By N. Niranjan Nikam
He is in the world of fashion, glitz and glamour and has done more than 100 fashion shows in different parts of the world. He should have been preening about his achievements by now but being a typical Mysuru-born youth, always downplaying accomplishments, this young man wears his success lightly on his sleeve and prefers his work do the talking.
Sitting in the Italian Fashion School in Miami, Florida, called Istituto Marangoni Miami, the Mysuru-born Fashion Designer Kaushal Vishu, who was just celebrated his 26th birthday, speaking to Star of Mysore in a Skype call said, “In the field of fashion, starting at a young age and having sustained it for so long doing so many shows and judging various shows in India and US as Designer, Fashion Show Director and Stylist has helped me realise, it’s the idea and the work that you do matters and rest follows.”
On what caught his interest in fashion, Kaushal said, “One of my relatives is a make-up artiste and costume designer who used to come to Mysuru for film shoots. I would accompany her along with my father. I was hardly 12 or 13 but clothes fascinated me. As my parents were wary of my interest I had to do my engineering which I did at NIE. Though I was an average student, I played tennis and also was good in dancing. However, I always knew that it was fashion that I wanted to pursue, as you could tell your own story in your own way.”
As a Freelance Entrepreneur, Kaushal launched his first official show in 2014 at Windflower Resort & Spa in Mysuru at the age of 21. He has grown from strength to strength and some of the celebrities who have supported and walked for him include Shruthi Hariharan,
Asked what made him to go to US to do Master’s in Design and Media Management at Miami International University of Art Design he said. “I aspire to continually grow and further develop my talents within the Creative and Management Industry.”
It was here that he participated in the Atlanta Fashion Week-2018 as Feature Designer, directing the assistants involved in preparing rough samples of the design, coordinating their work in alignment to meet deadlines, examining the look of sample garments on models, making sure that the designed product matches the age, gender, style and socioeconomic status of target consumers and modifying and redesigning the garments if need arises.
This was followed by his participation in 25th year celebration of Srigandha Kannada Koota at Florida, Tampa, as Show Director and Designer where he created all fashion looks for female roles and then the equally big AKKA (Association of Kannada Kootas of America) at Dallas, Texas as Show Director and Designer.
Parry him with the question, is fashion show and designing the only interests, Kaushal sitting in the Italian Fashion School early in the morning at 8.30, even as his CEO Hakan Baykam walks into the school and says hello to this writer, said, “This is a one-year course which started in July last year and will end this July. I have to do a lot of multi-tasking here. This is one of the most prestigious fashion schools in the world (there is one in Mumbai) and to build such a portfolio in USA is very important.”
“I always wanted to teach fashion and the business aspect of it. In this course where I am also working will help do it. I had done a course in Fashion Designing and Styling at Queen’s School in Mysuru,” he added.
On what is the difference between fashion in India and US, Kaushal said, “There are differences as they are culturally different countries. Hence, the choice of dressing on a daily basis is also different. However, the gap is closing in urban and corporate India as well, as the people are into more western wears. Most of the people in the US like wearing customised outfits as they are affordable compared to India. Dressing up is more important compared to India that’s because it has a major influence from the society they live in. Apart from that, couture works (high-end fashion) of both countries are high and equal as the designers are very creative. Couple of Designers that I admire who are Indians or have Indian roots and now Americans are Naeem Khan, Bibu Mohapatra, etc…”
He recalled the time when the Royal Fables of India had a tour in the US. These royals are mostly from North Indian families who participated in the fashion show. It was held at India – US Chamber of Commerce President Dr. Madhu Mehta’s residence in 2018 and he was a part of it.
Surprised that the clothesline or the brand they showcased did not have a single Mysore Silk collection, Kaushal asked them, why the royals from Mysuru were not participating as Mysore Silk was widely known and the erstwhile Maharajas had their own silk brand, this was the reply he got, “Mysore Royals are very sophisticated and subdued in their approach.”
On how he has remained untouched by the glamour of the fashion industry, Kaushal said, “It all depends on the upbringing and culture and this is what my parents (Anita Vishu and Vishu Kumar, residents of Siddarthanagar, Mysuru) have instilled in me. There are restrictions that I have imposed on myself and I do not cross those boundaries. But I have seen in the US how most of the Indians are depressed souls (Nonda jeevagalu) as they, like me, keep craving for everything Indian. However, my goal is to achieve something here and move on.”