Wendell Rodricks

Back to homepage

Should we call him an activist or an open-minded writer or a minimalistic designer, whatever you say, he is brilliant in them all. The man who wears many hats and looks good in all of them. Popularly quoted as ‘The guru of minimalism’, Wendell Rodricks is amongst the rare designers infatuated with Indian fashion. His designs are inspired by ancient India and has catered to the fashion needs of esteemed personalities namely Catherine Deneuve, Meg Ryan, Lisa Ray and Freida Pinto. Wendell’s honesty and hardwork has helped him to portray Goa, his ancestral land, on the global fashion map. An epicurean, a travel addict, a voracious reader, an art appreciator, and a talented designer, Wendell has many awards to his name; one of them being India’s fourth highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri by The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee for Art (Fashion Design) in the year 2014.

1. What is your brand all about?

Fashion hands down! Wendell Rodricks – the brand – began its journey from Goa until it reached its destination called recognition. For me, Wendell Rodricks is not just a brand, but a  fashion statement one identifies with. “Today, it has taken me places and made me a celebrity. I am glad that my sense of style is out there in the industry and well received.”

2. What inspires you to come out with a design?

To my luck, there’s no dearth of inspiration in my life. Nature, history, travel, visual references, music, art …anything with serious emotion motivates me. If I come across a building or a hotel or a park for that matter, some imaginations flash through my mind and I capture them in my sketchbook, my favourite companion.

3. Can anyone design? What role does formal education play?

Anyone with flair for creativity and most importantly interest can design. But to excel, one needs a formal training at a college or under a seasoned designer. I also feel knowledge in some subjects like History of Art and History of World and Costume History provides a base to create original designs and not do what has been done before.

4. How do you build your brand?

Frankly, I don’t. Over the years, it has built itself as it has a core philosophy in fashion. We do not have a PR department or an agency; nor do we advertise. The main reason behind not marketing ourselves is that if we did any of the mentioned activity, we would have been just like all the other brands…marketing machines with not much soul. This is the most special thing about Wendell Rodricks, the brand.

5. How do you make sure your label sticks?

I don’t do this honestly. As I discussed, I don’t believe in advertising. For me, the public that buy ‘Wendell Rodricks’ do. Because it is only when people like your brand, then they are loyal to it and promote it through word-of-mouth. The quality, style and comfort which my label provides them ensure that my label sticks.

6. Do you have to be good looking to be inspired to be a designer?

I am not going to dismiss good looks. In fact, let me be frank. It DOES matter. Look at Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren. They sell their looks and their products. The real charm of any label is reflected from its maker itself. Ugliness doesn’t affect quality or beauty of creations but it just doesn’t connect.

7. How many collections in a year?

Basically two, but many a times other shows are scheduled in between. So one can account for two or three collections. I would say six complete collections and six filler collections for the stores per year. When it comes to collections, the quantity is not important but quality is. So, be it any number of collections, all that makes a difference is flamboyance and appeal.

8. How do you define a collection?

A collection is always at the core of whatever I do. It’s the only way I bring my imagination to life. I find beauty in them and wish there could be more of such collections as I progress.  For me a collection is about 60 looks. Forty odd make it through the edit to ramp. For fillers, I do twenty pieces; mainly uppers, dresses, gowns.

9. In how many countries can you be found?

“Mera Bharat Mahan”; only in India. I cannot let go of the place which gave me a platform to rise and be known. I am happy being here in India. But yes, we don’t limit ourselves to our boundaries; we make our collection available for people across borders. We invite orders from overseas that can be delivered in India.

10. How many staff do you have?

Staff? How will this change any brand? For me, the staff count doesn’t affect my brand’s performance. When I can single-handley design what I want, I can easily get it done from the staff or any other source for that matter. In any case in today’s world, where we can outsource, this question has no relevance.

11. How do you control the quality of your design?

Designing is one thing and quality another. If your designs are great but quality is not up to the mark, your label is doomed. So, yes, meeting quality standards is essential to any label. Like, everyone else, I too have someone who takes care to see that every piece created is met with precision and flawless quality.

