A designer by profession, Jatin Kochhar has not limited his creative skills to just designing clothes. He is one of the versatile persons in the fashion industry, who uses his creativity to a maximum extent. Jatin has involved in a lot of activities apart from designing, like anchoring, writing, etc. In apparel designing, his technique of blending conventional classic in contemporary chic style is adored by everyone. An additional blessing of creativity from heaven, Jatin designs clothes which are simple and class. His designs are such that they can be worn by people at large.
Introduce yourself to the readers.
My name is Jatin Kochhar, I am from very a conservative business family. With 3 others I am the eldest. I am pretty much from Delhi but I have studied in Mumbai and I have lived in Singapore and Tokyo.
Would you like to tell us about your educational background?
Well, half of my family lives in Mumbai so I studied in Mumbai and then we moved to Singapore and I stayed there for a year. Then I came back, I have no formal training in design, I started my career in 19 and launched my label. I never went to any college or school in terms of design.
What inspired you to go for fashion designing? Why didn’t you go for more conventional courses like engineering or medical?
Actually, I wanted to get into interior designing my whole idea of making this world more beautiful and I don’t restrict my design ability to just fashion, I mean I do interior, I do jewelry, it’s a very wide spectrum in which I am engaging in with the design being the basis.
Sir, you are a successful designer but you didn’t go for any fashion designing college. So do you think a college degree is necessary or it is just inherent talent which is sufficient for success in this field?
You must have the inherent talent because when you go to the institute to study, they only teach the technicality, they only teach you to cut a stitch but how you wish to apply that knowledge that ability has to be within you that they cannot teach you. That is why everyone who goes to NIFT or any such institute is not a superstar. I mean if you get even one from one batch that would be a huge success rate. But that not how it is. So there is lots of element that are required.
How much internship really matters in this field?
Internships do make a huge difference, but the thing is, the way it’s done at least in our country, it’s very shoddy, it is not really thought about. I mean I know so many kids who don’t even go for the internship. The students are not realizing that this is detrimental to their career, so if you don’t care why would the person who is hiring you for the internship bothers. Honestly what has happened is, I would say like 15 years ago I had some students from NIFT and they were interning with me and I used to spend a lot of time with students not just NIFT, in general, so there was a trend like a format I was young so they thought if he can do it so can we. Earlier when I used to hire interns, there were two kids they actually stole crystals from my unit so which made me think why should I even bother having interns they don`t deserve it because you are learning at my expense on my resources so you should be paying me which is true because you don`t know anything so why should I bother. On top they come, they steal and it causes a lot of disharmonies, so since 15 years, I have had no interns. The only intern that I have had in 15 years was maybe 10 years ago I had this design student from Denmark, he gets in touch with me. Even with him I kept dissuading him, I said to him don’t come, you will get sick, it is not a safe place but that kid he was very adamant, I didn’t know and next moment he has taken a flight and he was here and was just 18 or 19 years old. And can you imagine how difficult I would have been for the kid? And within the internship period he fell sick, he felt seriously sick, so I had to put him in my house because he was somebody’s child, it was my responsibility, so he lived with me for week or 10 days and in the meantime I had to make sure that he is fine and healthy and couple of months ago he committed suicide. So it was really sad for me. See if you do an internship with me it is not about learning technicality. Last year I had internship students but they were from school 10th standard, so I said “I am the boss so I would decide what you would do, so get it out of your system that we are going to learn any design” because you need to have a base and for me the base is you have to be sober you have to be balanced, only if you in the right frame of mind can you function and create something. If your mind is not in the order you can not create anything.
When you hire someone for job purpose what are the attribute that you take into consideration?
I have to see how serious you are, how much are you willing learn, you see everything is not about money but young people don’t realize that, if you want to make money you need to be worthy of it. If you are good at your work and dedicated the rest will just follow.
How much grades are important the field of fashion designing? Does having good grades provides the surety to the good jobs?
