He has been in the fashion industry for over 25 years and has seen many aspirants try their luck. But, says veteran designer Rohit Bal, though there is a lot of talent, many newcomers don't follow their instinct for originality.
His advice for them: "Don't reproduce what's already there."
"Follow your heart and create something that is unique because it is important for every artist to have a signature. Without it, you are nothing," Bal said while speaking to IANS.
"It's great that the young designers today are delving into the rich heritage of India and its textiles, because we still have an untapped creative potential and a reservoir of artists who we can bring to the main platform if they are given enough opportunities.
"My advice to young designers is to create something that develops into your signature. Don't reproduce what's already there."
Bal, who recently opened his flagship store in Mehrauli here, worked in his family's export business before launching his label in 1990. His distinct sense of style and eye for detail helped him stand out.
"There is a lot of talent, but unfortunately a lot of young designers don't follow their instinct. They are in the rat race of creating more and more commercially-successful products, and naturally so; they have the pressure of running these huge factories. But there are many who stick to what they are good at.
"Outside of the fashion scenario, if you travel through to the deep recesses of India, the weavers, the textiles -- they are the real maestros and I think more should be done in terms of technology and exposure to bring them to the front," he said.
Bal also feels that fashion looks glamorous from outside, but there is a lot of hard work involved.
"For that one moment of glory, you have to work months on end, toil in your factories, and oversee everything, every inch along the metre, every minute along the hour and day and week. You have to be at it continuously and only then do you receive that one night or one moment of glamour," he said.
"I have seen it all. I've seen the big bang: the explosion of the universe that we call fashion today. Definitely, a lot has changed -- rather than running design houses, designers are running factories. It's very cut-throat and all about I, me and myself. The fun is gone. I miss the personal touch of fashion," added Bal, who is among the pioneers of the fraternity in India.
Designing for Bollywood celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Sonam Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor has been a part and parcel of Bal's silver jubilee journey.
But styling for Hindi films is something Bal has stayed away from.
"I don't have the patience to do a film. Some of my colleagues do it and that's great, but I don't know how they do it. If I do it, it would be a movie that I would direct and produce myself. It'll be larger than life. It is one dream that I have but I've kept it on hold for now. It is something I want to do one day," he said.
So what is keeping him busy nowadays?
"I'm doing a lot at the moment. There's a project in Goa which I can't really tell you about yet. Apart from that, the expansion of the brand Balance is something that is keeping me busy. The menswear store is also ready and about to be launched, and I am currently in the process of creating a new collection for it," he said.
(Nivedita can be contacted at Nivedita.email@example.com)
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