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“Rejection makes you stubborn for success”

Designer Wendell Rodricks has single-handedly put his home state Goa on the international fashion map. But despite his success, the veteran never stops learning and interned at the museum at  New York’s  Fashion Institute of Technology. The designer talks to Salil Jayakar about his struggles and success.

Photograph Courtesy: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

Q: Did you want to be a designer in school?
A: I don’t know if the word designer was in my mind, but yes, something to do with colour, design, style. The fashion designer part was a dream, which fortunately came true. Japan had a fascination for me in school; the beauty of the kimono, the garment. I was glamour-struck at a young age.

Q: Were you a good student in school and college?
A: Boringly good at school! But I was bad in Maths and Commerce from the onset in college. The only numbers I liked were in inches.

Q: What inspires and motivates you the most?
A: The beauty of creating a garment; one day a garment is on a sketch pad, the next day, it becomes a reality. Two months down the line, I see it at a party as part of a living, moving human being. It is almost miraculous! I am glad I am in a creative field. Artists have the joy of creating; If I sat in an office as a trader to make money, no matter how many millions, I would prefer not to live!

Photograph Courtesy: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

Q: Did you face rejection before your first break?
A: When I got into fashion, Indian high fashion was brightly coloured silk with embroidery. Naturally when I put my minimalist statement on racks in linen, cotton, asymmetric hemlines, the buying public rejected the style. I used to be standing near my rack and ladies dripping with diamonds would say within earshot, “What are these bizarre clothes? And why is that hemline going from waist to floor?” In two years, when everyone was romancing the asymmetric hemline, I had the last laugh. Rejection is a good thing. It makes you stronger and more stubborn to succeed.

Q: Your advice to aspiring designers…
A: Many youngsters want to get into fashion for fame and finance. My advice is to start working under a designer and then set about creating a style philosophy that is from the heart and is not seen anywhere on another designer’s rack.

  “Set about creating a style philosophy that is from the heart, and not seen anywhere on another designer’s rack ”  

Q: Choose a career that pays or one you love – your take?
A: I began in hotel management that paid and ended up with a career I love. Even if one chooses a career one loves, one has to find the balance to put a meal on the table.

Q: What does it take to be successful?
A: Hard work, talent and blessings from above! Frankly, I don’t think of success or failure. I think about enjoying the present in the most gracious way I can. And yes, humour is a large part of my life. I can laugh at myself and when things go wrong, I can still see that in the future, it will pass eventually. So I laugh at the situation, and don’t get stressed.

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