From being introduced to Parikshat Wadhwani seven years back outside Nikhil Thampi’s stall in Lakme Fashion Week to recently meeting him at his Bandra flat, a lot has changed. A lot, except how quirky, fun and nonchalant he is. Obviously, like most of us there’s a certain level of confidence in him that can be counted as an after-effect of time (and experience). The founder and creative strategist behind PW PR & Brand Consulting can boast of far too many achievements for a 28-year-old — (first) being an entrepreneur, collaborating on a 10-piece collection with exclusive menswear fashion label Bo Square, styling for a theatrical production, being an image consultant, and more.
What catches one’s eye is his unconventional-yet-easy style. Ask him how people have gauged this aspect of his and the prompt is the answer, “I’ve heard things like ‘you look like sex on legs’ (awkward yet amazing) to even uncalled-for comments like ‘your style’s too gay’.” What’s noticeable is the fact that his spontaneity in fashion is what gives him an edge. We caught up with Parikshat, the guy, whose wardrobe is an unintentional mix of black and white, style is all about comfort, and who is a self-declared sock lover as he refuses to wear shoes without a pair. Excerpts from an interview…
1. From working as a PR executive to starting a PR & Brand Consultancy on your own, take us through the journey of being an entrepreneur.
I used to work in PR and later started taking up freelance gigs. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I bagged The Big Nasty as my first hospitality client (at the age of 23). Back then, a lot of publications, including Brown Paper Bag, labelled the brand as jinxed. Then, we won the ‘Best Bar Of The Year’ award, and things couldn’t get any better. I went on to signing up fashion clients…Nishka Lulla’s being my first account. Honestly, my journey has been both of ups and downs. But I have to say that the world has been kind to me. There was always a spark…and also, I am blessed.
2. When you moved from PR in hospitality to fashion, did you have a certain perception of how the fashion industry would be? Also, has that changed over time?
When I started five years ago, the industry was way different from how it is now. Back then, PR was all about traditional media. Now, PR has to do with branding, positioning, and even sales of products. As people, we’re more exposed and aware of things than ever before. So the industry also works very differently.
3. Given Fashion PR gets you to interact with big names from the industry, has the job profile helped evolve your style?
Our work as PR people is to position the brand in people’s minds. For that we have to be presentable… that comes with the job. It’s not about being good looking but about having a certain persona. Because when you’re building a brand, it is important to build a character to the brand as well.
4. Leaving the job aspect aside, how do you think your style has changed over the years?
I am a major consumer of fashion, and my style has definitely changed with time. That also has to do with the availability of fashion, which is now more than what it was a few years back. Earlier, there was less access to great fashion and even brands. Today, with the booming online fashion space, affordable price points, and easy access to high fashion, it is so simple to update one’s closet.
5. Where do you derive style inspiration from? Also, what your personal style is like?
I follow stylists but I don’t follow any street style bloggers. When I get a chance, I do flip through fashion magazines. But at the end of the day, what comes in the magazine is what I sell as a professional. So I actually notice trends and styles way before the customer does.
Outfits, to me, are just a layer of the persona. Dressing up is about how I feel. My personal style has a lot to do with how I feel on a particular day. It is very erratic and highly spontaneous.
6. How do you think has the fashion space changed for men?
Fashion was once female dominated, but now it has changed. There is enough exposure given to men, and we also have many options. Men are grooming themselves more than ever before. Also, thanks to Bollywood actors like Ranveer Singh, men are experimenting when it comes to fashion. Now is an era of people with opinions, and that shows through fashion as well. Fashion is a medium for self-expression, and it’s great.
7. The lines in fashion are blurring; there’s emphasis on gender neutrality. What’s your take on it?
Even while it’s blurring… I think lines in fashion are great. Keeping in mind certain men, I’m sure some people are comfortable with dressing a certain way. But, it’s also about how one carries it off. Men are seen in skirts and dresses… but as a nation, we aren’t accepting of these. India is not there yet.
8. Bags, shoes, watches… anything, in particular, that you love shopping for?
I love buying watches and shoes. I think a good shoe can really make or break the day, so it is important. Also, I know it will sound weird, but I am obsessed with how my hair must look. It has to be perfect because my mood generally depends on how great my hair is.