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#CNILux: Meet the Real Manish Arora

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /

Manish Arora with Suzy on the first day of the Condé Nast International Conference in Oman. Photo:

Manish Arora was in an honest mood at the first day of the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference in Oman. Charting his trajectory from unknown dreamer in India to a star of London Fashion Week, the designer told Suzy Menkes, “It was tough, but I did it.”

“I come from nowhere; I come from a family where I think my mother still doesn’t understand what I do,” he laughed. “In the history of my family, I am the first one ever to do anything. When I arrived in London for Fashion Week, I didn’t realise what a fashion PR was, what a stylist was – or anything else, indeed, that I needed for a show!”

No one who saw his joyous catwalk creations would realise this initial inexperience, as the young designer always had confidence in his ability and upbringing.

“When you are honest about what you do, people like you and come to you,” he smiled. “You have to make your own drive. You have to make what you want. If people don’t like it, there will be others that do. I am what I am. Indians are born strong; we get stuff done. You may be broke, but you will do it. It takes a lot of courage.”

This self-reliance also informs Arora’s marketing approach, the designer explained, especially when it comes to the red carpet.

“As much as I love India, I think the Bollywood red carpet is overrated,” he disclosed. “It’s a marketing strategy; they’re not wearing what they’re wearing because they want to. I dressed people, but they came to me because of what I had.”

There’s confidence and creativity in equal measure for Manish Arora today, and long may it continue.

Ingie Chalhoub in conversation with Suzy Menkes

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