Muscat: A former expatriate who left Oman in 2013 to become a designer is back in the country to showcase his own creations, and design bespoke clothing for people in the country.
Rishabh Manocha, who now lives in New York, where he has founded his own brand, titled R Manocha Bespoke that provides custom-designed haute couture for clients, will be undertaking fittings at Mrunal’s Boutique on 30 and 31 October.
A graduate of the famed Parson’s School of Design, the work of Indian national Rishabh blends Omani culture, Indian heritage, and American ingenuity to create something completely new and wonderful.
“My adolescence in the Sultanate afforded me a comprehensive understanding of the world, and that despite our differences there is more that unites us than that which divides us,” says Rishabh, on how his time in Oman has affected his attitude to work. “Bringing together people through collaboration rather than dividing them through competition takes an enterprise to great heights. These were lessons that weren’t taught, rather practised in the socio-political setting of the country that continue to guide me today.”
His ideal piece of clothing is one that seamlessly fuses form and function...“the most illustrative garments are those finesse those two and take it into a whole different dimension that embodies the cultural zeitgeist of the day,” he explains. “Rei Kawakubo, Alexander McQueen, and Martin Margiela are prime examples of this occurrence.”
But fashion is rooted in concepts formed centuries ago, and continues to be updated to meet, or sometimes question, the latest societal sentiments, many of which are fleeting. One ideal that fashion must aspire to, now and forever, he feels, is a trend many designers are picking up on: sustainability.
“We have destroyed, used and abused our planet way too much,” he says. “In competing with excessive production, we have lost quality, integrity and so much more. It is high time when quality once again became synonymous with fashion. For far too long, fashion has come to denote an ephemeral moment or trend. I think we need to revisit that narrative fundamentally.”
Sustainable fashion, he says, is the need of the hour. Businesses that do not adapt to this rapidly-spreading standard are likely to become obsolete, and Rishabh feels he is fortunate that his brand of bespoke fashion directly dovetails with the concept of sustainability.
“Because my business model is purely made-to-order or bespoke, from the cutting of the cloth, the choice of buttons and linings, to the garment bag in which it is packed, everything is used judiciously,” he explains. “There are no ‘past season’ collections that will end up in bins or landfills.
The model empowers my craftsmen to have a sustainable livelihood as much as it empowers my clients to nurture a system where every participant in the production cycle is well acknowledged and rewarded.”
Having established a dedicated clientele in America, Rishabh now has his sights set on the Middle East, specifically Oman, where he has ambitions to open a boutique of his own. When he does come here, he hopes to once again follow the lessons that have held him in good stead so far.
“The aim here is to introduce the concept of bespoke tailoring and dressmaking to the Omani audience,” he said. “People can book an appointment accordingly.”
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