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Rabani & Rakha: Mixing cultures

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Gautam Rakha and Rahul Rastogi exhibited at Pantene Bridal Couture Week.
Rabani & Rakha: Mixing cultures
24 th Apr 2012
KARACHI: It might not be in the same league as fashion houses JJ Valaya, Tarun Tahiliani or Rohit Bal, but the Delhi-based label Rabani & Rakha — run by husband and wife duo Rahul and Shibani Rastogi and Gautum Rakha — is certainly making waves. The designers, who have been in the fashion business for the past 10 years, came to Karachi to present their collection at the recently concluded Pantene Bridal Couture Week (PBCW). The line, which was showcased on day two of the three-day event, was nothing short of a fashion delicacy. In a short conversation with The Express Tribune, Rakha talks about his trip to Karachi, the brand’s future plans and about the fashion scene in India and Pakistan in general. Experiencing Karachi Although Rabani & Rakha have displayed in Pakistan before — last year, the designers went to Lahore for PBCW, where they managed to impress Pakistani fashionistas — it’s their maiden visit to Karachi. “It’s my first trip to Karachi, I feel so much at home here. People here are very polite. Warmth is oozing out of their hearts; it’s so natural, you can feel it.” Talking about their showcase at the PBCW, Rakha explains, “What we, as a designing house, are presenting is a simpler and modern version of Rabani & Rakha. You will see that there is a great similarity between our creations and the Pakistani fashion sense — for instance the same flowy shirts — but besides that, we have even brought forward a little bit of India through the saris.” They wowed the audience with their net line, comprising of flowy shirts in white and Indian saris and lehengas; a true instance of synthesis of cultures, fabric and styling. On fashion in Pakistan and India While commenting on the growing fashion scene in Pakistan, Rakha says “The designing philosophy here is good. Some designers really standout, for instance Ali Xeeshan has taken an interesting take, Umar Sayeed is doing nicer stuff whereas HSY has a very contemporary twist in his designs.” Meanwhile, when asked about the how hard it is to survive in the Indian market with cut-throat competition, Rakha states, “We don’t compete against the other design houses. We compete against ourselves. We believe whoever loves your work will come to you. If it appeals to them, they will come looking out for it.” Sky’s the limit The designer further adds that there are no borders or restrictions when it comes to fashion, hence their ensembles have a vast international market as well. “For instance, at Lakme Fashion Week, we get to see a lot of international buyers. It’s there we bring our luxury pret line for the audience to explore.” So with 10 years of experience behind them, how do they see the next 10 years? Rakha replies, “Hopefully, growth in our business, especially in the European markets and the US. Additionally, exploring Canada and the Far East is a big option as well.” Finally, when asked about their plans for their next trip to Pakistan, the designer says, “We would love to come back here and next time it would not be bridal stuff but luxury pret for sure.” _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Shop Indian Designer Collections at Strand of Silk.

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