Indian designers have a long way to go and are still primarily suppliers and exporters, says Wendell Rodricks, one of the few names in the fashion industry to have revolutionised the Indian ramp scene and also promoted it globally. "We are far away from international presence. The day I see an Indian brand with stand alone stores in the world's fashion metros, I will say that we have arrived. Till then we are just suppliers and exporters," Rodricks told IANS in an interview.
Rodricks, whose Goan heritage is reflected in his designs, began his career in fashion after a successful tenure in hotel management. Trained in Los Angeles and Paris, he returned to India in 1988. After a brief span of two years, and designing for companies like Garden Vareli, cosmetic giant Lakme and diamond corporate DeBeers, Rodricks established his own label in 1990. He later moved to his ancestral village in Goa in 1993, and there's been no looking back since. His ready-to-wear line with its minimalistic designs have found many takers.
Recalling the initial days of his career, the designer revealed he has had his share of disappointments. "I did face rejection many times. I was disappointed not to get an internship at YSL (Yves Saint Laurent). But that led me to India and it became a positive move eventually. In the initial years I had to fight off requests to add embroidery to my clothes. I stubbornly stood my stand as I was sure my minimalism would eventually get accepted," Rodricks said.
Rodricks also feels that it is necessary for Indian designers to promote their state and culture. "Preserving the cultural heritage of India can vary from designer to designer. Each person takes a different route. Some designers have certainly added to the culture and image of their state. Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Rohit Bal come to mind," said the designer who is also an avid writer.