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Raghavendra Rathore on designing BSF camel contingent uniform for Republic Day

In interview with ‘Lounge’, the designer talks about the process and the inspiration behind the clothes created for Mahila Prahari

The uniform for the women of the BSF Camel Contingent has been designed by Raghavendra Rathore. (ANI Picture Service)

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For the first time, the famed BSF Camel Contingent will see its women contingent riding beside the male counterparts at the Republic Day on 26 January.

The BSF Camel Contingent has been a part of the Republic Day celebrations since 1976.

The uniforms for the women contingent, or the Mahila Prahari, have been designed by Raghavendra Rathore. He's incorporated sartorial and cultural elements of India’s history while creating the iconic RR bandhgala. The functionality and practicality of outfits was of utmost priority, says the designer.

Also read: Raghavendra Rathore: I want them to be a visionary, not just a pattern-master

In an interview with Lounge, the designer talks about the uniform and the design process behind it. Edited excerpts:

The uniform sketch by Rathore
The uniform sketch by Rathore (ANI Picture Service)

What was the inspiration behind the designs? Could you illustrate how different parts of the creation pay homage to the culture and traditions of the country while celebrating the RR aesthetic?

We have used indigenous fabric suitable for all weathers. The design is inspired from the BSF’s legacy and is based on restrain and subtlety, which resonated with the Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur’s brand ethos. The key consideration was to ensure that women and men are seen from the same lens. The principal design is inspired by the bandhgala, handcrafted details, surface textures and techniques have been created and used from various parts of the country.

Functionality is at the core of the uniforms. Could you explain how you have brought style and comfort together in these pieces?

While conceiving and visualising what can work for the Mahila Praharis regiment while riding a camel, it became clear to me that functionality and comfort were key.

The base fabric has a texture that has been highlighted with various trims of hand-crafted zardosi work, especially created in Benaras with the age-old danka technique to add a touch of elegance. To complement and complete the look, the headgear is a striking pagh (turban) inspired by the pagh of Rajasthan's Mewar region. It is an essential element highlighting the cultural significance, honour and valour.

Is this the first time you've made a uniform design?

Over the past few years, we have specialised in high-end uniform design for corporates and institutions, like Jio World Centre, and hotels like ITC, Imperial hotel, Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur, and Claridges. The brand now has the propensity to be one of the top uniform design services globally, making it a one-stop shop for complicated uniforms.

Also read: Raghavendra Rathore designs uniforms for the Republic Day parade

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