Category: Q&A

Q&A Wednesday With Swapnil Shinde

A quick Q&A with designer Swapnil Shinde…

And, don’t forget to check out our Directory Page for more info on various designers…

1. As a designer, what inspires you? Have a muse?

As a designer one always expects you to have an inspiration….but somehow for me its always been about my music, what I’m listening to at that point in time….sometimes its “beedi” from Omkara..then there is the Bjork phase…at times its Britney Spears…hahaahah then there is world music….it’s always very diverse….thus my mood, and my music always reflects in my work….it’s good sometimes… bad at times… really tacky at times….perfect at times….but that’s the art of being creative…..though I must admit I do have my share of muses, mainly my models…Amrit Maghera and Mashoom Singha to be precise… these days its undoubtedly Priyanka Chopra in her short hair!

2. Are you a procrastinator or do you usually have your collections planned the moment an inspiration or idea takes root?

It would be good and ideal for me to say everything is always planned….but I must admit that there have been times when I have planned out my collection down to the sampling….then suddenly I would see a piece of architecture…or listen to an Italian song ….or for that matter a Versace gown which would build a whole new story on its own …so I guess it’s only fair to say I’m very spontaneous .

3. How has the high-end luxury brand influx in India changed the local fashion scene?

It’s made us as designers, and people in general more aware, and given fashion a certain sense of importance…people are considering it NOW a serious business, importance is given not just to finish and pricing but also marketing your brand…importance of brand ambassadors etc.


4. How do you feel about more and more celebrities choosing to wear International labels at various award functions and other public events? As a designer do you feel our homespun designers aren’t getting their due?

I think that is a major misunderstanding…that our celebrities wear international brands, on the contrary Priyanka Chopra, Bipasha Basu , Aishwarya Rai to name a few have chosen Indian designers for red carpet events as opposed to international ones, probably just for smalltime events they would choose international brands, which is only fair to them as they need to break their monotony of being loyal to one designer although I’m not complaining there either!!!! You have young girls like Mugdha Godse, Neha Dhupia, Asin etc sporting young and upcoming designers which is great.

5. How much of an effect has global recession had on the ‘design’ process? Is this a time when prices should be cut, or staying put and riding it out is better?

For me recession has not been an issue mainly because my costing has always been affordable from the day I began my business, my clientele is the young college going girl who can’t afford a 40,000 dress but can chip out 6000 to 8000 for an evening attire and thus my design process has never suffered, my brand has always been sexy, fresh, but very edgy and not predictable….but most importantly very affordable.

6. Who is that one Indian celebrity that you are just itching to give a make-over to? Don’t hold back on us!?

Although I believe everyone is entitled to make mistakes as we are only human, I would most certainly love to do a makeover with Vidya Balan not because of how she is now as I think she looks fine…but I personally believe she is undoubtedly sexy and has an aura which is undeniable…but needs more help where it comes to westernwear….enter SWAPNIL SHINDE

7. Five essentials that should take us through the seasons this year?

Mini handbags in dirty colours (get rid of acids and juicy), a fitted to flare black dress, sunglasses, a super cool customized laptop bag, masculine chunky watches.

8. How would you describe your own sense of style?

Relaxed and sporty , I am just like my brand , I am a modern guy who goes to the gym, eats healthy food and would want to wear clothes that are comfortable yet charming!

9. Is it the clothing that adds allure to a woman or a woman who makes the clothing more alluring with her personality?

Its always that hidden ex factor which usually comes out of confidence…and that confidence has to be your own….no expensive dresses which are perfect from tip to toe can give you that… can wear a plastic bag with towel and make it work….the biggest example for that is Sarah Jessica Parker and in India its Sonam Kapoor.


10. And finally…

a. One word that describes you?

b. A trend you wish would go away?
Balloon and cocoon (pls women wear fitted stuff, enough already with the balloons , cocoons, sacks, bags etc etc)

c. A trend you can’t get enough of?
Priyanka Chopra in short hair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

d. Shoes or bags?
Shoes… can go with no bags to an event but bad shoes are unforgivable!

e. If you weren’t a designer, you would be?
A dancer

f. One thing Swapnil Shinde cannot live without?
My dance


Swapnil Shinde Fall 2009

Image courtesy: Yahoo

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Q&A Wednesday With Anand Kabra

Here’s a quick Q&A with designer Anand Kabra

1. As a designer, what inspires you? Have a muse?

Design is the medium I use to express myself. The collections are almost autobiographical…It is a story I tell which comes from a very personal space and it normally is what I sense, see and absorb from what’s going on around me. It could be a mood, art, cinema, anything that catches my eye and moves me.

