Passing by Raghavendra Rathore looks beyond the frivolity of fashion trends

It's easy to understand why Raghavendra Rathore is revered by his peers. He effortlessly stands apart from his fraternity that lives from season to season, abiding by the ‘in' cuts, colours and silhouettes. He was in Hyderabad for the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour but he'd rather talk about his holistic design approach rather than the clothes he is going to present for the season.

“We are not a fashion company but a design company trying to find solutions for other problems,” he says. Rathore owns two fashion labels, has designed jewellery, done interiors for hotels and surprised everyone when he turned chocolatier and later when he diversified into developing software for iPhones.

Diversification, he stresses, is something younger designers will need to do. “Youngsters fresh off fashion schools need to have a broader outlook. I personally wouldn't like to be just a frivolous fashion designer,” he says. No, he doesn't thumb down the fashion house he painstakingly built for more than a decade. “It's like a jumbo ride that needed a long runway. It took me 12 years to make people say that perhaps this is the way an iconic bandhgala should be designed. Reinventing and giving the bandhgala was challenging, so was getting them to look at the different things I do,” he says.

Rathore has stayed true to his roots in Jodhpur despite being away from India during his earlier years. “Growing up in America made me realise how much I had taken India for granted.” Travelling around Jodhpur or spending time in a room filled with memorabilia of Jodhpur in his studio inspires him impart traditional designs into his creations. He realises the need for indigenous designs. “Why can't we have stadiums that reflect India and its heritage for the Commonwealth Games?” he asks.

Indian styles and fabrics appeal to him. “I am sure if a Paris couture house takes up khadi, it will present the fabric in such a style that it will be a hit internationally. Unfortunately we don't have that patience,” he rues. He cites the new symbol of the Indian rupee as the first big sign that Indian design is coming of age.

He's recently designed the interiors of a hotel in Rajasthan and just launched a jewellery line in New Delhi that is a hybrid of tribal Rajasthani and South American designs, but what he wants to do immediately is patent an idea that he has worked upon. Refusing to divulge details, he shares that is working with an NGO and hopes that his design solution will help those below the poverty line. And no, it has nothing to do with fashion.