Winning designs

For fashion designer Nachiket Barve seeing his name woven onto a garment label for the first time was a life-changing moment

  • Published 12.07.15
Photo: Gajanan Dudhalkar

A turning point is something that inspires you, stretches your potential and forces you take a path that you have hitherto been scared of treading. The first turning point in my life came in 1998 when I went to Auckland, New Zealand, to do a course in accountancy. I was pretty much on my own there and that made me fearless and independent. 

Besides studying I made pocket money by serving tables at Burger King and for leisure I’d go on road trips which made me very resourceful. 

I come from a family of doctors and design never figured in their scheme of things. So, joining the National Institute of Design (NID) in 2001 was an important turning point. In NID, I learnt to express my thoughts and to convert my ideas into objects and designs. My stint at NID also changed my mindset and helped me tap into my own abilities. 

I was also the only student at NID to get a scholarship to Paris at L’École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. I lived and studied in Paris between 2003 and 2004 and this gave me exposure to many international brands that were yet to arrive in the country. I interned with Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) which was a dream way to start my career.

I launched my own label in 2008 and when my name was first woven onto a label it was a life-changing moment for me. I realised that every garment that I made would have to do full justice to my signature. It hit me that many people — tailors, embroiderers and others — were now dependent on me. So, having my name on a label was not just an honour but a huge responsibility too. I realised that my label would have to stand for something substantial — impeccable quality and a unique design sensibility.

The International Woolmark Prize for 2015-16 for which I have been nominated too is an honour for it shortlists designers from a host of countries. There is always a little element of India in whatever work I do and this nomination recognises it.

(As told to Saimi Sattar)