3 years

Open Minds 2016: Soft Power

Bibhu Mohapatra: Haute Styliste

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A sought-after designer in the US, he dresses not only Hollywood A-listers but also the likes of Michelle Obama

Before he left for Utah State University in the late 90s for a post-graduate degree, nothing was of greater interest than Economics to this small town boy from Rourkela in Odisha. Then his world changed. A professor encouraged him to focus on fashion design after he saw a few of his sketches, and Mohapatra found a new direction in life. Soon, he dropped out to chase a new calling— studying and designing clothes. As design director of top fashion labels Halston and J Mendel, he designed for the crème of American society, and by the time he started his own label in 2008, he was a name to reckon with. Now he is arguably the most sought-after designer of his tribe in the US, someone who dresses not only Hollywood A-listers but also the likes of Michelle Obama. The cultural influences of Odisha are apparent in his oeuvre.

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