Creative and romantic with a modern globally relevant sensibility, deep respect for tradition and sustainable ethics… these elements describe fashion designer Rohit Bal, who Time in its Special Report on India profiled as 'India's Master of fabric and fantasy.'
Hailing from Kashmir and settled in New Delhi, India Rohit Bal completed his formal education before stoking his passion. On graduating from St. Stephen’s Delhi with a degree in history, he learnt the craft at NIFT. Beginning his professional life at his brother’s export house, he launched his label in ’90 which encapsulated couture, ready to wear, accessories, fragrance and, most recently, a denim line.
Theatricality is the name of Bal’s game. His most iconic showing was preceded with a dramatic presentation by a dance troupe whose leader dressed as Lord Krishna. The electrifying experience tapped into a sense of feeling the land, of imbibing tradition… and charged the show as models walked the runway in his collection. In another season, his guests were awestruck by the haunting beauty of the creative presentation—it’s not every day the a luxury hotel witnesses supermodels taking a bow with the designer, inside the swimming pool! The experience was inclusive of the craftsmanship, the element of fantasy, the energy of youth. And, who can forget male models on his catwalk with sindoor in their maang as a tribute to the secure alpha man?! Whoa!
Although he makes his mastery of the craft appear effortless, integral to Bal’s aesthetic is juxtaposition between traditional textile craft, Kashmir hand embroideries and modern design sensibility, working in collaboration with rural weavers. Per Pernia's Pop-Up: “Taking inspiration from history and folklore art, Rohit Bal uses Lotus and Peacock motifs in a lot of his designs. The two omnipresent motifs have become his signature style, and are intricately featured…” Bal is also very popular for joining hands with sewing machine brand Usha Silai to design a collection stitched by craftswomen from Kashmir and all profits from the sales of this collection were given to the underprivileged craftswomen.
While each of them got mentored by Bal and the opportunity to understand craft techniques, silhouettes and fit, their life-transforming takeaway was financial empowerment. Per Hindu, he said, ”The emotional strength of this collection is where its uniqueness lies. The fact that Kashmiri women artisans are living in the middle of a war zone, yet they’ve made such exquisite pieces within a stipulated period, that too in freezing weather, speaks for their skills and hard work.”
He is not just a creative powerhouse. Bal revealed his business acumen with diversification and collaborations, to strengthen his brand equity. The designer launched restaurant chain ‘Veda’ and fine dining ‘Cibo’. He further diversified into Rohit Bal Luxury Weddings and forged alliances with conglomerates and brands including Omega, Aditya Birla Group, Chivas Regal, Mitsubishi, Hidesign, Reid and Taylor, Titan, Oriflame, Mitsubishi Outlander, Windproof Zippo Lighter and several others.
On the global fashion landscape, Rohit Bal inked a creative collaboration with Christian Louboutin and Lancôme and is an ambassador for Omega. “These collaborations are not limited to me being a public face of the brand. It involves utilising my ideas to create a certain look for the product,” he says.
Rohit Bal has held fashion shows in London, Paris, New York, Singapore, Moscow, Jakarta, Colombo, Sao Paulo, Munich, Geneva and India… and is brimming with creative ideas for his next collection. So it doesn't come as a surprise that his clientele includes India’s A-list set, Uma Thurman, Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell. Sadly, however, Rohit Bal was fighting for his life in Medanta Hospital in Delhi, India in late November 2023. The fashion designer was on the ventilator with a pre-existing cardiac condition but is recovering now and will be back at work shortly.
Marrying traditional patterns and craftsmanship with modern sensibilities.. Rohit Bal is best known for spectacular construction in his couture and ready to wear.
To design modern globally relevant collections steeped in ancient handcrafted textile tradition and sustainable ethics. Rohit Bal believes the he has stayed relevant in Indian fashion because he stays true to his tradition-rooted design philosophy rather than showcasing transient trends. And often refers to himself as a traditionalist. Per Vogue: "The designer's ability to portray his poetic vision is of a rare kind, his theatrical productions on the runway eliciting goosebumps. His love for Kashmir has a special place in his heart, and that eventually comes out by way of his craft."
Rohit Bal (Founder)
Recognition and Awards
Products and Services
Couture and ready to wear for men and women. Some of Rohit Bal's iconic designs include the sherwani- bandhgala- shawls- bundi and tuxedo for men and the saris- lehengas and anarkalis for women. Balance by Rohit Bal is the pret line which retails dresses- kurtas- anarkalis and shirts.
- Official website Rohit Bal
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- Brand History Rohit Bal
- How does Rohit Bal celebrate 25 years of his label? Vogue
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- Rohit Bal at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer 2019 Vogue
- Rohit Bal at India Couture Week 2018 Vogue
- India Couture Week 2016 Indian Express
- Rohit Bal to design Big B's outfits for KBC Hindustan Times
- Fashion designer Rohit Bal critical Business Times
- Khadi does the catwalk Hindu
- India’s Fashion ‘Bad Boy’ Bangkok Post
Rohit Bal (Founder)
Fashion and Textiles