For designer Deepa Sondhi it was a double bonanza when her daughter Karishma Sondhi got admission in the Pearl Academy, many steps closer to her dream of becoming a professional designer. A dream which soon became reality. “I always had a passion for wearing good stylised garments and always wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry. But things only fell into place when my daughter Karishma Sondhi got admission in the fashion institute. It was then that I found my dreams turning into reality, and eventually the brand ‘Karishma Deepa Sondhi’ was created,” says Deepa Sondhi.
The mother and daughter duo is working full-time on, among other things, bridal wear. They have a skilled team with great expertise in creating couture garments, like lehengas, anarkalis and drapes which are hand-embroidered.
In the same line, “Swarnkatha” is their recent collection which was presented at the India Showcase Week 2017. Talking about their collection, Sondhi says, “Weaving through the many colours of romance from the purest gold to the deepest blues, the collection takes us on a sartorial adventure where each outfit is intricately embroidered and textures and colours take one through a visual narrative straight to the heart.”
As a designer, Sondhi seeks inspiration from different moods of women to make her outfits stand out. She says, “I always relate to luxury wear which has a royal touch to it. While designing my ‘Swarnkatha’ garment, I imagined the garden of Mughal palaces and that’s how the concept of a swan came up which was the biggest USP of this collection. The intricate embroideries and weaving is a strong inspiration from the garden, walls, ceilings, floors and the decor of palaces. My thought process also moved towards the queens in palaces who were sometimes euphoric, sad, or in a festive mood or fierce as warriors, and hence the colours of my collection moved from light to dark depicting the many moods of women.”
Since the designer duo excels in bridal wear, they are operating in a field where competition is intense.Other well-known designers, like Manish Malhotra or Sabyasachi, have similar interests. Speaking about this, Sondhi says, “Sabyasachi is an inspiration for designers in India and abroad. I look up to him as he is incomparable. But I strongly feel that brides would love to come to us as we have our own creativity and design philosophy which is not an imitation of any other designer. And secondly, the hard work and workmanship which is put into every garment makes it bespoke. We also offer very competent prices as it is our own manufacturing and we don’t compromise on quality.”
“Innovation and creativity in fashion means you have to sense the changes taking place in the world and respond to them sensitively and immediately. These changes can be directly perceived in the way an individual dresses, giving unambiguous information about the wearers, their taste, age and natural characteristics.”
Sondhi also wants to work with different fabrics now. “I would love to experiment with the treatment on fabrics like different forms of dying or texturing. I would also like to work on creating a marble effect on the fabric in a natural way,” says the designer.
The designer believes that innovation and creativity is what is needed in the industry. The demand for change is what keeps this sphere alive. She says, “Innovation and creativity in fashion means you have to sense the changes taking place in the world and respond to them sensitively and immediately. These changes can be directly perceived in the way an individual dresses, giving unambiguous information about the wearers, their taste, age and natural characteristics.”
Fashion trends are something which follow a cyclic pattern. The designer says that in order to make new styles more alluring than the older versions, one needs to understand the moods and body language of the youth of today, because it’s the young generation that is instrumental in shaping new trends. She says, “Fashion trends can be alluring if emphasis is laid on the body, wearing the right colours and defining a personal style. Fashion trends should also relate to the habitat and environment of the fashionistas.”
Many contemporary Indian designs are discovering traditional weaves and handicrafts. The designer is happy that Indian weaves and handloom works are getting accepted by the mainstream. Now people are proud to adorn an outfit which has an artisanal element. “Gone are the days when Indian handloom was only for the order generation. Now it has been given a complete makeover by the designers who have incorporated the same in their garments but in a more modern way. Moreover, the use of Indian handloom and weaves also gives an impetus to our artisans and craftsmen residing in villages. It is a form of economic boost for them,” says Sondhi.
But does the designer ever experience phases of low productivity or a creative crisis? “No,” she says. “I never felt this. I feel that there is so much in this world to take inspiration from that no designer shall ever get exhausted thinking of new designs. Designing is basically an outcome of your passion and sensibilities.”
The designer also thinks that five years down the line the youth would prefer comfort to style, as stress levels in our life are always escalating. “There will be changes as handloom and textile industry will get an even better makeover, and fabrics like cotton, linen and khadi will be prominent on runways, as global warming is on the rise. And not to forget, fashion bloggers, stylists and fashion apps in social media will rise to prominence,” says Sondhi.
Talking about her fashion statement, the designer concludes, “My style has always been simple and basic. My everyday casual look would be denim shirt or a skirt, paired up with a watch and sunglasses. My favourite colour is coral and as for a photoshoot or going to a wedding, I always love to adorn my creations which are ethnic and elaborate couture like anarkalis, lehangas or shararas. Always beautiful on such occasions.”