Trompe L’oeil … It’s no Illusion

Rajitha Prakruthi is originally from India, with degrees in computer science and engineering.  Her creative side pushed her to pursue higher education in fashion design at FIDM.  I recently had the chance to sit down and pick her brain a bit and was eager to hear how she is applying the artistic term for illusion “trompe l’oeil” to high fashion.  Her passion and innovation were immediately apparent.  I then had the chance to see her show at the recent Voila fashion event, and, like many, was amazed at her work.  What I wasn’t amazed by was that she took first place in the competition that day.  (Full disclosure, I was one of the judges, but still!)  Here is a shot from that day, please enjoy our interview below.

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FnJ:  So, first I must ask, with a background like yours, what made you want to dive into the fashion business?  What was your inspiration?

I am a fashion designer by profession and an artist by passion. As an artist, I adore modern art based on visual illusion. Some classic masterpieces such as those by Rob Gonsalves mesmerised me. I could connect to the concepts and perceive different stories in each of them. Art is the bridge between one’s inner self and the outside world. It is through art that one can express the depth of his/ her thoughts, emotions and feelings to the world in the most effective manner.  In today’s world, people are perceived by their presentation, a prime factor being their sense of fashion. So, as a designer and an artist, I felt conceptual designs are the best means to blend art and fashion. By incorporating artwork as designs in apparels, we can create a contemporary fashion statement that can make fashion more meaningful and valuable. In simple terms, the new fashion statement is to wear your personality.

FnJ:  At its core, what is Trompe L’oeil as a brand and as a company?

Trompe L’oeil is not just a brand name or a company, it is a contemporary fashion statement with an objective to create designs that reflect the souls of the people who wear them. Trompe L’oeil is a perfect fusion of modern art and fashion, with a belief that fashion is not just about the outfit you wear but about the statement it makes.

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FnJ:  What challenges have you faced in turning your creative talents into a functioning business?

Talent and business are two separate entities and connecting them effectively is itself a challenge. As a fashion designer, my passion is to create and present unique products. But as an entrepreneur, I have faced challenges in terms of budgeting and promotion of the business. Sometimes, it is also challenging to receive the necessary support and acceptance by the targeted audience.

FnJ:  What resources have you found helpful in this effort, and are there others you wish were available?

Business consultants, school networks, fashion shows and fashion related events, social media and PR professionals have all been helpful resources. I wish there were easier and more effective means to obtain substantial support for fashion projects, in terms of sponsorships and promotions.

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FnJ:  Our readers are likely very curious about the concept of Trompe L’oeil and how you weave fashion and art using this idea.

The concept of Trompe L’oeil is to convert modern art into digitally printable designs on the apparels. This way, each piece is not just just an outfit but a masterpiece of classic artwork.

FnJ:  Any words of wisdom for someone looking to follow your footsteps and get into this business?

In the fashion industry, you should be uniquely talented to create a piece of art and to grow. Dedication and passion towards what you love is a must. While following your dreams, you should also be open to honest feedback. At each sunrise, you should wake up with a greater zeal to bring your dreams to reality.

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FnJ:  What are your favorite, and least favorite, parts of your business?

My favorite part of my business is the opportunity to learn new things about current trends everyday, the connection with other talented designers and developing the potential to grow by learning from them. My least favorite part of the business is the misuse of various forms of resources in pursuit of success in business.

FnJ:  Where do you see the industry in 5-10 years?

As a designer, I would like to see a more pragmatic approach to fashion, rather than considering it as just new designs or outfits. I strongly feel that new trends should present new values, not just new clothing. This is the reason I feel the industry should proceed in the direction of conceptual designing.

Factually, the growth potential of e-commerce is estimated to be significantly high over the next 5 years. Owing to the consistent growth and dependence on technology, and the busy routine of people, online shopping is expected to gain further importance. The fashion industry is also observed to evolve through generations and has a remarkable growth potential over the coming years.

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FnJ:  What’s coming up for Trompe L’oeil and how can Fashion InJunction readers get involved?  

Trompe L’oeil aims to launch its first fall-winter collection this year. We also plan to launch a philanthropic project for which we will be glad to receive support in terms of monetary contributions or through promotion of the project, the details of which are available on Kickstarter at:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1292273511/trompe-loeil