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Romeo & Romeo, the latest collection from Kaushik Velendra, evolved from the myriad of experiences we have had to confront over the past months. As a species and as individuals, we have had to adapt to new ways of life, find inner strength and practice self-love in all new ways. The collection celebrates “being reborn as the most powerful incarnation of oneself.”

Kaushik Velendra is a cutting-edge luxury menswear label that combines traditional tailoring with the latest innovation in fabric and construction. Velendra was the first Indian-born graduate from the prestigious MA Fashion program at Central Saint Martins and has since dressed for the Grammys, BAFTAs and Bollywood Filmfare. Velendra founded his label in October 2019, presented his first collection the following January and was shortlisted for the LVMH prize just weeks after. 

The collection, consisting of 18 looks, aims to flatter all body shapes by redefining modern tailoring and masculinity. Garments feature sharp silhouettes and structured drapes that emphasize the extreme characteristics of fabrics. Activewear blended with power shoulders and worsted suiting mixed with lightweight tulle create infinite possibilities for a new age of masculinity.

How does it feel to be the first Indian born graduate from MA fashion at CSM and to have graduated with a distinction?
I can’t describe the feeling, it feels great. It feels amazing to pioneer that movement of graduating from CSM. It feels wonderful to be recognised as an inspiration who has created a new path by opening opportunities to the rest of my country and to people from that side of the world. I feel excited to be able to be able to demonstrate to others what’s actually possible through education and dedicating yourself to your goal. Distinction or non-distinction, it really doesn’t matter. I’m happy to have gotten it. What’s really important is you not giving up and staying strong and to be able to believe in yourself no matter where you come from. Being able to come out of the education program with such a great team like Fabio feels so good. Also, coming out with a strong identity as a designer and knowing who you are and what your goals are in life is really a product of the course. Being able to accomplish my goal in graduation from CSM with a distinction, it is such a great feeling, but it is just one of my stepping stones.

What do you see for the future of menswear?
I call my brand the future of menswear. Menswear is a large segment; it’s about the future of tailoring. There are different types of menswear, from streetwear to formal wear, red carpet dressing and couture wear. What I’m trying to accomplish is delivering confidence to every man regardless of their community or race. I want to make them feel powerful and strong in what they do through their clothes, that is the ethos behind the collection. This is what I see for the future of menswear. Especially with the new age of living, the only thing that keeps people going is a strong mind and view. If the clothes are able to emulate this through the design, this will create a whole new direction for menswear.

What does fashion mean to you and what are some of your sources of inspiration?
This is interlinked to my previous answers, just clothes. Clothes that can make you feel extraordinary. I feel very inspired by people. My construction, analogy of design and my entire process of thinking it is all about the future and how people want to feel. My inspiration also comes from random conversations with different people, from people telling me about their insecurities to what they’re not happy about with their bodies. I aim to incorporate these into my designs through new fabric technologies and tailoring. This enables me to design a new way of life through my clothes. I’m not a season-based designer. My collections are not derived from the past but the future. I like to create the future and focus on what’s next. The world is transforming. There are many difficulties that need to be faced in the future. I’m trying to create something sustainable. Sustainable business models, sustainable ways of working, new ways of creating products that is not only valuable but equally personal and emotional. My designs are very much to do with the human body and muscles, created to flatter every body type. By improving posture and creating an elevated self-esteem, my clothes bring out inner strength. The way you feel, sit and stand are completely transformed, and this is all done through activewear construction.

How was the experience of creating a collection during lockdown?
It was challenging. It wasn’t easy, not because of not knowing what to do, but because when you try to make a great product it’s not a one-man job. Lockdown made it difficult to put everything together as everyone was affected. However, it did make me realise that I have my separate skill set. Quarantine gave me the opportunity to record these skills and create something special which later transformed into a capsule collection transpiring further into the SS21 collection. As a person, regardless of Covid I want to carry on and break boundaries. I won’t let anything prevent me from evolving.

How would you describe the KV World?
It’s a brand for every man; the KV world is all-inclusive. All skin tones, nationalities, body types. It is about empowerment and being able to feel sexy and strong no matter who you are and where you come from. It’s about being able to be the very best version of yourself every day and creating your own version of masculinity. In other words, we are creating an entirely new culture, a new community and developing a safe space for people to feel beautiful. That is what KV stands for…without forgetting an Indian powerhouse!