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December 16, 2017

Designers And Their Protégés: Manish Arora and Garima Madan

Text by Saumya Sinha

Garima Madan, the head of design at Manish Arora, has been training with the designer to be the next torchbearer of his empire

The king of elaborate embroideries, kaleidoscopic prints and candy-coloured psychedelic exuberance is reckoned to be among the influential fashion savants, internationally. It is in the intersection of skilled craftsmanship, pop art and contemporariness that his brand continues to tower in its appeal.

But in continually enchanting his fans with surreal glam and high-octane motifs, Arora is assisted by his right-hand woman and the future face of the brand. Garima Madan, the head of design at Manish Arora, has been training with the designer to be the next torchbearer of his empire, for years. “I admire Garima’s hard work and vision, she’s also someone who loves to collaborate and gives and takes inputs very constructively,” says Arora who advises his protégé to “always be inspired by everything around”.

Madan complements the ethos and vibe of the brand and having worked closely with Arora for years, she seemed like the right person to take charge. From contributing to every aspect of creating the collection at a micro level and working on the mood board and storyboard to seeing the vision come to life on the runway, Madan has been an integral part of the process. “I’ve learnt that sometimes you have to go with your gut, and at the end of the day, it’s all about hard work,” asserts Arora.

For Madan, Arora and his unique vision empower her every day, and “no matter what challenge is thrown my way, nothing intimidates me, which is something I can apply to everything in my life,” says she. After over 10 years of collaboration, their chemistry has evolved and matured to a level where one can read the other’s mind. Naturally, with such a rapport, the change of charge was very organic.

But while they have a similar understanding of and vision for the brand, they did differ on a few things. Madan says, “When I started working with Manish, we had different design ideologies but over time, our sensibilities have grown to become quite similar. Initially it was all about drama and larger-than-life garments but over the years I’ve learnt to find the balance among runway and editorial pieces and garments that will be retailed and worn by the audience.”

The National Institute of Fashion Technology (New Delhi) graduate discovered her love for three-dimensional paper sculptures and origami during her graduation project. Ever since Madan got on board, Arora’s design and business strategies have been revisited and rejigged. “We are constantly evolving as a brand and since a few years have started putting an emphasis on research-based, commercially viable merchandise,” she shares.

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