Contemporary fashion designer shares her love for Indian handloom and her journey so far

Rashmi Varma&rsquo's eponymous label is about minimalism that exudes luxury and craftsmanship, while loyal to Indian handlooms and weaves. Born in Montreal and now based in New Delhi, Rashmi’s design sensibility thrives on modernity influenced by a rich past. Incorporating different elements of architecture and costume design, Rashmi has shaped up her label into one of India’s most wearable brands.

Batik Saree Dress by Rashmi Varma

From Political Science major to Fashion, From Canada to India, tell us a little about your transformative journey | I always wanted to get into fashion as far as I can remember, but my parents dissuaded me from doing so and urged me to study something else…so I ended up studying political science along with many art history classes, which gave me a good critical thinking background. After political science, I was sure that I needed to do something more creative and therefore went to study interior design, as I thought it would lead me towards more viable work. After 2 years of working for an architectural and corporate interior design firm, I was not getting the creative satisfaction that I was searching for, but I was probably delusional in thinking I was gonna be designing cool shit as a junior! So I began to dabble with clothes – cutting, sewing, ripping whatever I wanted to! I interned, free-lanced and worked with designers, did retail which led me into doing costumes for indie theatre and short films. The next 10 years, I free-lanced working big and small in Fashion, Film, Theatre and TV. I always knew I wanted to start my own clothing line and India was the right place to do it because of our extensive textile history and hand craft. I moved here at the end of 2012 to start my women’s wear line.

Bismarck Chikan Shirt, Bismarck Bomber, Khadi Denim Pleat Skirt by Rashmi Varma
Interstellar Jumper, Eclipse Sari Dress by Rashmi Varma

” Rashmi’s personal style is | A lot of black, white and navy..!”

Cosmic Sari Dress and Eclipse Sari Dress by Rashmi Varma

Challenges you have faced starting out | Even though I have been coming to India all my life, and have worked on some costume projects here, moving here to start my own business was and is definitely challenging. Work ethic, quality expectations, the levels of bureaucracy and professionalism and being a woman have all been a challenge. But I have also found a great team to work with!

Rashmi Varma’s personal style | A lot of black, white and navy..!

Statement pieces from your collections | The Sari dress, the Shisha jumper, the Mirzai coat, anything pom, the Kediya vest to name a few.

Pom-Pom Waistcoat, Pom-Pom Khadi Coat, Khadi Wide Pant and Snake Sari Dress by Rashmi Varma
Bismarck Chikan Shirt, Sepoy Khadi Jacket, Lucknow Pant, Pleat Khadi Skirt by Rashmi Varma

DNA of RV’ s label is | The DNA of RV is definitely handloom and handcrafted, and we do use a lot of Khadi. Our cotton is both Khadi which is handspun and hand-woven or just hand-woven. Our garments and designs are pretty easy to wear and understand.

What inspires you | Everywhere and anywhere – traveling, art, reading, eating, dancing… enjoying life and curiosity.

Yantra Kaftan,Yantra Blouse, Cross Khadi Pant by Rashmi Varma

Summer dressing | Indian summers are ridiculously hot, so one probably wants to keep layering to a minimum. We do layer during summers when out in the sun to protect the skin. We just have to look at lightweight Cotton Muls, of which there are plenty of options and wear as much as you can bear!

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