Wajahat Rather

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Wajahat Rather
Born Anantnag, Kashmir
Education National Institute of Design (NID), Nottingham Trent University, UK
Awards Gold Medal in Fine Arts (Jammu University)

Wajahat Hussain Rather is a Kashmiri fashion and textile designer known for his label, Raffughar.[1][2]

Early life and education

Wajahat Rather was born and raised in Kashmir.[3]. While still growing up, he developed interest in painting and design.[4].

Wajahat Rather studied Fine Arts and graduated with a gold medal in Painting from the Jammu University.[5][6] He later did his post graduate studies in Textile Design at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad and earned his MA in Fashion and Textiles from Nottingham Trent University, UK.[7]


Wajahat Rather joined the Craft Development Institute, Srinagar, for a final year project where he worked with the master soznikars of Kashmir.[8]. He later created his clothing brand named Raffughar in 2013.[9] In his initial works, he experimented with Pashmina stoles and Namda rugs. The domain of his label’s offerings was later extended to Apparel.[10][11][12]

Wajahat Rather exhibited his women’s wear collection Qurbat at the India Fashion Week|Lotus India Fashion Week in October 2018.[13] As a collection that draws its inspiration from the Pinjarakari craft, the central elements focused on formations of intricate geometric patterns, which were made using screens of interwoven laths.[14]

Wajahat Rather's Fashion Show at FDCI's ELLE First Cut, 2018

Rather's Tarakhmaal collection for spring/summer 2019 was featured in Pool Magazine.[15] He also produced a recent collection titled ‘‘Hakeemo - The Healer’’ which is an initiative to repurpose textile waste and use upcycled fabric.[16]

In 2020, Vogue India and other media platforms named Raffughar among top five emerging fashion brands of India.[17][18][19][20][21][22],

Wajahat Rather was a former lecturer at the Northern India Institute of Fashion Technology, Mohali. [23] He later joined the Institute of Design, State University of Performing And Visual Arts at Rohtak, as one of the founder faculties.[24] He is currently an Associate Professor at Pearl Academy, New Delhi.[25][26][27]

Design Philosophy

Mens wear collection "Dastawaiz" (2018)

Wajahat Rather’s design philosophy revolves around blending traditional silhouettes and contemporary designs. His work epitomizes his belief in the use of a collaborative and synergistic approach to design. Apparently, his work translates from the demographic and ethnographic study of Kashmir [28]. Having branches in Kashmir, Raffughar attempts to establish a link between urban markets and small craft-based producers. Raffughar personifies his love for the crafts and textiles of Kashmir - his home [29].

The famous darners of Kashmir are the inspiration behind Raffughar. The literal meaning of ‘raffugar’ is a healer of damaged cloth. Therefore, the association of a raffugar with damaged cloth goes beyond just restoration. A raffugar connects with the cloth at a historical and emotional level. ‘It is like mending relationships—connecting the past with the present’. Wajahat’s Raffughar is a global brand that is finely connected to its roots with the vision to stay truthful to the aesthetics that shape it. It will be a fair-trade sustainable brand, carving a niche for itself in the ‘gender-equality’ market [30], not just for clients but also as a means of providing sustenance to people they work with irrespective of their gender or orientation.

Wajahat Rather’s work ideology truly focuses on paying attention to details. Through Raffughar, he concretizes his focus on production model and designs that are environmentally conscious, minimizing fabric waste by producing only small batches.

Traditionalism and Sustainable Evolution of Crafts

Wajahat Rather’s initiatives takes into consideration the traditional sensibilities of crafts of India. He believes that traditional crafts such as hand techniques are sophisticated and have evolved with time. Thus, a strategic direction is required for contemporarizing them. His work focuses on admiring and accepting the limitations of crafts and embracing the imperfection and simplicity that are fundamentally a part of their existence. Wajahat also intends to revive the natural processes of craft-making and associated traditionalism in view of the contemporary global markets, advocating the notion of DNC - Design, Nature and Crafts - to yield a meaningful whole.

Awards and Distinction

  • Fashion Show (2018): Debut at FDCI’s presents ELLE First Cut where he presented his womens wear collection “Qurbat” [31].
  • Mens wear Popup (2018): A man for all seasons, Good Earth, New Delhi showcased his mens wear collection ‘’Dastawaiz’’ [32][33][34][35][36][37][38]
  • Exhibition (2016): International Innovative Craft Fair, Bangkok
  • Gold Medal (2014): Fine Arts, Jammu University


