Ahead Of His Time
Man's World|November 2020
Meet 29-year-old Kaushik Velendra, the boy who went from costume designing in the South to doing his first fashion show ever at London Fashion Week, and is achieving what many only hope to, in just a year
Samreen Tungekar
I’ll say this bluntly, and you may contest, but find me a resume as studded as Kaushik Velendra’s. I’ll wait. At all of 29, the Bengaluru-born boy who moulded and sold candles to earn his bread, moved to Chennai at 16 to become a “light boy” on film sets, leading to work in the costume departments, and then became an assistant costume designer. No, that’s not all. After becoming a personal stylist to actors like Kamal Haasan, he applied to the Mecca of fashion, Central St Martins, and became the first Indian-born designer to do menswear fashion MA. He presented at London Fashion week within three months of launching his label, and was nominated for the LVMH prize within weeks. Onward and upward to dressing celebrities like supermodel Alton Mason for the Grammy’s, and our very own Ranveer Singh for Filmfare Awards.

October marks a year of launching his own label, and he’s already presented his next collection at LFW in September. While the world is battling the pandemic, Velendra has moved into his new atelier, which is Alexander McQueen’s former studio, at Hoxton Square. With an aim to change what Indian fashion stands for on the global map, Velendra is here to keep traditions alive, with a twist.

You've dressed Ranveer Singh, who pretty much is the most fashionably experimental actor in India. With celebrities sporting the changing reality of fashion and their fluidity, how do you think the paradigm of menswear has shifted?

Menswear is always changing and evolving, and it’s evolving more these days because men have become more conscious about how they present themselves, and are getting influenced by art, culture, music, and different movements. But I’m not trying to change or bring in fluidity. What I’m trying to do is retain the masculinity of menswear, and give it a new direction. The outfits are beautifully masculine, and yet different in their approach. I’ve internally constructed my outfits on the base of activewear, so they’re body centric, irrespective of who wears them, they'll take the shape of the person’s body. That’s the kind of change I’m bringing about in the principles of menswear.

You said your aim is to put India on the global fashion map. How do you plan to do that?

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