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In A Conversation with Swagat Ranjan, Founder at Runway Fashion Management

Swagat Ranjan is one of the top professional catering the ever flourishing fashion industry in India. Taking the level of modelling sector up while bridging the gap between common man’s perception about fashion, he has contributed in every manner. Just like all success tales, Swagat didn’t have a cakewalk to where he is now. The HimalayanBuzz team got a chance to have a candid conversation about his journey so far.

First of all, tell us about your education, family background and childhood?

Basically, I am from Cuttack. I did my primary education in Cuttack only. Being studious as a child, my parents wanted me to be CA. During my early life, though fashion attracted me, I rarely got a chance to indulge in related activities.

You came to Delhi to pursue CA then what brought you to the fashion industry?

Since childhood, the world of fashion fascinated me. The glamour and panache of models, the fame that followed, paparazzi and the influential personalities, it was all magic to me. I was interested in pageants and collected newspaper cuttings of Miss India!

When I moved to Delhi I started searching photographers, models and designers on social media. Later I got some contacts and this is how I started.

What were the major challenges you faced in your initial days in the industry?

It’s not so easy to make your place in this industry. Especially as a model coordinator, in the times of social media, DM, where you can reach anyone it’s tough to sell your service for the same. But the quality of models I provided to clients and made sure my models got good treatment in return, not facing any kind of misbehaviour won the trust of both parties.

Although there were few people, who bullied and threatened me because I was not ready to accept their way of working and their supremacy. So, it was not so easy but with a positive attitude, I continue to date.

Do your parents accept your career choice?

No, they didn’t initially especially my father. My mother had a soft corner for the fashion industry she was a little bit aware about the things. But my father was totally against my decision with the negative perception of the fashion world. He always wanted me to see doing a white-collar job.

Why your father was so against this career option?

Because he wasn’t aware of fashion just like any other middle class or small town man of his age. He was not at fault at all. I still remember around 10 years back there were no designers in Bhubaneshwar, fashion show meant public entertainment where girls wore short clothes and people around with lecherous gaze.

The society has long held on a negative image of the fashion industry. People equate immodesty and vulgarity with fashion. Major fashion weeks in India have couture collections. Most designers make their collection based on ethnic wear. And there are some people who drink and smoke be it fashion or, bank school or any firm and it’s their rightful choice! But now my father meets my models and other friends of industry.

What is the best thing about working in the fashion industry?

In the fashion industry, we get the opportunity to travel, we stay and enjoy 4-5 stars parties, meet new people every day. That’s is not possible in any 9-5 job. How many people do you know who work in IT firms and travel twice a week to a new destination?

What would be the one thing you want to change in this industry?

Not in the industry but I really want to change the perception about fashion industry among common people. Things are changing amongst the young generations and many of them are following their passion. Yet there is a huge gap between the reality of fashion and common man’s thoughts.

What are the major differences in the fashion industry of India and western countries?

There is a huge difference and it’s obvious. They started fashion weeks 50 years ago. For us its just a decade old thing. In India, people only know those people who come on the silver screen. Models are paid more but they yearn for fame and then move to acting. That way we lose the uniqueness of our industry.

As per you what quality should Girl/Boy have to be model?

I’m not going to sugar coat, fact is, it’s not easy to be a model. Just like any other profession, you need to put your 100%. Contrary to what most think, that arrogance, superiority complex, dry behaviour rather be patient and down to earth. Arrogant or people with bad temperament cannot survive in the industry.

What are your upcoming plans?

Earlier I was working as a freelancer, now I have started my own company, based in Delhi only. Its been two years now. So my plan is to expand it and make it bigger.

Any suggestion for newcomers?

Nothing much, just be yourself, and have a positive attitude and needless to say ‘work hard’.

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