Someone rightly said, “Passion is oxygen of the soul”. Passion moves men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures. Riyaz Pasha, an icon of International Fashion is a perfect example of the above quote.
Riyaz is a simple and talented person who always wears a smile on his face, no matter what. He is one in a millions who dared to chase his dreams and chose an unconventional path, rather than settle for a life of mediocrity. It was his passion and love for fashion that was burning as a fire in his heart that lighted his way to success. Today, he is one of the topmost designers who have inscribed his name in golden words in the history of fashion. The first designer in India who made the models dance rather than walk the ramp. To delve into the world of fashion, I had a tete-a-tete with Fashion Designer, Riyaz Pasha.
Innocent at heart: Born and raised in Bangalore, Karnataka, Riyaz introduced himself as a good tailor which he always desired to be. He wanted his work to be presented to the world in a classic, stylish, colourful and in a better way. When it comes to work he reflects a model of diligence and a painstaking care.
Inspiration: Riyaz’s yen for textiles and fashion is genetic. He derived the trait of a fashionista from his grandfather who owned a textile mill in the heart of the city, Bangalore. His grandfather was a great man in clothing business. The very thought of visiting the mill used to get Riyaz excited as it was the only place he could create something of his own. He used to get delighted by the vibrant colours, patterns and styles. He was in his teens when fashion got seeded in his heart.
Early Influences: Once he completed his studies, Riyaz was sent to Ludhiana to learn the techniques of fixing the machines that manufactures fabrics. This led him to learn the intricacies of fabric. After a long stay in Ludhiana, he returned to Bangalore. However, he didn’t want to stay in Bangalore and preferred to travel abroad to learn fashion in a true sense.
Riyaz’s family was supportive in every aspect but said no to fashion. Since he loved his mom a lot, he enrolled for a course in Software and Communication on her insistence. He did the course but didn’t practice it. As his heart was pounding for fashion, he started revolting. His elder brother, Fazal Sheriff motivated and supported him and believed in his dreams. His brother acts as a boost in his life till today. Friends like Kantilal Jain and Javed Ahmed also encouraged him in every possible way.
Riyaz took up jobs like that of a marketing professional and a cab driver to support himself. When he had all the required resources, he flew to Bedford, London. He got in touch with few designers like Tony and started to work with them. In Parallel, he also kept on doing research on designs, designers and fabrics and kept himself updated.
He came back to India, made some money and travelled to Paris to polish his skills and expertise. He joined one of the finest fashion schools, ESMOD, Paris. Riyaz got inspired from Elie Saab, a Paris based fashion designer and started working hard and has never looked back since then.
The Birth of R-studio: Riyaz always wanted to have his own signature and it happened about fourteen years back from now but officially inaugurated six years ago. His work was loved by many and people started to hire him for shows. He opened stores one in Bedford, U.K. and another in Bangalore, India. He is planning to setting up his third store in Sydney, Australia. There are various retail stores that sell his collections. One can also find his collection in Baga, Goa.
Once back in India, Riyaz was approached to do a fashion show for one of an event management company. He was a bit hesitant displaying his collections in India as his collections were way ahead of their time and presumed that it will be difficult for Indian audience to understand the vogue. Fortunately, the show was a big hit and people started recognizing him and his collections- “Riyaz Collections”.
The Work Philosophy: Riyaz loves to get recognized for his work which is very unique to him. Riyaz is popularly known for his customizations. His work starts from fabric sourcing to dying, handwork, colouring and finally fitting. The unique fact about him is that he does not take measurements. “I do not take measurements, I make costumes on the basis of my experiences”, he smiled.
Relationship with the client: Working with different types of clients challenges him. Before he concludes with the wear, he first understand the parameters such as type of occasion, whether it is an in-house or an outsourced one, the type of wear, the kind of lightning to be used, the kind of invitees. He starts his work accordingly and also gives a brief picture to the client before he goes ahead. In the past, he has also worked with corporate giants as well. One of them is Samsung.
Celebrities like Sushmita Sen, Sahil Khan and famous Cricketer Jonty Rhodes also have tasted his designs. He worked in Bombay for production houses for a couple of years.
Clients are always happy with his work. They utter “WOW” once they receive their costume and the same gesture in turn make Riyaz happy about himself. In South India, he is the highest user of Swarovski. He had made the bridal outfit for the IBM’s global director’s daughter’s wedding with Swarovski (glittering stones that resemble diamonds). He also uses pearls and embroidery in his designs. Riyaz is very particular about his fabric, he knows it intensely. “The fall of the different fabrics is different and it needs different cuts to fit one properly. Every fabric has a different fall and it has its own density. Every fabric needs a different cutting to fit to one’s body accordingly”, he mentioned.
Thought for Indian Fabric: Riyaz get his fabrics from different parts of the world mostly from Milan however he has a secret love for Indian Fabric. He wants to promote Indian Fabric internationally. “There is a huge demand for Indian fabric- the handloom and the Khadi which is unique to our country”, he informed and he added that there is lot of demand of the same in international market.
Social Responsibilities: Even after earning acclaim for being an international fashion designer, he didn’t forget his responsibilities towards his society. He shares his knowledge and educates the upcoming designers regarding fashion. He was invited to RBANM’S School and he delivered the message about the importance of presenting oneself. He taught them style, design, importance of dressing up and proper presentation. Not but the least he also walked for a cause. He did a Fashion show happened in Jaipur in 2015 whose main objective was to raise funds for the cancer victims.
He has been honored by various prestigious national and international awards also. His personal glam and honed eye identify and promote local talent as well. He has promoted and still promotes various models, make-up artists, and photographers. Few of them have got a big name in the industry today.
Word of advice to the young: “Be yourself, you have to be smart, quick and love your work”, he signs off.