THE BIGGEST STRENGTH IS THE PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH YOU - HEMANG AGRAWAL
Inspiration is the key to creativity and creativity is the key to success. The section 'In Focus' brings to the table some highly creative individuals, from different creative fields, who are sharing the secret recipes of their success. 'In Focus' is also an attempt to inspire people to chase their dreams, by sharing stories of people who've done so and found their calling.
In Focus - Hemang Agarwal - Founder, Hemang Agarwal Label
1. Let’s meet Hemang Agrawal.
I was born in the old city of Benares to parents, both of who studied fine arts. After school, I pursued business studies at Sydenham College, Mumbai. Though I was a merit-lister & received the Golden Jubilee scholarship; the croquis I had started doodling along the margins of economics workbook, were exciting me a lot more than the demand curves we had to draw. Around the same time, fashion was just about being taken seriously in India as a profession. I applied & got through the fashion design course at NIFT in 1998. That point in time, NIFT wasn’t a university and thus offered full-time diplomas.
For the next 3 years, I was learning draping & pattern-making during the daytime & cramming business law late into the night. I finished amongst the top of the class at NIFT and was awarded for textile & surface development. Immediately afterwards, I joined a reputed export house & was doing denim & madras collections for a few premium American brands. Around this time, NIFT through its tie-up with the Nottingham Trent University, offered admission & a small scholarship for the masters program at NTU. However, the fascination with hand-woven patterned textiles was just taking roots somewhere within and I decided to return to Benares to study at the weavers service centre along-with several weavers & artists who were associated with my father.
2. Do you remember the first time you got inspired about your current field of work & how did you follow your current path of setting up your own label?
Growing up, we were always surrounded with hand-woven silks as my father had a textile business, so there was always this fascination with textiles. The label has evolved organically after more than a decade of textile research and development on handlooms in Benares.
3. What keeps you motivated & what is the best piece of advice you’d give to someone starting their own brand/label?
As Bukowski said “Find what you love and let it kill you.” In my case it has been textiles. Inspirations do not come by on an everyday basis. If one pursues something one loves and is clinical in the process of going about it, I am sure it pays off in the long-run. It is important to not be short-sighted while pursuing your dreams.
4. Which was the most challenging part of your journey?
The most challenging part is and always will be is to stick to your aesthetics & not giving-in to the commercial requirements. The volume drivers in India are embroidered Indian silhouettes and for someone who doesn’t cater to that segment, it is always a challenge. I guess everything to do with the “commerce“ side of the design is always the most challenging to manage.
5. Who do you design/create your clothes for?
We sincerely believe that the luxury of “choice” remains with the consumer & not a designer. We just create what we love hoping that it connects with someone with similar aesthetics.
6. Can you walk us through the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in running a business.
The biggest strength is people who work with you. Be demanding but be respectful, be fair.
7. Please tell us your life motto:
“Live the journey, destination is a myth.”
8. Which is the one Social Media platform you love the most & why?
Absolutely love Snapchat- never managed to figure it out so I’m not on it. This saves some precious hours to put to actual work ;)