Manish Malhotra: A 30-Year Fashionable Journey

From an aspiring film director, to modelling, to fashion designing, he has come up a long way

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
Feature Writer
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Fashion industry in India is likely to reach $40 million in couple of years. This industry has always witnessed creativity, transition and technological brilliance at every stage. In terms of technology, fashion designers have been able to showcase their innovative idea to a wider audience. Besides, glamour, changing trends and creativity has contributed to the increased competitiveness of the fashion industry. And on the forefront has been Manish Malhotra.

Unfolding the journey of renowned Indian fashion designer with a vast experience of 30 years is worthwhile. From Bollywood, ramp shows, CSR initiatives to his ever-changing roles in the industry, Malhotra has set a golden era in Indian fashion world.

Indian culture has been bright with innumerable segments in fashion including Bollywood. On this aspect, Malhotra stated that Indian culture has a vast spectrum of cultural variations such as the use of colours, fabric, work of artisans, traditions, beliefs and practices of different states and temples. He further shared his keenness for colour combination and precision to observe the style of family or people around him ever since the childhood. Malhotra recalls that it was the influence of colours that inspired him to shape his passion into professional career.

Switching To Fashion Designing From Modelling

Malhotra asserted that initially he wanted to be a film director due to his love for the Indian film industry. But, gradually he joined modelling, and pursued it in a sincere and passionate way during the three years of his college life. He added, “While modelling, I started working in a store as a sales person and used to sketch continuously.” He mentioned that looks were not quite appealing in ’80s compared with the ones in ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. These looks faded away in the ’80s and he clubbed two of his dreams, movies and clothes together. This is how Malhotra switched to costumes and he came up with the concept of ‘look’ to bring consistency in style statement of actors and actresses in the movie.

Indian Consumer Sensibilities Towards Modern Fashion Trends

Malhotra believes unlike the early fashion preferences, people are far more confident to choose what they should wear. Even though changes are inevitable, consumers are currently knowledgeable and focus on quality, design and innovation in the clothes they buy.

Brand Licensing And Future of the Fashion Industry

Brand licensing is the future of the industry considering business expansion. According to Malhotra, apart from clothes, jewellery and make up also need to be emphasized as well. He was the first one to pioneer the concept of look in the ’90s. Creativity and intellect should be the essence while coming with new designs.

Inspiration From Western Designers And Key Takeaways

Malhotra opined that the perfect combination of heart enables the business to last long. For instance, Coco Chanel and other western brands have innovation as the prime essence in their work mechanism. In the case of Chanel, family-oriented business turned out as the prominent brand with years’ legacy. Putting in the soul, thought process and consistency led to its emergence in the market. Malhotra quipped, “Being focused and having clear business vision are portrayed by Coco Chanel to last for decades.”

Scope Of Sustainability In the Fashion Sector

The fundamental to be focused on is production, wherein, quality has to surpass quantity. Malhotra stated recycled garments, lesser wastage and optimum utilization of garments which have not been used in totality contribute towards sustainability. He thinks technology, responsibility and being sustainable are key essentials for any brand or designer to last out. Furthermore, digitalization is the new norm for the fashion industry due to the increased accessibility of products. Long-lasting and wearable garments are being worked on as conscious efforts for the upcoming collection. Malhotra emphasized, “It is going to be a digital-friendly collection and we are adopting the new normal work culture.” This transition might be challenging yet exciting to be addressed.

Addressing New Trends Of Fashion And Western Influence

Red carpet in India should include Indian clothes such as Banarasi woven saree, beautiful vintage brocade saree and other trendy outfits. Generally, people are influenced by the western dresses for the red carpet. Malhotra said Indian couture must be preferred for the red carpet in India.

Latest on Entrepreneur