Hall of Fame: Samant Chauhan

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WIFW: Samant Chauhan SS14

Young Indian fashion designer, Samant Chauhan designs beautiful clothing for both women and men.  He exhibits internationally and is on an upward trajectory after many years of dedication to his art.

Samant was born in Rajasthan and is passionate about working with master weavers from his area.  The NIFT graduate embarked upon fashion after first completing a physics degree at Bhagalpur University.  Samant consistently selects neutral and softer tones to counter the colourful spectrum typically offered by other designers in India.

So Samant, please tell me about your latest collection.

This is the series of Rajputana and this is the fourth season we are doing the same concept.

What is Rajputana?

Rajputana is about reviving the Rajputana name.  Rajasthan’s ancient name is Rajputana and I belong to that place which is one of the reasons I wanted to work on it.

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WIFW: Samant Chauhan SS14
The first season we did a collection, the story was based on how the Britishers influenced the entire Rajputana region … so we were inspired by a lot of Victorian motifs and shapes and volume.  The second collection was Rajputana Poshak based on Rajasthan original attire which had 80 panels in it so it had more volume and banners.  The third story we did was Rajputana Bikers where all the Rajput warriors were going to war on bikes replacing horses.

The fourth season, this season, is Rajputana Tribes. The people traveled from outside and started living as a tribe and started conquering small parts and that is how this entire Rajasthana formed. So that is their story.

Who is your ideal customer? I know you do menswear as well.

People who are aware of fashion and that can feel the passion, not just visually, but someone who can actually, once they wear the clothes…like if you look at my clothes it’s not just about how it looks…the entire feel has to be there.  We give equal importance to the lining.  So it’s always about people who can understand fashion and feel it, they are the clients.

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WIFW: Samant Chauhan SS14
Where do you get your inspiration from, I know Rajasthan, but in general what inspires you in your designs?

I think traveling is one of the things, even in Rajputana. I was there for new year with my family about five years back and since then I decided that I will be making a brand all about Rajastan, the weavers, the fabric comes from Bhagalpur.  We are developing new fabrics but they are woven in Bhagalpur.

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WIFW: Samant Chauhan SS14

What draws you to fashion? Why do you stick with it? It’s a tough industry!

It’s a tough question…

Fashion….

What do you get enjoyment from?

It’s not enjoyment, I’ll tell you what: I’m very happy.  I never thought we would get here… I mean in Kuwait we have 10 buyers and everyone wants our product!  Five years back there were times I did not get a single order.  And in that phase it was tough and at that phase it was not that I was not capable of doing it because actually I was creating my own client.  And that took me so long. I spent five years adding to my brand …and this is what is the difference between an artist and a commercial person.  Commercial people start making something that is going to sell.  Artists make something that he believes in.

So you were cultivating your customer?

Exactly! And now it happened and so I’m very happy that we reached the stage where people are dying to buy our things and we have to say sorry we are supplying to a store in your area already…we cannot work with you.

Wonderful, that must be a great feeling.

Exactly!

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WIFW: Samant Chauhan SS14

Are there any fashion crimes, for men and women, that you’d like to point out? That when you see them, people walking on the street, you think why did you put that with that?

I do think…yes…people do sometimes… when they cannot carry a look.  They have to be comfortable in what they are wearing.  Sometimes they wear red trousers but you have to have the confidence to carry that thing.  That you should not lose,  but you can wear anything.  There is no fashion disaster as such or something wrong but just back it up with attitude.

Okay, and which part of India, and which part of Delhi, do you think is the most fashionable?

People in Bombay are more fashionable…every part of India is different.  If you go to Bangalore there is a different kind of dressing up, Delhi is again different.

In Delhi there is not so much difference.

Do you think Indians are fashionable?

No…I don’t think so.  When I see Indians walking in London…I really get embarrassed.  I really do…they look horrible.

I love your honesty (I’m dying laughing).

I hate them, I hate them…And look at the Africans!  They have so much style …I don’t like…any, any part of the world where you have Indians, Australia or London…and they have been in London for ages some are third generation but they look really weird.

What are you reading just now?

Not reading…but I’m writing!

Wow, tell me more!  That sounds more interesting.

We are compiling a book on Benaras, Chanderi and of course Bhagalpur so it’s kind of a coffee table book…a textile journey.  But a lot of people have done books on Chanderi and so on so we’re not doing a book on the fabric or weavers it’s more about a guy who runs a store in Chanderi who inspired the weavers…so we’re taking those kinds of stories…cultural heritage, we are also covering a guy who is a weaver and he made his first sari at the age of nine and he has a huge collection of weaves so that sort of thing, not just about craft, craft, craft!

What’s your motto in life?  Mine is for example, everything happens for a reason, even bad things.

Exactly…yes…

Whatever comes in life just take it and enjoy…I mean three or four years back I was more passionate, you can say, and I still am passionate about work but five years back it was completely different … now I have a totally different approach to life.

Whatever I have achieved, that has a cost.   So…I have not been to my place, I haven’t seen my nephew or seen him growing up…so I lost a lot of things which I don’t want now. That is more important, life is the most important thing.

So this desire of taking my brand up there, higher…that is fine I am at a stage where I feel this is more than enough.  I’m not dreaming that I’m driving a Rolls Royce. My dream is that I’ll go back to my home and work with the weavers.  So that’s it, not materialistic dreams, not that I have a home like Ambani. I’d like that I have 200 weavers and they’re weaving in one place, that we have a manufacturing unit…200 families living together on the same campus…my dreams are like that.

Lovely!  Thank you.

Samant Chauhan’s website can be found here.

Bubbly

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4 Comments to “Hall of Fame: Samant Chauhan”

  1. I really enjoyed that, thank you! I’m so glad he has found success as his designs are a beautiful medium of his connection with Rajaputna and as an Indian I’m proud to see fashion that is not inspired by the West but with the wealth of the world we have right here.

  2. The collection looks gorgeous even from photos it must be even more beautiful up close. Samant comes across so calm and collected.

  3. Such an inspiring interview – thank you!

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