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Divine Intervention
 
 

2004: THE BEGINNING

— RAJDEEP RANAWAT

Rajdeep Ranawat is an artist and designer and his runway presentations are high on concept and creativity. After graduating from NIFT in 2000 he trained in a French fashion house for two years and then was Head Designer for a NYC fashion house. The experience gave him impetus to launch his label in 2004 where he continues to fuse European colors and embroideries with vintage design on generic ensembles. In his tenth year in the fashion industry, Rajdeep shares his brand journey from 2004 to 2014 through weekly posts.

2004

Right from childhood I've been attracted to color and always played with crayons and water paints and soon after I began making oil paintings on canvas when I was in Class 6 without any formal training in art. I always felt practice made me better so I dabbled in different art mediums which not only saw me to win art competitions all the way from 1st standard to 12th but my father who was a keen lover of nature taught me the beauty that it has to offer mankind. I mainly painted landscapes and also wildlife and florals and have always tried to make them as realistic as possible. I never really understood modern art or any related form as I feel art should be simple and pleasing to the eye than something you would have to stare at for hours to derive its true meaning... sort of like a 'migraine' in lay-mans terms.  

I did my schooling from the famous Lawrence School in Sanawar – a British boarding school tucked between the Shimla and Kasauli mountains with pine trees and other foliage allover the place – it was a home away from home and I learnt and have become what I am today because of the education with its the stress on punctuality and the principles of life that it taught us. I was studying in Sanawar when the entrance exams for NID took place and I missed it. I felt I could have enhanced my artistic skills there and diversified into animation and graphics. My father supported my talent even though he was in the Army and a prominent Lt. General today and encouraged me to enroll in NIFT during my vacation. I stood in the merit of Top 24 in India following which I undertook the fashion design course and graduated as one of the FD students from the millennium batch in 2000.

I then joined a French fashion house as a designer for two years and shuttled for showings and exhibits to Paris and Vienna and Milan and that nurtured my understanding of European sensibilities. I then headed a New York-based fashion house for two years which encouraged me to launch my own label end-2004. The fusion of different cultures is a depiction of my personal experiences in art and nature and in the understanding of color. Travel to various countries with the above organizations formed the ethos of my brand i.e. 'art to wear' with sensibilities of using the right color combinations.. harmony and balance of motifs.. pretty but confident.. and placements of prints and artworks that are generic in nature on generic silhouettes that are simple and comfortable for all body shapes and age group while using the best fabrics. This has become our signature style for the brand over the years and we are proud to inherit this as well for our premium clientele that we have built since.

The journey since the launch of my label "Rajdeep Ranawat" in 2004 has been fruitful apart though a little bumpy as well which I suppose we term as 'teething problems' that arise in the setting up of a new business. The biggest impediment was when our own batch mates made sure we don't supply to a few stores that they supplied to as they felt our label would be competition even though our styles were far more refined and elegant!! Eventually those stores did pursue us to supply to them when they realized they had made a mistake by hearing the competition out and acting on it. We believe strongly that our product is original and it is definitely value for money. It's our philosophy and we take pride in it. It was a slow growth but a consistent one.. and we love the fact that we have never had to run after a buyer or chase a store till date – that gets added into our kitty!

Looking back to the first year in business in 2004.. we started out on a small scale with four workers from my out-house and supplied to two stores in Mumbai and Ahmadabad on consignment. I didn't even have a mannequin so we had to design styles that didn't need a body form or draping but was commercial enough for the young or mature woman. So I came up with a collection of lightweight printed and embroidered ponchos with five samples for each of the stores.. did basic costing on them and minimum mark-ups. All of it sold out and we got payments at the end of the month and invested this money to buy more material and a mannequin and slowly hired more labor to increase the business. This went on for a good two years after which I finally got myself a larger area to accommodate 30 team members and today with over 50 people working for us.. almost 80 per cent of our orders are getting produced by various production units to meet the demands of the stores constantly ordering and re-ordering the collections! Demand is more than our supply to 50 stores in India and overseas and we are once again looking at relocating to a larger space and expanding our brand further by the end of this year.
 

Rajdeep Ranawat
NIFT Project in 1997
 
Rajdeep Ranawat
The Chase (1996)
 
Rajdeep Ranawat
Persian Hoori dancing with the spirits of Music (1997)
 
Rajdeep Ranawat
Autumn (1991)
 
Rajdeep Ranawat
The launch of 'Rajdeep Ranawat' in 2004
 
17-AUGUST-2014
 
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