Text by NAMITA GUPTA
They know their warp and weft and are creating drama with their simple yet stunning silhouettes. Chic, contemporary and creative, these fashion designers from Bengaluru are creating waves across the globe for their new-age concept-based couture clothing and innovative prêt wear. Aesthetic and awe-inspiring are some of the words that best describe their creations that can bring life to any wardrobe. Bridging gap between Indian and modern contemporary cuts and styles, these fashion designers are ahead of their game in designing timeless classics.
Where did you study design from? How did you realise your affinity towards fashion design and how did you decide to take it up as a profession?
Art always caught my fancy in my growing years. In those years, pre-tailored garments were hard to find. The conventional practice then was to take fabric sourced by oneself to the services of a tailor. While some left the design aspect entirely up to their family tailor, I took great interest in the design process. I drew up designs for my garments and collaborated with the tailors on cut and stitch. Family and friends were struck by the detailing in my garments and began to ask me to design their garments too. My label was born out of these commissioned projects for personal wardrobes. One could also say the knowledge I gained through those early interactions with my tailors was akin to a rich training period. I do not have formal training from fashion school but would love to further my study sometime soon.
What were the challenges that came initially?
Textile and fashion design are labor intensive fields dependent on those with highly specific skill sets- weavers, dyers, and craftspeople. I entered the field at a time when these knowledge systems were experiencing neglect. Artists, with highly specialized skillsets, in variegated Indian art-forms were hard to come by and moving into other professions. So, I would say, finding skilled hands to work on my project was a challenge.
How did you overcome them and how has the journey been since then?
The challenge remains because we are working with artisans who are moving out of their professions because of large-scale systemic changes. Handcrafted garments, a style that is my signature, take on the form of art and require great hours and discipline on the part of an artisan. Nevertheless, the journey has been beautiful because supporting India’s rich crafts is my passion and as a team, we enjoy what we are doing.
What have been some of the highpoints in your design journey?
I have several memorable moments. However, three remain especially marked in my memory. The first harks back a few years when I was invited to design a collection of sarees for the Karnataka Silk Industry Corporation (or Mysore Silk as they are popularly known). They offered me a unique opportunity to play around both with the traditional Deccan fabric palette and fabrics themselves. The idea was to produce an innovative line of sarees that stood by traditional Deccan aesthetics. The second is an invitation I received from Lakme Fashion Week to showcase with them. The experience was enriching and delightful. I was also invited to participate in the Vogue Bridal Show, another unforgettable experience.
Who are some of your biggest clients?
I’m proud to say I have several well-heeled women in my coterie of label loyalists, all of whom are lovely women with an impeccable sense of style. However, some have been with me since I started out at my label, including, Svetlana Takur, Shubra Takur, Shubha Sunil and Ashwini Puneet Rajkumar.
What are some of the striking features in your outfits that set them apart from the other designers in this space?
Our sense of color stands out for its authenticity to the traditional, ethnic palette and yet its playfulness. Our colour play, as well as our sense of aesthetics in silhouettes and cuts, is distinguishable by those who know us. We source our textiles from master weavers and craftsmen to maintain authenticity, purity and distinguishing quality in our work. Authenticity with innovation is our standpoint. The desire for authenticity extends to all areas of my work. For instance, I have created my own fabrics based on innovations in weaving techniques.