Since its inception in the year 2006, label ‘Nikasha’ has always focused on handcrafted traditions under its visionary founder, Nikasha Tawdey. The designer has successfully blended the Indian craft with contemporary chic. Armed with an artistic vision, Nikasha belongs to the school of thought where the artist’s sole purpose is to bring out the true essence of the original inspiration. She further throws light on the industry, evolution of fashion, future plans, and more in this exclusive interview. Edited excerpts…
You have carved a niche of your own over the past decade. Were you always inclined towards fashion? How did it all begin for you?
I was training to be a psychoanalyst post my Graduation and Masters in Psychology. Fashion was not even a distant thought. However, life had other plans, lucky circumstances and serendipity got Niharika Khan to ask me to design for her new store “Purple Porcupine” and the rest is history.
Your designs are synonymous with inherent Indianness. Where do you seek creative inspiration from?
It is not method calculation. Inspiration is a state of being; sometimes an idea can stay for years before it actually gets any shape. It can come from anywhere. To me, clothes need to have a soul. Otherwise, even the most technically brilliant-finished jacket is just a piece of cloth. The Indianness again is inherent in my blueprint—as a matter of fact I have been living in Singapore for the last decade, but it’s in my DNA.
Handcrafted traditions in the form of embroideries, prints and natural fabrics are the specialties of your design house. Do you think reviving roots in fashion is the need of the hour?
Absolutely, I recently went to Sanganer in Rajasthan and was so heartbroken that almost all block printers had shut shop as their kids were just not interested. We will lose a legacy and centuries of artisan treasures if we don’t do something. However small the effort is, it has to start now.
Though your designs are immersed in Indian craft, you seamlessly blend traditions with contemporary chic. How do you come up with such eclectic designs?
Perspective is like lens. It is unique to you. Similarly, I don’t see my designs as Indian or lehenga or sari. I see it with a vision and how close it keeps its pace with the original inspiration.
The bridal season is round the corner. What are the trends you are betting big on this year?
Brides are more personality driven now, confident in their choices and aspiring to be an authentic version of them. That’s the biggest trend; the brief has changed, dress the bride that knows her mind.
Do you think the prevalent concept of couture in India is limited to bridal wear?
First, let’s understand couture, it means “Custom designed to a client’s specific requirements and measurements.” It’s a French word and concept, privy to only the very privileged, unlike India where we have had local tailors to stitch and custom make for over 200 years. So, technically, we have had couture for over two centuries. They simply have to dress for their occasions, i.e, balls and galas. We wear couture in our occasions that befits that kind of clothing i.e, ‘weddings’. Times are changing, occasions are also changing hence, we will come up with a new word and yes, then we can celebrate our absolute stunning craft in abundance.
How do you think the industry has changed in the last 10 years?
The industry has expanded in terms of designers, but unfortunately only added numbers and unnecessary fat to the wedding market. Creatively, I can’t remember the last time I was excited to see a show. I hope that things change and there’s much needed excitement ahead. What does it take to stay relevant in fashion? Relevance is reflection of your inner self. I would say curiosity is very important for this one. To remain contextual; travel, listen to different perspectives, read more, and spend time on reflection and nature.
What can we expect from label Nikasha next?
I’m looking forward to exciting times, metamorphosis in some ways. We have recently launched a store in Emporio, New Delhi. We are launching a kids line, an international label called NikashaX, accessories and our online website.