  1. "Designer Wajahat Rather on his clothing label Raffughar and Kashmiri syncretism". 23 September 2019. https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/fashion/view-from-the-valley-kashmir-designer-wajahat-rather-raffughar-6018869/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  2. "View From the Valley | BINJ.IN". https://binj.in/fashion/view-from-the-valley/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  3. "Kaschmir-Konflikt in Indien - Radikalisierung von Hindus und Muslimen" (in de-DE). https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/kaschmir-konflikt-in-indien-radikalisierung-von-hindus-und.979.de.html?dram:article_id=464780. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  4. KL, Team; Sato, T. (12 August 2014). "Kashmir Lit". http://www.kashmirlit.org/wajahat/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  5. "Fashioning gender neutral clothes" (in en). 5 June 2019. https://marigolddiary.com/2019/06/05/fashioning-gender-neutral-clothes/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  6. "Retelling Stories From The Past" (in en). https://www.magzter.com/article/Art/POOL/Retelling-Stories-From-The-Past. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  7. "Young Designer :: Student Detail >>". http://www.nid.edu/youngdesigners/archive/yd09/StudentDetail.php?sid=NDk=&_p_=37. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  8. "Wajahat Rather started Raffughar as a tribute to the traditional darners of Kashmir, to contemporize the ancient craft techniques of his home state". https://www.indipool.com/wajahat-rather-started-raffughar-as-a-tribute-to-the-traditional-darners-of-kashmir-to-contemporize-the-ancient-craft-techniques-of-his-home-state/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  9. "Designer Wajahat Rather on his clothing label Raffughar and Kashmiri syncretism". 22 September 2019. https://motsa.tv/designer-wajahat-rather-on-his-clothing-label-raffughar-and-kashmiri-syncretism/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  10. "Recreating the Fabric of Kashmir". http://platform-mag.com/fashion/recreating-the-fabric-of-kashmir.html. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  11. "DesignXDesign". http://designxdesign.net/?p=4540. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  12. "Cool Weaves". https://www.newindianexpress.com/magazine/2018/dec/09/cool-weaves-1908147.html. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  13. "Fashion Show". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tACYYnwJW-w. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  14. Tripathi, Devika (15 October 2018). "Inclusivity And Preservation Of Culture Was The Theme Of This Label At India Fashion Week 2018" (in en). https://www.boldsky.com/fashion/trends/raffughar-s-collection-at-india-fashion-week-2018-126228.html. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  15. "POOL 108" (in en). https://issuu.com/poolmagazine/docs/pool108_for_preview. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  16. "Wajahat Rather Course Leader - Textile Design" (in en). https://pearlacademy.com/academics/faculty/school-of-fashion/wajahat-rather/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  17. "5 emerging fashion brands that should be on your radar right now" (in en-IN). https://www.vogue.in/fashion/content/emerging-fashion-brands-that-should-be-on-your-radar-right-now-torani-ithr-poochki. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  18. "These Are The New Labels We're Currently Loving" (in en). https://www.grazia.co.in/fashion/these-are-the-new-labels-were-currently-loving-4148-3.html. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  19. Chodankar, Maithili (28 September 2019). "5 UPCOMING DESIGNERS IN 2019". http://elanstreet.com/blog/5-upcoming-designers-2019/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  20. "Cool emerging Indian labels that help you make fashion-forward choices". 19 March 2020. https://www.lifestyleasia.com/ind/style/cool-indian-emerging-labels-you-need-to-know-about/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  21. "Emerging Indian designers to know about ::". https://www.misskyra.com/fashion/emerging-indian-designers-to-know-about/photostory/66803604.cms. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  22. "5 emerging Indian designers you should know". https://elle.in/article/5-emerging-indian-designers-to-watch/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  23. "Prospectus". http://www.niiftindia.com/prospectus-2010.pdf. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  24. "College-Rohtak". http://www.punjabcolleges.com/62033-indiacolleges-State-Institute-of-Fashion-Design-Rohtak/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  25. "Now, clothes from discarded cassette reels". 30 September 2014. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/now-clothes-from-discarded-cassette-reels/articleshow/43904525.cms. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  26. "Junk Funk! - Indian Express". http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/junk-funk-/534650/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  27. "Laureate Student Perspectives - Ashita Singal, Pearl Academy– 2018 Global James Mcguire Competition Winner". 21 January 2019. https://www.laureate.net/laureate-student-perspectives-ashita-singal-pearl-academy-2018-global-james-mcguire-competition-winner/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  28. "View From the Valley | BINJ.IN". https://binj.in/fashion/view-from-the-valley/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  29. "Designer Wajahat Rather on his clothing label Raffughar and Kashmiri syncretism". 22 September 2019. https://motsa.tv/designer-wajahat-rather-on-his-clothing-label-raffughar-and-kashmiri-syncretism/. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  30. "Cool Weaves". https://www.newindianexpress.com/magazine/2018/dec/09/cool-weaves-1908147.html. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  31. "Inclusivity And Preservation Of Culture Was The Theme Of This Label At India Fashion Week 2018" (in en-IN). https://in.style.yahoo.com/inclusivity-preservation-culture-theme-label-083423992.html. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  32. "Your bridal trousseau needs a Kashmiri twist - Times of India" (in en). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/fashion/designers/your-bridal-trousseau-needs-a-kashmiri-twist/articleshow/67041442.cms. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  33. "Good Earth". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BVF4SsXNHo. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  34. "Good Earth Launches its First Menswear Pop-up" (in en). https://thevoiceoffashion.com/fabric-of-india/news/good-earth-launches-its-first-menswear-popup-981. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  35. August 3, Press Trust of India; August 3, Press Trust of India; Ist, Press Trust of India. "Kashmiri boatman to the lazy lad: How sustainable fashion is styling the everyday man" (in en). https://www.indiatoday.in/pti-feed/story/kashmiri-boatman-to-the-lazy-lad-how-sustainable-fashion-is-styling-the-everyday-man-1304074-2018-08-03. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  36. India, Press Trust of (3 August 2018). "Kashmiri boatman to the lazy lad: How sustainable fashion is styling the everyday man". https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/kashmiri-boatman-to-the-lazy-lad-how-sustainable-fashion-is-styling-the-everyday-man-118080300279_1.html. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  37. "Fashion is styling everyday man from kashmiri boat man to Lazy lad" (in en). https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/agency-wire/100333-fashion-is-styling-everyday-man-from-kashmiri-boat-man-to-lazy-lad. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 
  38. News, Hello Jammu. "Kashmiri boatman to the lazy lad: How sustainable fashion is styling the everyday man". http://www.hellojammu.news/2018/08/kashmiri-boatman-to-lazy-lad-how.html. Retrieved 17 May 2020. 

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