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Designer Ravi Bajaj, who completes 25 years in the business this year, says he's as young as the Khans in Bollywood.
Happy 25th! How does it feel to be a pioneer of fashion in India?
Kind of old. It's not so bad actually. I just feel that I should have covered a lot more ground.
What are your celebrations like?
I am not too hot on fashion shows at the moment, they are kind of boring for all. So we are doing these parties in four cities — New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh — where we do a small fashion presentation in just three or four minutes and serve great wine and food (which, in any case, excites me more than fashion) and let everybody have a blast.
Now that you are a 'veteran' of sorts, how do you think fashion in India is shaping up — culturally and as a business?
Veteran? Now you are trying your best to make me feel 'ancient' and I just turned 48. That's as old as all your Khans, and they are still romancing nubile things. But to answer your question, earlier people owned one pair of black shoes and one brown pair. Now, men probably have more shoes than their wives; we have become a society of conspicuous consumption.
You, along with your peer and best friend Suneet Varma, tried your hand at congregating other contemporaries and forming a fashion body but it didn't work out. Yet, we don't see you at fashion weeks. Why?
The fashion body is actually called the FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India), and it's been reasonably successful. It's just that I could not see myself being a part of the jamboree. So I do my own thing. In any case, tigers hunt alone.
You especially pioneered the men's suit and the cocktail sari. While in menswear, you are referred to as 'the Armani of India', don't you think you didn't quite cash in on the commercialisation of the western sari?