Kshitija S. Rana Talks To JWB About Taking The Legacy Of Rana’s Forward
- IWB Post
- December 9, 2015
If you’ve been living in Jaipur for years, then I can say this with the utmost conviction: “A saree from the ‘Rana Saree Center’ hangs in your family closet.”
However, even exceptional entrepreneurs need to branch out and dive head-first into new ventures to protect their legacy. And, that’s exactly what their daughter-in-law Kshitija S. Rana is doing!
On a super bright Monday morning, I stood outside one of the many Geru-colored, numbered shops in Johari Bazar. The streets were, as usual, bustling with honking cars and pedestrians. And, in the heart of all that energy, stood “Rana Saree Center, shop number 186”, tall and proud. The walls of the shop were lined with colorful sarees, and sitting cross-legged before me, was Kshitija herself.
Kshitija has successfully established a brand name for herself and became the only designer from Rajasthan to showcase her collection at the India Fashion Week 2016, held at Dubai.
JWB: Tell us how your journey started?
Kshitija: I launched my brand “Rana’s by Kshitija” in 2010, which is an extension of the “Rana Saree Center”. A designer by qualification, I felt the need to take this establishment one step further. So, I started learning from my father-in-law, and thus, my label came into existence. I wanted my line to be exclusive while taking the heritage of India forward.
JWB: So, is your label independent of “Rana’s”?
Kshitija: Yes, it is an independent label. It has the legacy, culture, heritage, knowledge, experience and education of Rana’s. But, it is designed, created, owned, carried, and promoted by me.
JWB: The burden of this opportunity must weigh heavily on your shoulders.
Kshitija: The burden is quite heavy, to be honest. My father-in-law started working here as a mere 15-year-old, and before that his father did. He would tell me how they used to work with real gold and silver, in those days. I feel that I have the opportunity to take the wisdom forward, and give my all to fulfill his 45 years of hard-work.
JWB: What made you want to showcase your line at Dubai?
Kshitija: I realized that people living abroad love wearing Indian attires. But, they do not have access to them. They only have access to machine embroidered clothing, which is a pure business. The machine work is not ‘us’. The precious hand-work is what our ancestors have been making, and what we believe in. People in Dubai are very well aware of the intricacies of the work and the hard work that goes behind it. This helped me get a very positive response at the fashion week.
There, I realized that there is so much in the world, and you’re just a tiny part of it. The horizon to learn is vast!
JWB: Tell us something about your collection!
Kshitija: My collection was very different. The theme was the “mystic lotus“. The line was vibrant and bright with beautiful hand work. I do not go blindly by fashion trends, except while choosing the silhouette. We create not for today, not for tomorrow, but something that will last for decades. Just like culture and heritage get passed on from one generation to another, we want our work to get passed on as well.
The fabric and embroidery should reflect upon a person. If you’re a very composed person, I would naturally create a piece which is subtle, and intricate.
JWB: Now, let’s talk a little about your upbringing. How did you get into designing and managing your own label?
Kshitija: My father has been in the field of textiles for nearly 35 years. I have grown around textile mills, bobby machines, jacquard machines, etc. The sound of thread going in and making a fabric has always echoed all around me. I have been surrounded by a lot of entrepreneurs too. This instilled in me the conviction that, if I do possess the skill, I shall be the ultimate head of it.
JWB: What inspires and encourages you to create?
Kshitija: The inspiration for my designs comes from within, but the encouragement and motivation to design comes from my father-in-law and my husband. These are two people who really help me imagine and create.
My parents gave me the education to create, but my father-in-law gave me the encouragement to do it practically. My parents nurtured me till the time I actually grew my own set of wings, and in-laws pushed me off the cliff and told me to fly! They convinced me that I can fly, and that too beautifully.
JWB: What advice would you give to upcoming designers?
Kshitija: Even if you’re born with a golden spoon, money can’t get you anything, only hard work and knowledge can. No matter where you are, what you are, or where you come from, money is just a derivative. You need to work to gain knowledge, and that’s all there is to it.
JWB: As a designer, what three things you think should be a must in every girl’s wardrobe?
Kshitija: A stole, a dress from your mother and anything you always love to wear!
JWB: What is your perception of the perfect Indian bride?
Kshitija: A perfect Indian bride is someone who has completely mentally prepared herself to step into a new environment. She is a fusion of her past life and her life to come. Her dressing, makeup, jewelry, everything is a fusion between what she really wants to wear and to what people are expecting of her. She can blend her own expectations with the expectations of her new family.
JWB: Last question, I swear! Many girls think that ‘marriage’ might restrict them. It doesn’t seem like that in your case!
Kshitija: A woman creates restrictions for herself first, and then other create it for her. Marriage has liberated me more because I always wanted to be liberated! You have to take a stand, for the life you want to live. Other will not let it happen unless you don’t try yourself.
Thus, our chat ended on a happy note! Kshitija gave me a new perspective on life and marriage. Her sweet nature, friendliness and that sense of individuality can spark alive the lamp of love in the most dormant hearts.
Picture Courtesy: Pallav Bhargava