ROHA SPEAKS

I find it incredibly necessary to go beyond the person. I need to know why they’re here and what they make of this earth. I need to ask them what they mean. And I need them to know that I want to know every little thing, dark and light, simple and complex, forgotten and cherished, insignificant and celebrated. What are we all if not a careful genesis of each other.

Speaking to Vibhuti Behl of ROHA, I get closer to all that she stands for.

What made you ROHA?

I have never known a greater love than the love of fabric. I grew up wearing a lot of organic clothing. I’ve always been interested and insistent on being environmentally friendly. Starting something on my own was inevitable. I spent hours and hours devouring the Sanskirt Dictionary. The name I chose to represent the life I chose had to be Sanskrit. ROHA means ‘to rise’. It made sense. It was beautiful. ROHA could be you. ROHA could be me.

Where would you be if you had decided to follow the norm?

I studied Economics and Finance. I’d be dead as a Banker. My soul would be dead by now. I wouldn’t be me.

What fabric does ROHA depend on?

Everything organic and hand printed. Everything that relies on the skill of the hand. Any living, breathing fabric that has a story to tell.

What’s the most underrated Indian tradition?

Wearing the bindhi. There’s magic and power in it. The bindhi on a woman makes for another kind of intensity. I wear it all the time.

Designer Vibhuti Behl
Designer Vibhuti Behl

There are too many designers…

Selling themselves out too quickly. Curating instead of designing. Imitating instead of imagining. Aimless story telling. Intentionally forgetting to allow their personalities to come through in their designs.

The one beautiful thing in the world today

The artisans and their family traditions — traditions of art being passed from one generation onto the other. It’s the fuzziest feeling in the world. A little boy, all of 10, sees his father and picks up his trade subconsciously. To him print and block colours is akin to skin. There is nothing that is more beautiful than the family tradition of the artisan.

Favourite word.

Damp. It always leaves me with a cosy feeling. My favourite book is ‘God of small things’ and the mood of the book is captivating. The mood is damp.

Your drug.

Smell of fresh Indigo. And LSD.

If not Bombay, then?

A quaint town away from everywhere.

Beach or mountains?

Both. I need to layer myself and at the same time, I love how I feel in front of the ocean. Small and alive.

Today or tomorrow?

Who knows of tomorrow.

What’s the wildest (aspirational) dream you’ve ever had?

Everyone covered in ROHA- top to toe — bindhi and all. Divine moments of fashion — flowers and moghras. Everyone walks out with magic in them.

Lift-me-up-give-me-hope-quote?

“What better time than now” — Rage against the machine

Style to you is…

Easy peasy Japanesy”

Team Ikkivi 2015

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