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Mohit Rai says Bollywood, celebrity culture is important for every fashion brand

HealthLifestyleMohit Rai says Bollywood, celebrity culture is important for every fashion brand
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Creative director and co-founder of label ITRH talks about Lakme Fashion Week x FDCI runway debut and future plans

Celebrity stylist Mohit Rai is thrilled. She has completed the debut runway show of ITRH, a fashion label brand that she co-founded with Riddhi Bhansal. The show was presented on March 10 as part of the ongoing Lakme Fashion Week X FDCI in Mumbai.

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Bringing her vast editorial and red carpet styling experiences to ITRH, Rai’s aesthetic is synonymous with upbeat sass and unattainable glamour. For ITRH’s debut showcase, the duo embraced unbridled maximalism. “Most importantly, we went back to our love for disco and music… It’s super glamorous, absolutely full of red carpet drama and a whole heap of Indian contemporary sexiness,” he says.

In an interview with Lounge, Rai talks about the runway showcase and future plans for the brand. Edited excerpts:

ITRH has already been popular among film stars and influencers. What led you to your runway debut?

I think it’s because of the inherently glamorous nature of our clothes and our ensembles. Having said that, I feel a brand’s journey is never complete without being showcased on the runway.

Riddhi Bansal (designer) and I are both very old school, and we believe in the power of the runway. We believe that a brand has to come a perfect circle and a perfect moment to perform on the runway. We are extremely grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to exhibit at Lakme Fashion Week x FDCI this year. It takes a long time for a brand to reach this stage and for us the rate of journey has been very quick. I believe it was imperative for us to perform on the runway and we are grateful for this opportunity.

How much has your experience in Bollywood and as an editorial stylist influenced your design process for the brand?

My personal experience as a Bollywood and editorial stylist has clearly influenced the overall brand aesthetic. I am very impressed with the glamor industry, the realities and ergonomics of how it works and how the industry drives trends and economics.

Editorial is my first love and has influenced our overall brand aesthetic as well. We always believe in bigger is better. We look for something that makes a visual impact, shoots beautifully, and gives you that quintessentially editorial moment when you wear it. I think everything has a sense of maximalism attached to it. Working in design for almost more than a decade helps us to perfect our technical and almost everything that we can imagine and dream.

ITRH has been evening-centric with bodycon shapes, sparkle and bridal pieces. What’s your take on the antifit, indie, street-inspired aesthetic?

Yes, while we have been glamour-oriented, we as designers recognize the importance of what’s current and the language the current generation relates to. Anti-fit and street style is not something we are aware of, but it is slowly becoming a part of the brand with our expanded business pieces. You’ll start to see many of them in our main collection as well.

We love what’s trending in the world because while you can stay true to your aesthetic, it’s essential to stay relevant and current. We don’t want to be artists. Instead, we want to be designers and provide solutions to the world with our own aesthetics.

What’s the next step for ITRH?

After the runway shows, we are looking to expand to standalone stores. We would love to do brand collaboration. A lot is cooking up for the brand and 2023 is definitely going to be an exciting year for us. We look forward to more international appointments. Paris Hilton wearing the ITRH was definitely a dream moment for us. It is expected that 2024 will prove to be a great year for the brand.

Any dream muse you would love to wear and who embodies the values ​​of your brand?

Beyonce has always been an inspiration to the brand in terms of her overall maximalism and the sense of glamor that she embodies. His sense of music really inspires me and he is definitely our best inspiration. We hope that this dream will come true one day.

How do you conceptualize each collection? How is the process?

Each collection always begins with a texture and color for the season. After that we move on to samples and other processes. Since we are both textile design students, the process is very textile driven. The process then moves on to the body and we always start with the dupatta or the saree.

How do you cater to the non-gender tastes of today’s evolving customers?

We cater to the current non-gender sensibility in fashion. Many womenswear pieces are sold to men and menswear pieces such as bomber jackets and bandhgalabeing worn by women. The world should not be divided into gender binaries. These tags should disappear in the long run and fashion should have individuality and individual expression.

How important is Bollywood to your brand?

Bollywood and celebrity culture are extremely important to every fashion brand. This is because it influences how consumers are consuming fashion and also drives global trends. We cannot escape celebrity culture when it comes to fashion. While we follow it and understand its importance, we do not let it become the central character. We work with celebrities to create visual impact and become the fashion aspirational.

Do you see fashion going down fast in 2023?

I personally see fashion as being stale in the long run. I personally love fashion that you can look back on and that still feels relevant.

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