October 1, 2013 Asmita Aggarwal

Craft-ing the Future

Yogesh Chaudhary would have been a chef if he wasn’t a designer, but this Delhi boy is gearing up for his first show at WIFW SS 14, with a line inspired by transparency!

Your first impression of Yogesh Chaudhary is that he loves his mom, and that’s why the label he launched in 2011 carries her name, Surendri. “She has been very supportive, she is Haryanvi and doesn’t know anything about fashion, yet she has stood by me like a rock,” he admits.

Raised in a small village in Gurgaon, Yogesh wasn’t born with a silver spoon, but he did have the intellect to get into NIFT (Delhi) immediately after school, and then NID, on the second attempt. “I was a science student, with maths and most people would get into medicine. But I knew that it wasn’t my calling, I didn’t want to be a doctor; I was fascinated with design, almost obsessed with it,” he smiles, and adds, “I didn’t get through NID the first time and it kinda bothered me a lot, so I tried again and got lucky.”

A first-timer in WIFW SS 14, would use origami to make planes and birds out of chocolate wrappers, “I liked the feeling of crafting something out of my hands, so till today all my garments are somewhere hand sewn,” he adds.

The Surendri woman is global, she travels, understands and appreciates international trends and of course, she likes a bit of India in her clothes nor overtly but covertly. “At NID, they taught us a valuable lesson, that crafts are important, they must be preserved, but they also urged us to think about creating crafts for tomorrow, the future, something new, something fresh like laser cutting, 3D molding or printing,” he says.

And that’s just what Yogesh did, in his WIFW line titled “Two T-shirts”, he has played with transparency, a game of hide and seek, which is sensuous and fun. Inspired by the international trend of sporty lines, Yogesh has innovatively used raincoat material to create prints, added winter fabrics to a summer line to bring about an element of surprise. “My brand is all encompassing we do from swimsuits to saris… so my WIFW line will have jackets, dresses to knitted saris,” he adds.

Better-known for his Pacman sari, a game he loved and excessively played as a kid, it was Bollywood diva Sonam who took it to new heights by flaunting it. “Pacman was Sonam’s fave game too, so somehow it clicked. Bollywood celebs do have the power to popularize your brands, it is undeniable, and their relationship with designers is mutually beneficial, but they are not the sole parameters of judging a good line,” he confesses.

Running a consultancy along with a label, Yogesh’s bigger plan is sustainability in a sea of brands. “Doing shows every six months, staying current is an uphill task if you don’t have your dad’s money or a big investor. But I do know that my line is young with statement-y pieces so survival is not an issue,” he says.

Hoping to make a splash, Yogesh has come a long way from one tailor in 2010, when he won the award for emerging talent at the Van Heusen India Mens Week, to setting up his little studio. “It’s my mom’s blessings which helped,” he signs off.

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Fashion Design Council of India