Fashion

Meet Kaushik Velendra who has come a long way from Kollywood to the runways of London

Kaushik Velendra

Kaushik Velendra   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

From being a spot boy to dressing up the stars and showcasing at the London Fashion Week, this former Chennai boy has had quite an arduous journey to the fashion world

Kaushik Velendra was rejected 16 times before he secured admission into Central St Martins, London. From that batch of 36, he was the only one who was placed in the Masters in Menswear Fashion programme.

Today, five years on, the 29-year-old has dressed supermodels like Alton Mason, and more recently, Ranveer Singh for a recently-concluded award show. If you noticed the actor’s sharp black suit with embellished power shoulders and sleek arms doing its rounds on social media, you should know it is Kaushik’s handiwork.

“That garment is a story of three countries,” says Kaushik, “The beading was done by Jean-Francois Lesage in Paris and Chennai, and the jacket was made by former Alexander McQueen craftspersons, now part of my team in London.”

This power look silhouette is what Kaushik showcased at his Autumn Winter show at London Fashion Week this January. The all-black collection comprised sculptural, body-shaping jackets and pants designed with the aim to enhance posture and flatter the male body. It can make the wearer feel like a super hero, believes the designer.

Meet Kaushik Velendra who has come a long way from Kollywood to the runways of London

That showing at London Fashion Week then became Kaushik’s big ticket to other bigger events across the globe. “I got invited for the Grammy Awards, BAFTA and Paris Fashion Week this year,” he says. He dressed Mason for the Grammys and Jack Brett Anderson for the BAFTA party.

While he may be hobnobbing with much of the western pantheon, his aim is to place India on the global fashion map. He says that when one counts the top fashion brands they think of Prada, Armani, Celine, Gucci... but there aren’t any Indian labels on that list.

And with his brand Maison Velendra, that is something he wants to change. Later this month, Kaushik will be on his way to Paris to attend the LVMH awards, for which he is short-listed. Instituted in 2013, it is a prestigious award honouring young fashion designers from around the globe, and one designer and three graduates from fashion schools can win the prize.

Now based out of London, with his fashion label opening offices in Milan, Paris, Los Angeles and New York, Kaushik recalls his formative years in India. He was born in Bengaluru and moved to Chennai in 2008. He worked as a light boy on the sets of Bollywood. He also cleaned garments; part of jobs he did to make money.

Meet Kaushik Velendra who has come a long way from Kollywood to the runways of London

“I worked on one half of the Mani Ratnam film Guru. I joined the team to fix and iron clothes. I needed the cash. Then I slowly evolved to assistant costume designer.” says Kaushik. “I was introduced to Kamal Haasan and took care of his clothing. I worked on retail, styling and designing and by 2014 I was done dressing everyone I wanted to,” he says. At that point, as a 22-year-old, he knew he needed to do something else and more to widen his horizon. In 2014, he managed to go to the Cannes Film Festival and showcase a line of menswear. “It’s where I met a lot of people including Uma Thurman and the producers of Pulp Fiction. That is where I was advised to further my skills at Central St Martins.”

And so he did. “That is how it all started. And all it took were 17 attempts and a never-give-up attitude.”

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:19:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fashion/from-kollywood-to-the-runways-of-london/article30851525.ece

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