#ELLEVoices: Rajesh Pratap Singh On How He Is #ImaginingTheWorldToBe
For ELLE India’s 24th Anniversary Issue, we decided to feature select women (and some men) who have stood out as strong role models in their fields. We were keen on knowing their thoughts on how they perceive the future to be, how they see their individual industries evolving, how they intend to meet the challenges and what their hope for the world is.
The multiple award-winning designer has driven a solid change in fashion for both men and women. Rajesh Pratap Singh’s signature style captures Indian aesthetics, tweaked to embody his global vision. We caught up with the visionary for a quick chat on his post-pandemic hopes and the future of sustainable fashion.
ELLE: How has this pandemic impacted you? What have been your introspections, self-revelations and discoveries?
Rajesh Pratap Singh: A lot of things, actually. It obviously wasn’t something any of us could be prepared for, and we all dealt with it in our own way. For me, the ongoing pandemic has been a mixed bag of emotions — it is a pressure cooker situation at times, and at other times, it is a play of patience. But the positive, so to say, is that we all learned a lot.
ELLE: What would you say has the crisis shown us as a community?
RPS: From where I see it, I’d say we’ve understood that we are subjective learners. There are some lessons that we learn instantly, and there are some we never learn (laughs). We still need to work on learning some core things, like responsibility, for one.
ELLE: In the coming years, what do you see as challenges in your field?
RPS: In the fashion industry, we were always very connected to what was happening internationally, while also being quite independent. Moving forward, we need to articulate that individual voice in a better way. In terms of industry practices, there were a lot of things we were following that are irrelevant, like the pace with which we have been moving. We have also not been paying close attention to sustainability.
ELLE: How do you suggest we tackle them?
RPS: I consider this as a second chance that we’ve all been lucky enough to get, and we need to x things quickly. We also need to be more flexible as an industry and adapt to changes.
ELLE: There is a lot of buzz around thoughtful fashion and sustainability, which is the need of the hour. How do you define ‘thoughtful fashion’? Do you think that Indian designers and consumers are ready to make this shift?
RPS: There are a couple of things when it comes to sustainability. There are multiple stakeholders involved here, and in my opinion, if we don’t address all of them, the permutation doesn’t work. I know that people have made fast fashion as a sort of vampire of the trade, but if you ask me, I’d say if thoughtful fashion doesn’t work for that industry, it doesn’t work for anyone. A few of us cannot be sitting in our own little bubble, applauding ourselves, when the solution is not working for everyone.
ELLE: How are you #ImaginingTheWorldToBe post COVID-19?
RPS: I am not a forecaster, so I cannot tell you that the world will be purple tomorrow (laughs). I’ve never had a de nite answer to such questions, but I can see that a lot of people are working towards a solution for the post- COVID-19 world, and I can only hope that we get something that is sensible and responsible for everyone.