Designer Manish Arora's trademark has always been his unique sense of style and the kaleidoscopic use of motifs. Arora's Spring Summer 2020 show at Paris Fashion Week last year was special, not only because the designer switched from an airstrip to a presentation format, but also celebrated a year of Section 377 change to the Indian Constitution. “I was at the airport when I first heard the news and smiled during my trip. I was so glad that the rights of the LGBTQIA + community were recognized. But we still have a long way to go and this was a small step in the right direction, ”says Arora, when we ask him about his first reaction to the news about the Section 377 change.
On the ramp: "We are Family" is a celebration of the LGBTQIA + community. Manish Arora (bottom) special arrangement
More recently, Arora has made a variation of his Parisian show at Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) summer resort 2020. Arora had the appropriate name "We Are Family" and had eight models present its creations on pedestals to bring them closer to the audience and their phone cameras. “I wanted viewers to be more personal with my art, see these spectacular members of my family in all their glory, and interact with them in a more intimate setting,” he emphasizes. Just like his Parisian avatar, the Mumbai show was modeled on members of the Indian queer community.
Over the years, Arora has honored love and diversity in all of its collections. "We are Family" is a celebration of the LGBTQIA + community that welcomes the spirit of a tribe that has redefined its destiny by daring to defend its dream. It is a collection that offers a passage for their creativity in an explosion of colors. "Arora says that artists have always been the loudest and most passionate about diversity and that the fashion community has paved the way when it comes to promoting equality for everyone:" I don't think I would have had this freedom if I wouldn't have been a fashion designer, ”he claims. To his mourning, Arora's show was on the day designer Wendell Rodricks died (February 12). "Wendell was an integral part of the industry and an outstanding voice in the LGBTQIA + community. He will really be missed," says Arora.
Ticket to Paris
Arora grew up in Mumbai and went to Delhi at 17 to study at NIFT. He was allowed to be himself in Delhi and really felt accepted. Arora later moved to Paris and lived there for half a year. “Paris opened me up to new experiences, new people and a whole new world. I live in Paris for half a year. It's also a place where I feel very inspired, ”says Arora, who likes to travel and immerse herself in different cultures to be inspired.
At home, Arora is involved in many design collaborations, from bedding to one with a luxury Ayurveda brand. Indeed, he was one of the first Indian designers to enter into product collaborations, much ahead of his colleagues. “It is important for me to look for a certain synergy with the brand. I have always made sure that I like the vision, ethos and values of the brand before continuing to work with them. Cooperation is a great way to do something dramatically different and to present my work on different products and platforms, ”he says.
Next year, Arora has been in the industry for 30 years. This is a milestone that, in his opinion, is still a shock. “Thirty years ago I used colors and motifs that represent love and equality. Very few people understood and accepted the same love in the early 90s, and today a large part of the generation lives on it, ”he says. For Arora, colors and motifs represent equality and love and are the basis of all of his designs. His advice for new designers is straightforward: “Let yourself be inspired from anywhere, travel the world, immerse yourself in experiences and follow your heart when designing designs. And stay true to yourself and your vision. I've always done that, ”he explains.