12. Does your design team adhere to a certain set of rules of design?

I don’t have a design team. I do not work with interns or assistants because I feel I will lose the soul of the collection. One can easily spot clothes made by assistants and those conceived by the designer same for accessories and stylists who put together a look. You look at Chanel and know that the entire look hasn’t come out of Karl’s head.

13. Wearability or desirability what is more important in any creation

One must create desirability via wearability and vice versa. They are inversely proportional to each other. It’s only when desires occur, than the need to wear appears. And once you experience wearability, there’s again desirability. So wearability and desirability both are fundamental.

14. Imagination is different from reality, all bodies are not in model shapes, is your collection only for the film stars and the models?

Not at all. Of course, film stars and zero-figure models are my clientele, but that doesn’t stop others to buy my label. It is very much for others as well – be it any figure and shape. In fact we cater to sizes called Voluptuous and Voluptuous Goddess. I refuse to call women L and XL. A figure has nothing to do with a woman’s beauty.

15. How do you accommodate the normal people?

Quite easily. Because I sell ‘Wendell Rodricks’ to the average Indian woman and man who are doing well in their respective fields and celebs in their own sense. Celebs and stars are welcome. But they form less than 1% of sales. So you know my collection is open for everyone who loves fashion from the bottom of their heart.

16. Who handles your social media, do you have any involvement?

Social Media is something that fascinates me. Because in a day, I come across so many people who might not visit my store but undoubtedly meet here on social platforms. It’s good to hear from them and to know what they look forward to from ‘Wendell Rodricks’. So I do my own social media, and my Manager controls the Wendell Rodricks Clothing part.

17. Who designed your logo, was it a sketch from you or a beauty contest by graphic designers for you to choose from?

No. There’s no one involved in the making of my logo. I believe, no one can better reflect your name than you yourself. This is the reason, I designed my own logo. It is my handwriting in a signature format. I am the closest to my brand and hence I chose to design it myself rather than getting it designed by top designers from the industry.

18. How many fashion shows do you participate in?

As many as twelve a year? Maybe more or less. For any label, a ramp is no less than a ladder to success. Who would not want to be there? I can’t stay without being featured on the ramp simply because I would want people to know about my new work. So any number of fashion shows is no problem for me.

19. Define your market share in percentages between – the high class socialites, Hollywood / Bollywood, the normal public, etc.

We are a company that believes in fashion democracy, we don’t care if you are a star or a student client. We exercise complete freedom and believe in providing fashion trends to anyone and everyone. Why would we restrict our collection to a specific target group when there are so many connoisseurs of fashion around.

20. What happens to last years’ collections?

Touch wood and thank God, we don’t have dead stock. What does not sell (revealing ramp garments) we recycle. Raise the necklines, lower the hemlines and sell them.

21. Do you have a brand CI to police your exposure?

No. But I do control where we are sending clothes for editorials. Only if we know the stylist or the magazine we do send clothes for shoots. I have been controlling my images myself since 27 years. You will not see a bad WR garment image.

22. How would you describe your creations? Indo western, Traditional, Modern, Eclectic or World culture?

Indo-International. Since I hail from Goa, India, my creations would always be inspired by Indian culture. I know the beauty of Indian culture lies in Indian attire and I respect that. Hence, I have the touch of India in every creation of mine. But to cater to the international market, I twist my creations and make it indo-international.

23. How do you make sure you remain relevant in today’s design landscape?

The answer is simple – by listening to the client. It’s not always the trend that runs the show, but many times clients do. After all, we are there because they need designer clothes that suit their personality. We create outfits they want us to. So in a way, I am always streamlined with the design landscape you are talking about.

24. How do you control your stress levels once a collection is done?

I forget it and look to the next one to evolve from the previous season. In our field, focus and accuracy is very vital. If I keep thinking about the previous collection or sit basking in the glory of the last show, it’s not going to add any value to my upcoming collection/show. With every new collection, I work with a fresh mind.

25. Your favorite quote or saying that is your life’s philosophy for business and personal, something that keeps you motivated to achieve the limits.

In everyone’s life there’s a time when they are shots of inspiration. And I am no exception. Whenever I need my bouts of inspiration, I always sing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. It keeps me flying up there and gets me going. I feel great again and buckle up for the next task in hand and design on mind.

Wendell Rodricks