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IN CONVERSATION WITH GEN NEXT WAJAHAT RAFUGHAR

— JASMEEN DUGAL

Lakmé Fashion Week is a day away and excitement is building up, in particular to check out the Gen Next designers… the future of Fashion. Responsible Fashion is the need of the hour and these youngsters are trying to take it mainstream. Over to painter and textile designer Wajahat Rafughar who dedicated his label to 'rafoogars' of Srinagar and is thrilled to be one of the rare coveted GenNext Designers in the sea of aspirants.

 

''I studied painting before diversifying to textile design. While painting, I felt that the objects I was creating lacked immediate function. In art school, it was more about aesthetics and philosophy and I wanted to create products, which would serve a human need. This was due to my innate curiosity and the fact I'm from a multicultural background. I'm eager to dwell deeper into the coexistence of a multitude of cultures opens my mind. It was during my final year project at Craft Development Institute, Srinagar that I worked with master soznikaars of Kashmir, who told me their forefathers were 'rafoogars' or darners mend clothes. It was then I decided that my own label would be dedicated to these darners.  Even though I have established my label, I still have a long way to go. I'm trying to take small steps to establish my label on a larger scale. It started when I was named one of the five emerging labels by Vogue last year and now I'm presenting at FDCI x LFW.

 

Lakme Fashion Week GenNext is the best platform for fashion designers who have just ventured into this field. The platform allows you to work alongside the best mentors in fashion and broadens our understanding of the market and what would best suit my label. So, it was overwhelming to be selected from among a myriad of list of applicants. The journey so far has been great… The collection I will be showcasing at FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week is titled ‘Maazi' i.e. a recollection of past memories and nostalgia represented by changing paisley motifs. Post-COVID, we are encountering a ‘phygital’ reality, a combination of both physical and virtual platforms. I have tried to showcase my narrative through glitch and metamorphosis of embroidery motifs like melting paisleys, pixelated motifs and those which change into barcodes. The fabric is handwoven and handspun muslin cotton of West Bengal and the collection has Raffughar's signature style — contemporary pheran silhouettes, tulip hem and toor trousers with block printing.''
 

LAKME FASHION WEEK
Wajahat Rafughar
 
15-MARCH-2021
 
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