#MEETTHECREATIVE: RAGAMAN MENSWEAR CO-FOUNDER SAHIL CHAUDRY
Tell us how the entire RAGA brand started:
My family is originally from India but my brother and I are from Los Angeles. My father opened a clothing shop in Venice beach in 1976 and started his career by offering fashion from his Indian culture. Eventually he was inspired to craft his own pieces and became a fashion designer.
In 2012, my brother and I wanted to introduce a brand that would build a bridge between our heritage and our home in Los Angeles. RAGA, which means melody of color in Sanskrit, is a brand born in India and raised in Venice beach. We seek to celebrate the creative connections between these worlds and more broadly integrate the art work and style of the east and west.
When did RAGA 'MAN' launch & why was it started?
RAGA Man launched in August of 2017 at Project in Las Vegas. We launched our digital presence on April 1st with a film that we released on our Instagram page @theragaman. We produced the film to showcase the culture of RAGA Man and it was the result of a true creative collaboration amongst our friends. The film stars Blake Hardy, was directed by Bradley Calder and our Director of Photography was Josh Rottman.
In 2017, my father and I were on a design trip in Rajasthan and we were struck by the influence of traditional prints in Indian men's wear. Rajasthan, "the land of kings", is known for its rich history of regal prints developed by artisanal techniques that are rooted in generational wisdom. We created RAGA Man to serve as a continually evolving cultural bridge that unites east and west, traditional and contemporary, worldly and rooted.
As you approach ongoing collections, Where do you go for inspiration for RAGA Man?
We design each of our collections traveling back and forth between India and Los Angeles. Finding new ways to draw connections between these worlds with the talented artists we work with offers a vast source of inspiration.
Many emerging fashion brands today pride themselves on some measure of sustainability, is this a practice of RAGA man as well?
We are personally connected to our suppliers and select suppliers we that have a respect for sustainability, both environmentally and ethically.
Sahil, tell us about your journey and your position now at RAGA Man…
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and would travel frequently to India because of my father's work and to visit family. I was inspired by my father and so I started traveling with him on his design and production trips to India when I was in college. I liked the idea of working with my family in our business and I looked forward to the day I would join. But I wanted to get some experience independently first and cultivate my own point of view.
After college, I worked at a non-profit in rural Rajasthan through the Indicorps public service fellowship. The fellowship gave me the opportunity to work on a project I cared about and also introduced me to a state I would ultimately draw inspiration from for RAGA Man. After the fellowship ended, I went to law school and worked in the merger and acquisition group of a law firm in L.A. My experience in India had instilled in me a desire to bring India's artistic heritage into my world in Los Angeles. My family and I founded RAGA in 2012 and by 2015, I was working full time on RAGA.
In 2017, I became the brand director for RAGA Man and I work in that role today.
What’s your wish for the brand say 6 years from now?
My goal is for RAGA Man to serve as the foundation for a creative community that shares stories to connect our multi-cultural world.
Where can everyone find RAGA Man?
At the following retailers: https://www.theragaman.com
As told to Editor In Chief, Corey Guevarra
Los Angeles, CA