The Hot List 2016: Suket Dhir (Fashion Designer)
How an unknown designer from Delhi became India’s biggest fashion export
For a designer who hasn’t even hosted a proper show in India yet, Suket Dhir’s success is as rare as it is merit-worthy. In January this year, months of toiling with weavers in the Telangana sun paid rich dividends, when he was declared the recipient of the International Woolmark Prize for 2015-16, in the menswear category. It’s an honour that has put him in the league of iconic designers like Karl Kagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, and another Indian, Rahul Mishra, whose women’s collection bagged him the honor a couple of years ago, shortly after the award was reinstated in 2012.
For Dhir, life remains the same, despite an extensive write-up in the New York Times and the cover of the well-respected 1843 magazine— he still works out of his Lado Sarai studio in New Delhi, with wife Svetlana manning marketing and communications while their toddler, Zoraveur, frolics as they work. Given the laborious process of crafting each garment that he presented in his award-winning collection, a larger set-up or retail within India isn’t on the cards.
There are no plans to sell the prize-winning collection in India, though. “You could come by to the studio, but I won’t be retailing it anywhere. There’s only a limited number of pieces we can create, given the complexity, and delivering them to international markets is the priority. But my main line is doing well in India, apart from some collaborations for prêt lines,” says Dhir.