For Mrunal Khimji, life has to be accepted the way it comes, with open arms, and a happy heart. What started as a vocation nine years ago, when she landed in Oman after her marriage, got transformed into one of the first and most prominent fashion houses in Oman.
Part of generation next, of the illustrious Khimji clan in Oman, the owner of Mrunal’s Boutique, has been redefining fashion trends in Muscat. Aiming to create a fashion buzz in the city, the designer keeps promoting international talents at her boutique, a venture that is closest to her heart. Mrunal is now up and ready with her next exhibition of ‘The Nawab Collection’ by Indian designer Aruna Pathreeker, at her boutique on September 27 and 28.
“We want to make every woman feel the most special on this planet,” says Mrunal. Hi Weekly met her for a tete-a-tete on her drive for fashion. Excerpts:
How did your affair with couture start?
My passion was born out of boredom. I was bored when, after marriage nine years ago, I came to a country entirely new to me in every sense, and I was looking for something to indulge myself in, to use my creativity.
Every place I ever moved to, I adapted accordingly to the requirements of that place. I realised couture culture had a vast scope in Oman, as there were hardly any design houses at that time. Initially I started with redesigning used garments which people were fed up and wanted to get rid of. And they really loved the results that I created. That’s where I started gaining popularity, and that’s how it all started.
My mom comes from the industry of handlooms. My roommate in New York during my college days was also a fashion designer, so I had always somehow remained connected to the field.
What makes Mrunal’s boutique different from the others?
Exclusivity. We make our clients feel unique, giving them the freedom of choice and innovation. The way we are different is that we have everything in-house, from hand embroiders to machine embroiders, all under one roof.
Customisation is the latest in-thing. The clients love to see, touch, and feel. It is like baking a fresh cake upfront. You feel tempted to eat more.
What is your idea of fashion?
Fashion is something you feel good in, and which brings confidence in you. A very personal choice, anything could be a fashion statement. My idea of fashion may not at all suit your taste, and vice versa.
Unfortunately sometimes we lack confidence, and start started idolising someone else in our lives instead of just being ourselves. We forget we are not exactly like the one we idolise, so we cannot look the same as he/she does in a garb. We tend to forget the reality. The dress should be according to you and not the other way around.
I think it is your attire that defines you, even before you are introduced to someone. It makes or breaks you. When people look at you, they first look at what you wear. And, unfortunately, people are very judgemental. Your attire talks a lot about yourself. So, be yourself, and dress right.
What keeps you going?
Every compliment or criticism I get inspires me to keep going and do even better. A person
who happened to visit the boutique, in its early days, wrote it off saying it is a good store but in my eyes you are going to shut in one year, because you are too early of your time. I was so happy that somebody wrote it, because that inspired me to do better.
Your biggest achievement so far?
The compliments I receive from my clients are my biggest achievement. Recently, when Manish Malhotra was here in Muscat to attend a fashion show, I was introduced to him by a common friend. During introduction she said to him, ‘though you are present here this evening, it is her dress I am wearing. She is my designer’. I was so humbled at the remark.
And Manish took it in such a sweet manner that I got emotional. That has been the biggest moment for me so far. Nothing makes me happier than to hear someone say I am wearing a Mrunal. Every piece of cloth we create is like our baby, we put our heart and soul into it, and when someone appreciates your effort, nothing else could replace that feeling.