Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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In Fashion…The Khosla line

One of the earliest to set shop in Bangalore, fashion designer Manoviraj Khosla has been around for 17 years. Starting with men’s wear, he later turned his attention to women’s style, creating both couture and prêt with trendy fabrics and colours. Recently, he designed for Vijay Malaya’s Kingfisher label. He learnt how to style clothes at the American College in London, and has been since then fusing Western ideas with Oriental thought to create his lovely lines.

The Khosla line
Helping his creativity has been the fact that he loves Bangalore, a city he has lived in for years. “Maybe New Delhi and Mumbai make better marketing sense. I know I may lose out by living in Bangalore. But at the end of the day, New Delhi is just two-and-a-half hours away”, Khosla tells me during a recent interview in Bangalore.

Khosla, who has clients in Mumbai and New Delhi, says Bangalore is a great base for him, and “I travel a fair amount to the West and the North…I do not think I miss out on anything”.

There is a lot more happening in Bangalore today that it did a decade ago. The city has become much more aware of fashion, and there are a lot more designers today.

I have always felt that the average citizen in Bangalore dressed well, and the salubrious climate has had something to do with this. Today, the metro is not only cosmopolitan, but also has a growing class of young yuppies working in information technology and outsourcing companies with huge disposable incomes. Dining and dressing are their top passions.

Khosla says Bangalore may have a smaller market compared with that in Mumbai or New Delhi. Bangalore has a much smaller clientele. As far as Kolkata goes, the city scores on its great tradition of embroidery and fine artisans. It has always had a fascinating culture. “Today, many of my tailors are from Kolkata”, Khosla avers.

He also specialises in corporate culture. “I do a lot of uniforms. I am now rushing to Coorg to design the uniforms for the Orange County Resort in Kabini”.

Khosla has just completed designing for Nirula’s, the New Delhi-based fast food joint. “We looked at their image, what they are trying to cater to and where they are positioned. I have also designed for Himalaya Herbal Health Care.”

The Bangalore stylist uses the colours or logo of a company to ensure that the uniforms concerned get a distinct look. “For instance, I used the Himalaya logo and the Nirula’s colours to design their outfits”.

He keeps in mind the kind of customers who frequent, let us a say, a hotel or resort. He will style the uniform for a five-star hotel bar very differently from what he would for a stand-alone discotheque or bar. “For the first, I would have to give it an attitude, and obviously the uniform will reflect this”, Khosla explains.

The importance of colour cannot be overemphasised. There is no point giving all the waiters at a bar black shirts, because “you and me may also be in a black shirt”. One has to think of all this when one is designing uniforms.

“When I did the uniform for Himalaya, I decided to go in for green and orange, the two colours which are extremely identifiable with their logo and theme hues. The colours also depend on the place. I do not have to give these colours for those who are working inside the Himalaya office, because when you are there you already know where you are. But someone working for Himalaya in a supermarket must be identifiable, and this is where the Himalaya colours help”.

Khosla’s car is honking outside his Bangalore studio, reminding him that it is time he is on his way to Coorg for coffee and colour.

(Webposted June 5 2007)