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Manish Arora on Installation Art, Social Media and His Love for Burning Man

The celebrated fashion designer collaborated with St+art Mumbai recently to deck up the majestic Jindal Mansion

Anurag Tagat Dec 20, 2017

Manish Arora (right) and his installation at the Jindal Mansion in Mumbai for St+art Festival. Photo: Courtesy of St+art India Foundation

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Mumbai-bred designer Manish Arora is all about happy vibes and brightness. But he does it in a way that’s eclectic and often unpredictable when it comes to fashion. A longstanding and dependable name in fashion and art, Arora remains a regular and fêted name globally, for bringing a certain Indian aesthetic to his work as well as his own distinct vibrancy.

He’s worked with clothing and jewellery, and even installation art. “I’ve done a lot of work for Swarovski over a decade now,” he says. His latest involvement in installation art came at St+art Mumbai 2017 Urban Art Festival on December 7th, around the theme of “Life is Beautiful,” decking up the well-known Jindal Mansion in different hues. “We were just waiting for the perfect canvas,” Arora says. In an interview with Rolling Stone India, Arora details his association with art, fashion week and how music inspires him. Excerpts:

You were part of the first-ever India Fashion Week in Delhi in 2000 – how have fashion week events in the country changed over the years?

I think one thing that has drastically changed over the years has been the craze of social media. In the past, people who loved fashion looked out for the shows and they weren’t the crazy phenomenon that they are now and only magazines and newspapers covered it. Today, with digital the influencers have changed, I can also put out sneak-peeks before the show and give people an insight into me as a person and a designer.

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You’ve been inspired by raves in the past for your work – can you tell me a bit about what kind of music, if any, or music culture/sub-culture has influenced your work?

Burning Man, a festival that takes place in the middle of the Black Rock desert in Nevada is my annual destination. It’s always a cathartic experience for me and is what majorly serves as as my inspiration.

Your trademark has always been colorful, always been in many ways an anti-thesis to anything minimal. How intentional is it to be “maximalist”?  

I don’t think it comes intentionally, I believe in staying true to my vision and conviction so it depends on the collection and I have envisioned it panning out.

How do you pick which fashion labels you work with? What do you look for when an offer like that comes your way?

I always look at collaborators who share the same vision as me to create something unique and eclectic and don’t have a multitude of constraints.

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