Suave and stylish, Karunesh Vohra charms you with his understated manner and quiet elegance. The ever so talented designer has contributed to the fashion industry for over two decades and is currently the Creative Director at Madhura Fashion & Lifestyle. In this exclusive interview, the National Institute of Fashion Technology alumnus shares his style narrative.
What triggered your interest in fashion and drove you to pursue a career in the industry?
I couldn’t see myself making career in my then occupation (poultry farming) and desired to work in a creative field. Interior design & fashion were two avenues that popped up as possible choices.
A friend, Anjali Singh, helped me get an interview with a fashion company that she worked with and I was recruited as a finishing supervisor. The job was interesting and the rest, as they say, is history.
How would you describe your personal style?
Boring to most, I think. I am a big believer in beautifully crafted essentials. To me, men’s fashion is about elegance through classic style (that can have contemporary elements), impeccable fit and outstanding craftsmanship.
What is your go-to outfit?
A white shirt and bootcut rigid denim jeans or a tee and joggers (a great option for cycling).
What are your closet must-haves?
A white shirt, a full sleeved flat knit black high neck t-shirt, a pair of Indigo denims, washed jeans, a classic navy blazer, a contemporary earth-toned cotton blazer, a pair of khaki/navy chinos, white or light coloured cotton/linen breeze pants, knee length shorts, joggers, cargo shorts, round neck tees and a sharp double-breasted peaked lapel classic banker’s suit.
What is the one foolproof wardrobe hack that you would swear by?
Throw on a blazer.
Who’s your style icon?
The Indian Army: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, Field Marshal Cariappa and my father.
How has your style evolved over the years?
Buy less, buy better is definitely something that I believe in now. I have also developed a healthy respect for old world craftsmanship and an understanding of the beauty of proportion, cut and make.
In the context of fashion, who or what inspires you?
As a commercial designer my inspiration changes with my target audience. Fashion is about delivering relevant products to your consumer, hence the muse must always be the customer. One day I might design for myself, then we can talk about what inspires me.
Tell us about your favourite designers/brands.
Armani ,Corneliani, Miyake are among my favourites but to be honest, I am more attracted to labels that I can afford – the Japanese brand, Muji comes to mind.
What is your most prized possession?
Wow, I don’t have one.
If you had to pick the best and worst fashion trends of all time, which ones would make the list?
The best, in my opinion, are not trends but decades – the 1920’s for its flapper style, the 1960’s for its mod fashion and the 1970’s for its aberrations.
For me personally, the power dressing of the 1980’s was unfortunate.
If you could live in a different era, what would it be and why?
The 1920’s would be amazing, followed closely by the 1960’s.
Which is your favorite book/TV show/movie, and why?
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. I read it a long time ago so I can’t remember why it’s a favorite (I should definitely read it again). My other favourite is P. G. Wodehouse because he makes me laugh.
If you weren’t in the business of fashion, what line of work would you pursue?
In hindsight, if I had the courage and discipline, I would be in the Indian Army.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashion professionals?
I’m not certain that I am in a position to dole out advice but here are my two cents. If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. The only person who defines what “well” is is you. Also, the design mind is a “curious” & “transient” one, so stay open and transient and try everything once.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Karunesh Vohra and are not associated in any way with Madhura Fashion & Lifestyle.
Images Courtesy of House Of Three Studio