Here is the interview with Varun that has just come out in the magazine:
esper Feature – Varun Sardana
[photo courtesy of varunsardana.com]
One of the most creative contemporary designers in India, Varun Sardana’s bold fall collection centered around an origami motif that he embedded in everything from capes to dresses, as well as some incredible black thigh-high boots. Ramya Gopal and I had a conversation with the Delhi-trained and based designer about his design philosophy and the emerging fashion industry in India.
[photo by Tina Gao]
How do you find your inspiration?
I love observing things in people; it’s one of my favorite pastimes.
Music inspires me a lot, often when I start designing it starts with music. Music kind of sets the mood for me when I start my next collection.
I look at fabric as a blank canvas or like a lump of clay that I can mold and shape and basically give it another existence.
Your work seems targeted to a more international market, do you currently have any plans to expand more within India?
I would like to be able to market more in India, but what I’m designing probably doesn’t make sense for a lot of people, though it does make sense for a lot of people too. It’s difficult to sell here because there isn’t really a [store] space in which my clothes would make sense.
If I’m proposing something that doesn’t make sense now in India, it will make sense five years down the line, or seven years down the line. You need the support of the media to push tastes in that direction. […] It’s taken me over four years to get over the fact that you can show cleavage [in Dubai], whereas here it’s ok to show a midriff.
It’s not about trends anymore—where people say ‘this season is short skirts, this season is long skirts‘– it’s about attitude. But a lot of people in India still haven’t figured out what fashion means to them on a day-to-day basis.
How easily is your work received domestically? Are people who purchase high-end fashion more attached to foreign brands?
There is a good population [within India] who are buying high-end clothes based only on aesthetics and not just brands. There is that niche. It’s easier for me to do business in the West because there is already a market over there right now, people understand what they’re looking at, but there’s not such a big market over here.
You still don’t have a Lady Gaga here who is willing to experiment with a young designer who’s totally mad. You have an Aishwarya Rai or someone like that in Bollywood who is willing to wear designers but wouldn’t wear something so mad.
Do you design with an idea of how you fit into a certain scene in mind, or does each season come together more organically?
I don’t think I design with any specific market or need in mind, it’s always very personal. I just design what I design, and let’s see how you react to it.