My muse is a strong successful independent woman who has a mind of her own and has mastered the art of balancing all the roles she is expected to play without loosing her sense of self.

2. What is the core aesthetic that you aim for in your clothes?

Right now it is intelligent design, which stands for quality and luxury.

lfw-fall-09-anand-kabra-interview-first.jpg 3. Are you a procrastinator or do you usually have your collections planned the moment an inspiration or idea takes root?

I am very hyper as a person and once an idea takes root it is impossible for me to sit on it….I start living my inspiration and it has to be conceptualized almost immediately.

4. How has the high-end luxury brand influx in India changed the local fashion scene?

What I like about it is that it has created awareness of what is happening on a global level and we all are speaking the same language of fashion and interpreting it in our own way. It definitely has raised the bar for finish, design and luxury and its great that it forces everyone to fine tune their craft and skills. Also it is a great medium to learn about the business of fashion (brand building, pricing etc.)

5. How do you feel about more and more celebrities choosing to wear International labels at various award functions and other public events? As a designer do you feel our homespun designers aren’t getting their due?

To each their own. Its cyclic… right now there is a need to flaunt international names and soon there will be a novelty in wearing Indian designers…That’s what fashion is all about….It doesn’t bother me.

6. How important are celebrity show-stoppers at fashion weeks? Do they bring welcome attention to a designer or only deflect serious attention from the business of fashion?

I can only speak for myself and I definitely do not believe in celebrity show stoppers. I personally feel that it does take away from the clothes and the seriousness of the business. I rather be remembered for what I put on the ramp rather than whom I put on it!

7. Five essentials that should take us through the seasons this year?

Well fitted jeans, White blouse or shirt, Good pair of stilettos, A little black dress and A traditional hand woven sari.

8. How would you describe your own sense of style?

Very Indian in its sensibility…. genderless, comfortable and an expression of me!

9. Is it the clothing that adds allure to a woman or a woman who makes the clothing more alluring with her personality?

Both. I would hate it if my clothes overpowered the woman who was wearing it….To me it is very important that the essence of the person wearing my clothes is not lost. It also is very interesting to observe how they individualize it.


10. And finally…

a. One word that describes you?

b. A trend you wish would go away?
Shapeless sacks, bubble hemlines, dowdy chic

c. A trend you can’t get enough of?

d. Shoes or bags?

e. If you weren’t a designer, you would be?

f. One thing Anand Kabra cannot live without?
His work!


Anand Kabra Fall 09

Photo Credit: Viral Bhayani

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An Interview: Suhani Pittie

Suhani Pittie, a ‘jewellery artist’, has been called “1 of the 10 women to look out for in India in 2007,” by Elle Magazine, and also been named as one of the “30 rising stars of the country”! A columnist on accessories and fashion for ‘The Telegraph’, India, she happens to be the first Indian jewellery designer to have participated in the Miami Fashion Week ’07.

“Marshes & Marigold”, Suhani’s collection for the WLIFW SS’08 is an impersonation of art upon jewellery. The styling is fashionable, feminine, art nouveau, textured and each piece is exquisitely hand painted. The jewellery, which Suhani refers to as “jewel art” is available in stores across India and abroad, including the prestigious Museum of Arts & Design, New York.

And now, more with Suhani Pittie…

We know you started young, were there any major challenges in the beginning? Being a young woman in her twenties, was it ever a struggle to be taken seriously? Did it help that you had ‘Anamika Khanna’ for a sister?

