Hitendra Kopapara is one of the leading stylists in the entertainment industry. Govinda, Nora Fatehi and Sunny Leone are some of the many celebrities he has styled. In this interview, the stylist-designer talks about his two-decade long journey in the industry, signature style, how fashion has evolved in the industry and more.
You have completed twenty years in the entertainment industry. How do you look back at this journey?
It has been an incredible journey. I faced many ups and downs like any other artist but I kept moving forward. This industry welcomed me with open arms and gave me all the success I have today. I started my career with a short film featuring Om Puri and Ratna Pathak Shah. Initially, I did a bunch of small project but I treated each project with an equal amount of respect. Slowly, the industry started noticing my work and I got the opportunity to work with the biggest names in the business.
What are the challenges that you faced in your journey?
Back then, the industry didn’t have too many professional stylists or designers. Also, the awareness around latest trends and the fashion industry was minimal. There were no cell phones and social media, so things worked very differently. Now, celebrities are very conscious about what they wear. Earlier, they would be reluctant about trying out something new but now they are more open-minded and take the advice of their stylists and designers regularly.
Apart from being a stylist, you are also a designer. Is there a signature style you have?
I love Indian clothes. A lot of people associate me with the kind of drapes I make. I made Sunny (Leone) wear a lot of Indian clothes in ‘Ek Paheli Leela’ which were greatly appreciated.
You studied fashion design at the prestigious National Institute of Fashion Technology. Do you think training is important for a designer?
I don’t think training is absolutely essential. It does help but you can also learn a lot of things on your own. My experience at the fashion institute was good but I learnt a lot more things while working. You have to keep a keen eye on the changing trends and try to innovate yourself all the time.
You have worked with a wide range of celebrities ranging from Govinda to Sunny Leone. Is it difficult working with diverse personalities at the same time?
You do have to keep the personality of the individual in mind while designing clothes or styling them. One good thing that has happened in the recent times is that celebrities trust their designers or stylists. They give us a lot of freedom and go with our conviction.
Out of all the celebrities you have styled, who has been your favourite?
My collaboration with Sunny Leone has been the most special. I have been styling her for the last 11 years. She is a wonderful human being and working with her is an absolute pleasure. I share a very special bond with her. She ties me rakhi every year. She has complete trust in my sensibilities and that’s the reason why we work so well together.
Which are the projects you are working on that moment?
I am working with Sunny on a bunch of projects. I have styled her for ‘Sheroes’ which is a Tamil film. There is another project in South and then, there are a couple of music videos.