What helped Ruchika Sachdeva of Bodice to become the third Indian designer to win the Woolmark prize? We investigate.
Attention to detail and her idea to explore the unexplored led Ruchika Sachdeva, founder of Bodice to achieve her dreams. Her ideas are not made up of cliché techniques or hackneyed embellishments, but rather are a combination of stories that reflect her ideologies of keeping the designs crisp and tenuous.
As I sat down for a conversation with her, I could inhale a breath of fresh air from the freshly cut grass of the garden that surrounds her studio. I also noticed clothes stacked neatly on clean cut wooden racks, as she told me about the idea of creating a moodboard. Excerpts from the interview:
When did you decide to get into fashion designing?
As a child, I was always creative and I knew I always wanted to do something that involved creating things. Fashion or textile design was something that I had awareness about because that time, in India, people were not really aware about any other creative field. I, then, went to complete my education from the London College of Fashion and that was when I really fell in love with it. From there, I started to understand the whole idea of expression through what you wear and how what you wear speaks about you and how it is a way of communicating without opening your mouth.
Take us through your inspirational board for pre-fall 2019?
Pre-fall was the evolution of the binding story which is what we have been working on for a few seasons so, it is all about geometry, lines, and there is a bit of architecture that seeps in. We also developed a fabric in Kathmandu which was wool cashmere which is hand woven and besides that, we took forward the kantha technique a little bit. I used recycled thread to do kantha and created something that creates a texture. The idea was to create something that can transform women from day to night, that makes them feel comfortable, that is relevant, and that is going to stay in their wardrobes for years and repeat over time.
Pleats form an important part of each of your collection. Why is that?
I have always liked lines and geometry and pleats are exactly that. It is also a wonderful way to create volume in garments. So, it also helps you to play with structure. For me, it is all what clothes are about. You give volume somewhere, while you strict, nip, and struck somewhere. I am personally very attracted to them and I am constantly looking for ways to evolve and use them in different ways.
Did you get inspired from the concept of a sari?
Yes, we started with sari pants, which is something I made a few years back and that was quite lovely to take those pleats eventually into clothes and see how we could take it forward.
…and is your colour palette restrictive?
There are some colours that I just love and I do want to not use them just because it’s a new collection. I am somebody who, for lifetime, would gravitate towards whites, blacks, navy, beige and things in these colours, I will always buy. So, I incorporate those colours in my collection. Besides that, we do experiment with tones of other colours too.
Tell us about the techniques you use?
We mostly do pattern making, soft tailoring, and hand pleating. We do embroideries also, very subtle though. You won’t really be able to see it. We are very good at editing and limiting the number of elements that go on your garments because I feel there is a compulsive need to put a lot on the garments and we have become really good with controlling it.
Did these techniques help you win the Woolmark prize?
We applied these and then it was the process of creating one outfit for the regional round held in Dubai. Fortunately, we won and then eventually it involved the whole collection. For me, I wanted to incorporate everything that I have done till now and all the things that I love about Bodice in that one collection. I wanted to distil it so, it meant all the places that I had traveled to earlier to develop the textile. I incorporated merino wool and other textiles that I love from India. Then, we went into the final round and we won. Post that, it really opened a lot of doors for us because we had never done internationally that big so, people did not know about us and it created a lot of awareness around about the brand. We now retail globally which is great to be doing that.
What do you think of online shopping?
It is a very personal thing. It depends on your comfort level. I know there are women who hate to try and they know their bodies so well that they are very comfortable picking it up. In fact, they like seeing it on the screen as it helps them understand the garment in a better manner when they see it on a different person, which is the model on the screen. Then, there are women who like to try to see if it fits her.
Do you think it is fair to compare Indian and international designers?
I don’t think it’s fair because we have a certain kind of upbringing, they have a different kind of upbringing. I won’t say what is better and what is worse; it is just different.