There are challenges every single day-because in this field you have to be ‘one up’ in creativity to do something more smashing every time and this is an every morning ritual. To break free from what you have done, to come undone and do something extraordinary all over again, it takes a while for one to be able to cope with ones own pressure.
Every business has start up issues. When I started three years ago, the biggest challenge I had to overcome was to find the right karigars who had an open mind and were ready to listen to what I was saying. This was no easy task as all over our country karigars are used to doing the traditional gold, the oxidized silver or the wax casts. I fit in none of the above. So it was a lot of trial and error. But now I am very happy with my team!
It has never happened that I have not been taken seriously. I am still in my twenties, with my brand present in 18 fashion houses including an art museum in New York. I think in business sometimes the product might be bigger than the creator. I am happy that it is… in my case as well. So people know the ‘Suhani Pittie brand of jewellery’ but may not necessarily know ‘Suhani Pittie’. I am ok with that!
Also, our country today can see some brilliant 25 year olds heading multimillion businesses and I am sure they are all taken seriously! They are ‘seriously inspiring’
Being Anamika’s sister has helped in one way.. I am slightly more fashionable!

What usually influences your design vision? Places? People? What or who would your muse be?

A monogrammed silver biscuit; the sheer sight of red hot metal and its undulating molten state. Nothing can set you heart racing so fast! Metal is my inspiration.
I think the other biggest influence in my life is art. I am an artist and I would like to be known as one. Not just a designer, but, someone who could collate to a full vocabulary of design and create the most beautiful art pieces ever. My design vision is beyond boundaries hence there are no people or places influencing it.
My muse would be every woman who has the courage to not follow but lead because such strength would relate to the strength in my work.

How do you stay inspired and motivated? What is your design process in general?

My motivation comes from a simple fact. A buyer today has the option to choose between wonderful things. So that really leaves me with little choice but to stay motivated and push myself to a higher level of creativity.
Design process-I always source my raw materials first. In most cases the cut, shape or inclusion of the stone decides the design around it. I have never designed a piece and then go looking for the stones for it.

Do you have any favorite jewelry pieces you’ve created and why?

The first cuff- it was beaten texture with mother of pearl. It’s my favourite because I think I was able to introduce it correctly to the market and hence connected this ornament to the general buyer. Maybe I dislodged it from the image of “only for the avant-garde wearer with the oh so perfect wrists!” I suddenly see a lot of cuffs happening around me and I feel I have contributed to that!

Do you think there’s a particular kind of woman who is drawn to your jewelry?

Certainly. Someone who has a mind of her own and is not a victim of changing trends!

Where do you see jewelry trends going over the next few years?

Jewellery has been an integral part of our lives. It does have a relative fashionable meaning but I think it’s much bigger than fashion itself. So to typecast it under trends would be unfair. However there is an overall inclination towards sophistication, feminity, unconfused form- be it in any attribute of fashion-not just jewellery.
But I can safely say that brooches and cuffs are going to work wonders all over again. The next few years would see jewellery becoming the deciding factor in a woman’s wardrobe and not just an accessory!

Do you have a particular take on what kind of jewelry and how much a woman should wear, or how she should select pieces for her collection?

Its very important that a woman understands her own fashion style before she tries on what’s floating in the market. However the key word is ‘try’. But one should not try to grab attention by looking like a chandelier and dressing over the top. The idea is to gracefully demand the attention, which comes with ones own personality. So one should never wear too much of jewellery at a time. Highlight one body part by wearing one elaborate piece and see the magic it creates.
To select pieces for your collection, just buy whatever your heart goes out to. Does not matter if your neighbor does not think too much of it. Remember jewellery is beyond fashion. So what you buy today maybe vintage tomorrow. It will be gorgeous even then. But wear your age and your personality. Don’t try to be someone else.

What other projects are you working on this spring? Anything new on the horizon for you?

Ever since the Museum of Arts and Design, New York commissioned my work and the big project with veteran artist Mr. Vaikuntum happened where I made jewellery with his miniatures, I have become a little more inclined towards the art element in my work. Hence I am currently working on more elaborate pieces that are absolute one offs.
New things emerge every day. Right now I am obsessed with wood and buttons!

Finally, is jewelry to you, like fashion, seasonal, or like style, timeless?

Brilliantly asked. Jewellery I think is immortal. Designs and designers would come and go but like life, jewellery would go on. There might be shifts from art deco to art noveau or vice versa but jewellery, stones and their beauty would always be an inherent part of who were are.

For a complete list on where you can buy Suhani Pittie’s designs and for more on the artist/designer, go HERE!

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