No,the thing is, for example, if a student comes to me I really don’t have anything concrete, I mean I can have a conversation and get an idea but I don’t have anything concrete in hands which gives me some kind of surety, I mean we all know that you could be a topper in your design class but if you don’t have communication skills then you are zero. So, for example, I have no technical knowledge but I proved myself to have the ability to communicate, so which opens so many opportunities for me and of course I am open to the idea of learning so along the way, this is my 26th year in business and I look and see how much I have learned I didn’t know anything when I launched, no cutting, no stitching no fabric because I never went to school so that’s why especially in today’s time its great if you are getting an opportunity to study because then you are not wasting your time, you have learnt, itsyou learn various things like for example if you want to make skinny pants then the formula is there apply it, so when you study, you learn new things, otherwiit’sjust shot in the dark you just don’t know. Even then young people have a huge problem, they fail to grasp everything, if you don’t want to assimilate 100% within you then the teacher can`t force it.
Most of the student from the field of fashion designing think that, due to heavy work assignment given by the college they don’t get enough time develop themselves. So what is your opinion on this?
This is very difficult for me to comment upon, because I don’t know what they teach but we all know that our education is like 100 years old. We are still sort of following what the Britishers have done. Also what happen is that people who formulate all these studies don’t really have a connect with the young people. So this is where the disparity comes, for example when your parent say something you realize that, they don’t know what they are talking about, you may not say it but you still think. So imagine here we are talking about two generation gap because whoever formulating it are like 60-70 year old while the people who are studying it are under 20s, so world is already gone ahead, a 20 year old is already for more exposed, the only thing they lacking is experience. In terms of information they are far more informed than a 60 year old, so all this creates a lot of confusion I mean for me I think more emphasis should be given on being an individual. For example if you come across a student of NIFT they have no ground reality because in NIFT they just push you to dream, dream and dream you can`t just be in dream you have to be in touch with the reality you have to learn to amalgamate both the two. On the other hand if you go to the Pearl Academy the whole emphasis is made on commercial viability and not so much on design, so different places gives different messages.
Most of the student from this field dream about starting their own label, so what according to you are the chances of success?
Well honestly speaking there maybe some chances or their may not be any chances. You may have great ideas but how to go about making those ideas to come to reality you have to be in touch of reality, now what happens is, when you are in a institute you are in such a protected atmosphere but in real world things are not like that you will have to create your own world and if you don’t know how to go about it you will not succeed . To start your own label you must have some fairly sound financial backing. So I will always recommend, you are young what is the hurry, first identify what you really what to do, you want to do men’s wear or women wear whatever it is, you can only know that once you are in business or once you are doing job. Most kid just think that they have passed from NIFT now they are officially a designer. But you have to keep on working, learn from the base and then hit the mountains, you are like a diamond you have to keep working you have to keep polishing yourself in order to shine. So don’t make audacious move just after the college, keep on learning and keep on working and you will shine.
What were the difficulties you faced when you started your own label?
I have had lots of difficult times, there we no work, no staff but that also taught me a lot of things for example if you are not getting the right people to work with, then you sort of compromise so what happens when your base is compromised , your output will also be compromised. Always look for right kind of persons to work with because your team is very essential for your success.
What is your message to those students who want to start their own label?
I will strongly recommend that make you foundation really strong, stop complaining about too much work, this is your choice, so just keep on working. I you are unhappy of doing something then you are doing wrong things. Just don’t do it. Only if you are happy then can you function and do something productive. And its also very important to be open to healthy criticism, you see creative people tend to be very sensitive which is fine but you have to be open, like somebody says Jatin Kochar is a bad designer then of course I am not gonna feel good about it but I don’t want to hear that statement I want to know why I am a bad designer, and also ideas and design are very subjective what I like you may not like and vice versa, so if someone points out that that your idea is not gonna work then don’t get disheartened because he may not like your idea its natural, its subjective. So, I have gone through various emotions in these 26 years and i have learnt to coexist with that difference. I mean some people might not like my design but at the same time there are people who are loving my design and buying it. So I have learnt to co exist with the difference and this trait is very helpful. So you have to learn to coexist with differences without being judgmental and that’s a very very big demand. I can not waste my energy in being judgmental because its not my job.
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