality of its royal culture.
Renowned as much for its cultural wealth and for its equestrian passion, riding breeches have been its contribution to the world of fashion. I endeavour to showcase Jodhpur’s inherent vivacity and charm through my creations, which much like my city, portray culture, class and classic style.
What can we expect to see as you expand into the British market?
In regards to the UK I am working on Custom designed shirts. Each made by hand and paired with gold cufflinks.
How do you feel about the current fashion market? Competitors? International markets?
We want RR to become the first Indian brand (out of India) to join the exclusive club of luxury, internationally. We have now closed down women’s wear and are now focusing purely on men’s wear. We made a shift towards the customisation of clothes and products for our clientele. I never felt restricted by fashion but starting your own brand is hard work and expanding the brand is even harder. One has to be constantly in business to grow the business.