FROM CELEBRITY STYLIST TO FASHION DESIGN

— HARSH KHULLAR

I've known him quite a few years. When he was a young, talented stylist working towards multifaceted goals in Fashion. He loved partying, travelling and everything about Fashion. As a stylist with a leaning towards design, he styled celebrities, fashion editorials and pageants. And in his time navigating the fashion landscape, Harsh Khullar brought in the strength of his training across different mediums including internship at the FDCI, undertaking BA Honours in Fashion Design at Pearl Academy and working in fashion houses. We lost touch for a few years, and when I read on social media that he had launched his own fashion label, I just had to reach out to him. And it makes me so happy to see that today he is living his dream — that of a fashion designer and cult stylist, often found gracing our Instagram feed with his unique style and modes of self-expression. In conversation with him.

 

Harsh, you were a successful stylist. When did you decide to explore fashion design?

 

Since childhood, I dreamt of making my own clothes and often put up different well-styled looks together. I did everything that would bring me one step closer to my dream — I started out as an intern at FDCI and undertook BA Honours In Fashion Design at Pearl Academy where I learnt the basics of pattern making, garment construction, learnt about different fabric and about different ways to produce a desired garment or a look. I made sure that I gave all my time to learning every little process. My journey has been tough. I worked at different designers' production houses including Urvashi Kaur, DRVV by Dhruv Kapur and Pawan Sachdeva. They really helped me to learn each aspect of fashion design and production processes. I am grateful to them. 

 

The next step was to learn how to sell the clothes… basically learn the trade, so I worked with Infinite Luxury at Roberto Cavalli, The Emporio as a Sales Fashion Consultant. It was very fruitful. Then it was time, back in 2014, to enter the market So I became a Stylist, working in the industry for eight years — it was a very tasking, learning experience where I worked on fashion editorials, styled for a number of pageants and in 2020 debuted in the Punjabi Film Industry where I styled over two hundred songs and a number of celebrities. 

 

After that, what? I often asked myself.  So I worked hard to learn everything and made my presence felt in the industry. The next thing I know… the childhood dream had evolved into a successful career as a celebrity stylist. This year was the turning point. 2022. I wanted to take the next step and finally begin designing. So we launched Harsh Khullar Couture — a luxury pret and occasion wear brand which caters to both men and women.

 

What lessons did you take from styling into your career as a fashion designer?

 

Just one simple thing — You can make the most beautiful garments but if you don't know how to present them and tell your story to the customer, you have lost. I lost everyday and every shoot has been a challenge for me to fine-tune my work. 

 

You have released several pret and couture collections. Where do you get inspiration?

 

My brand is rooted in the inspiration from elements of nature and wildlife which reflects in our cuts, our silhouettes, our embroideries, our patterns, our style. I live and breathe design even if it's my body art. What you see on me can also be seen in my collections and at our atelier In New Delhi. We just want to tell our story to the customer. 

 

What's your specialty? How has it changed since you started out?

 

My specialty has always been drawing a beautiful painting on a blank paper simply using my imagination. I live by that; I visualise and create. Yes, it changed back in 2020 when I started styling differently and a lot of people noticed.  As a Stylist I was experimental and as a fashion designer I am safe and commercial.

 

What is the story you like to tell through your collections? 

 

Our first collection. the Indian couture line. is titled Chandani. It is inspired by love as I am someone who has so much love to give. Is it hard to stay innovative? I think not! If you're true to your art and creativity then no one can stop you. 

 

How do you walk the line between being unique and having commercial appeal?

 

I feel it is inter-related — my silhouettes are wearable and since this is my first collection in the market, it is done keeping the customer in mind. I am still waiting for the day I design something out of the box and unique! So, yes, as a beginner again after working for eleven years, I am starting from scratch and will keep working hard till I live all my dreams. 

 

How do you keep your collections sustainable?

 

We are targeting non-wastage of fabrics at our factory… my karigars and I work on minimum wastage of fabrics.  This includes recycling of waste back into production systems as well as making products reusable or repairable. 

 

You’re the creative and business head of your label. How do you balance time between the two?

 

There is an important person, an integral part of the brand, who handles everything with me. We are a team. She is my mother. It is a mother- son fashion brand. 

 

Who are your creative icons in the fashion industry today? 

 

One person has always been my Icon — Rohit Bal. He has helped me grow and has always taught me bigger things. 

 

What is the one piece of advice that you would like to give to aspiring fashion designers who want to launch their label but may not have a formal background in Fashion?

 

I believe that an aspiring designer should just be true to their art and always try to tell your individual story through your creativity… you will be unstoppable!

 

What's next?

 

We are coming up with a lot of new things. Currently I am working on my new collection and trying to fulfil the orders from my customers but there are a few exciting things in the pipeline and you will all about soon!!

 

Harsh Khullar Harsh Khullar

Harsh Khullar

Harsh Khullar

19-AUGUST-2022

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