Monday, June 14, 2010

Threads Interview: Rish Oberoi - CEO/Founder of Paani Puri Clothing


There were murmurs in Bollywood and media circles of a chaat based t-shirt company in the works with some really unique and vibrant prints last year. Up until a few months back Paani Puri was still just a concept, with samples of the art work making random appearances on the internet and blogs - today it's a fledgling company, two months old, causing waves across the country.

Being sported by the likes of Bollywood star Imran Khan and hipsters all over the country, it seems like Paani Puri is being dished out with a zing, much like the street snack it's named after. Eye catching, sleek, unique and trendy; t-shirt junkies should really take to this brand. Got in touch with the founder of Paani Puri Clothing, Rish Oberoi, to tell us about his very cool company.

What is a Paani Puri? Click here!

In Pic: Eureka and Rish Oberoi

In an exclusive interview with YHIHF, Rish Oberoi, Founder of Paani Puri clothing talks about his t-shirts and his brand, the bizarre combination of the street snack paani puri and Heath Ledger's Joker inspiring him to start a company, the power of brands made in India and more!

Who are the people behind Paani Puri?
Rish Oberoi- Founder, Eureka- Hungry for creative, Suyash- I am just the man and our first intern, Arjun.

How did you come up with the name Paani Puri? 
It was about 5:30AM and I was simply hungry, I was watching The Dark Knight and I thought it would be funny if the Joker was eating Paani Puri. It started off as a thought. 

In a nutshell tell us what Paani Puri as a brand represents? 
FUN (you may think this is the shortest and “nutshell” answer but it's true!).

What made you start a clothing company? 
Well when I thought of the Joker eating Paani Puri, I thought would be cool to see that on a t-shirt, and bags etc… it was just a spontaneous thing. I am very much in love with it now. 

Tell us about your main t-shirt illustrator Eureka! 
She is the one person who believed in this project. She has become a sister to me, and she means the world to me and Paani Puri. There are no words to express how much she has believed in us. Thank you E.  

What and who are the main sources of inspiration behind Paani Puri’s art? 
You, me, Eureka, my mom, my dad. Inspiration is amongst us. We encourage people to think of ideas, so please make sure to tell us… the Paani Puri team likes that.  

Paani Puri is about a year old now, what’s the response been like internationally and domestically? 
It’s not a year old. It’s actually only a month old, it’s a concept that I marketed for nine months but we launched officially on April 20th, 2010. The response has been very good, we are happy.  

What components of the Paani Puri t-shirt make it a superior choice over other brands? Styles, fit, feel, print, colours? 
All. We have worked really hard on our fit so it lays on your body softly and comfortably. I am excited that everyone who owns a PPC T has said that the fit is amazing and the fabric is soft and comfortable. It’s honestly something which I spent a lot of time on.

With so many brands, primarily international, flooding Mumbai’s market over the years, Ed Hardy for example – how much aspiration still lies in Indian brands? Especially in a city like Mumbai, where what you wear is who you are, in many ways. 
I was born and raised in the United States. I lived there till I moved to India in Sept of 2008. After moving here I realized that Indians are proud of an Indian brand because they always give brands a chance. I love that about India. Makes me proud to see that we still stand up for the national anthem in movie theaters and really love our country. It’s awesome. I feel we won’t let international brands blind us.  

What are some of your favourite t-shirt brands, the really innovative ones that you couldn’t get enough of? 
Junk Food Clothing, American Apparel, Diesel and FcUK

 In Pic: Junk Food Clothing

Noticed the Puri team are getting some heavy support from Bollywood star Imran Khan, what’s the connection? 
He is one of my best friends… more like a brother to me.  

In Pic: Rish Oberoi, Imran Khan and Miss Malini

Check out Rish Oberoi, Imran Khan and Miss Malini on Radio One's Pirate Radio: Click here

You’ve named your company after this street snack, so tell us, where do you get the best paani puris in Mumbai? 
Well you can get the best Paani Puri at Sobo, Attic and Flo right now. Just kidding! My favorite is the guy down the street. Every area has its “rockstar” paani puri vendor... we have ours.  

The Dark Knight's Joker inspired you to start Paani Puri – are you guys comic book/graphic novel fans?  If yes, what have been some of your favourites?   
Comics, yes. Graphic novels, yes. I love all of Marvel’s work, Asterix, Tin-Tin and my all time favorite Calvin and Hobbes.  

If I’m looking to purchase Paani Puri t-shirts, where can I find them? 
Right now: Also; Attic - SantaCruz (w), Mumbai, Sobo -Tardeo, Mumbai, Flo - Lokahndwala, Mumbai, Just Around the Corner - Delhi, Purple –Vizag.    

Tell us about Paani Puri’s current collection and it’s future projects, I totally want a trucker hat with the samurai on it… posters maybe? 
Currently we have 20 designs out. Each tee is concept based, showing how we have incorporated Paani Puri into each one. They are out for both men and women. In the future…there is so much going on. I am excited to share it once we are ready to launch it.

If you could pick one favorite from the Paani Puri collection, which would it be and why? 
This is the hardest question. I love them all. I know how much heart they were made with and the thoughts/the processes it took to create it… I love them all. 

You are stuck on a deserted island with a life supply of batteries and a boom box, list out 6 life changing must-have albums you’d like to have with you and why?
  1. Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory: This was the album I listened to when I had my heart broken for the first time.
  2. Michael Jackson - Dangerous: He is my favorite artist…we have a t-shirt dedicated to him, and also the company is closed on the day he passed away. My dad gave me this album on the world premiere of his video "Jam" on MTV… RIP MJ.
  3. 112 - 112: I grew up on this album…reminds me of high school years…all the silly things we did.
  4. Lil Wayne - Carter 3: I have loved lil Wayne for a long time….but this album I was waiting for because I had a. moved to India, so I couldn’t buy it the first time it hits shelves, and also the song lollipop is my favorite song of all time.
  5. Jay-Z - R.O.C: Me and my best friends in college bought this album together, all 8 of us, it was awesome…we listened to it probably a million times.
  6. Drake - Thank me Later: It's unreleased and comes out on June 15th.
I won’t lie this is my favorite question in the world. Whatever I have heard, I listen to it all the time. It inspires towards PPC.

Check out the Paani Puri Clothing website: Click here
Watch Rish and Eureka on Channel V talking about Paani Puri Clothing: Click here
Follow Paani Puri Clothing on Twitter: Click here 

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