Established Chennai based Designer and Lakme Fashion Week Debutante Bandana Narula speaks to Ritz about her love for fashion her recent experience at Lakme Fashion Week and what it took to get there. In a candid chat with Ritz, she discusses her dedication, motherhood, entrepreneurship and much more.
How did you realize that you wanted to enter into the world of fashion?
I loved to sketch designs on the back of my notebook. I would get local tailors to manufacture my own designs and would wear them to college. The response my friends gave me was so encouraging; they would want me to make similar stuff for them. It made me want to pursue this as a serious career option. So, I pursued my Masters in Fashion Merchandizing. That’s how my journey began into the world of Fashion.
You have debuted in the Lakme Fashion Week 2019. How do you feel?
It still feels surreal to me. I had always dreamt of exhibiting my collection at the Lakme India Fashion Week. I just got so busy managing my office and motherhood happened along the way, so I stopped expecting Lakme to happen. I guess my baby was the missing lucky charm from my life.
Since his birth, it’s been a roller coaster ride. I was accepted into the LIFW and received an unbelievable response from across India for my collection. I was immediately picked up by the top multi-designer stores across all major cities in India and a few abroad and the response has been amazing. I’m geared up more than ever and want to achieve so much more now.
What is your Dazva collection like?
Dazva is a blend of the sharp geometric chevrons and the delicate floral patterns coming together in unison to create beauty and a new identity. I strongly believe in a need to unite and bring together energies and styles with vibes that are so opposite when viewed on their own but create magic when united on the same canvas. Dazva is my portrayal of that belief.
How was life before Lakme Fashion Week 2019?
I had made a name in the fashion circuits in Chennai and had some good loyal clients, but it was limited to customization and growth was steady. I didn’t actively pursue the Lakme dream and went about my work and then pregnancy happened. Business took a backseat and I thought all the hard work was going to be for nothing. But motherhood has only taught me to manage my time and my energy better. Post pregnancy I was back in the office within 45 days. I wanted to make up on lost time and lost clients, so I began working harder and soon enough in a year’s time Lakme happened.
Tell us about your store Studio Bandana Narula which was launched 4 years ago.
One of the biggest challenges was to overcome the fear if I could run my own show. I began assisting a prominent designer in Chennai. I learned a lot about managing time and people during this phase and that stint gave me the confidence I needed to kickstart my own studio. Once I started out, I suddenly had the freedom as well as the pressure to make my own decisions.
A year later I got invited to showcase my collection at the Madras Couture Fashion Week, I went on to showcase at the MCFW for three consecutive years and got recognized in the city through them. My client base was steadily growing, but I was primarily doing bridal customizations until then.
Why bridal wear when there are a bunch of other options?
Every girl’s dream is to look her best on her wedding day. It is a memory they cherish and look back at, with fondness and I feel extremely honoured to be able to be part of every bride’s memory. Only Bridal wear can give you that feeling.
Besides, the brides these days are so experimental and bold with their choices and inputs. It is such a joy to witness the varying personalities and cultures from the coy bride to the powerhouse brides we get them all and we love them all.
What can a bride expect from label Bandana and how do you want them to feel when wearing your clothes?
Originality and Freedom of expression is something that will come through a Bandana Narula creation.
I want my brides to feel like they’re looking at the best version of themselves and more when wearing my creations. They all have a picture-perfect version of themselves and I want to bring that picture to life.
What inspires your designs?
Inspiration can come from anything. I do not restrict my thoughts to a particular set of patterns or colours, I’d rather allow my thoughts to flow with freedom and when I feel beauty in whatever I see – either through imagination or witnessing in real life, it moves me and what moves me inspires me. That is what comes through in my designs as well. I try to keep things minimalistic, nothing too loud or flashy unless the bride is too particular about it. That is one regular feature you will find in my designs.
Pastel or vivid, which color palette will you choose first and why?
Pastel. I have generally been very fond of softer hues as I feel they look very ethereal and elegant.