Shalini Arts Exclusive Interview
Collection Name: Shalini Arts
Designer: Shalini Ahuja
Show: Style Fashion Week NYFW 2/9/17
What was your inspiration for the designs you created for the Style Fashion Week Show?
I was truly inspired by the Hollywood fashion and as you know my collection is paradox, it's like contemporary fashion and winter. I have a lot of fur's and leather boots and a little leopard. This season I experimented with different fur's and winter sparkles. From the years 1939-1950 fashion was very big in Hollywood for actresses.
What is the biggest event you have planned for 2017?
Right now I'm just hoping that my NYFW show goes well and maybe another show in the near future. This is a big thing and I am not a person that's satisfied with just one thing!
Have you shown with Style Fashion Week New York before?
Yes I have, this is my second season with Style. I have also done LA Fashion Week. I am based out of Delhi, India, however, I have done slot of shows in palaces such as London, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong, and Amsterdam.
Fashion is a sense of style that is popular at a particular time and changes from decade to decade, century to century. In the world of fashion, every new product or style begins with an idea. Fashion designing involves a set of skills that range from market research and creativity to sketching and fabric selection. The fashion designers guide the process from inception to production.
What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?
Here are the five reasons why I seriously considered a career in fashion:
1. Broad range of positions to suit all types of people. With the glamorous reputation the industry has earned, it’s not hard to see why positions in the fashion industry are so popular. From production of raw materials through to the retail sector, the fashion industry consists of four different levels. Because of this, there is a fantastic variety of professional roles to choose from within the industry. For those with a creative eye, the most obvious role is of: fashion designer. The fashion designers guide the process from inception to production. My interest in Art , Architecture , literature and business communications made me choose career in fashion.
2.Plenty of room for.progression. The fashion industry has plenty of room for progression, meaning you’ll have a number of opportunities for promotions and pay rises .Starting your career in a junior role simply means that you have plenty of room to grow as a professional and eventuly have your own businessset up. I have my own production unit fully equippedwith japnese machines to produce leather Apparel and Accessories after eight years in fashion industry.
3.Opportunity to travel and Chances of global recognition. The industry is fast paced and exciting, Higherranking jobs in fashion often come with the opportunity to travel, which is one of the reasons why positions are highly sought after. As well as the chance to travel, you get the chance to work with all different clients, curving your learning experience. I love to travel and explore new places so career in fashion was lucrative for me.
4. Opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys a challenge, or requires a certain amount of pressure in order for your performance to excel, the fashion industry provides the ideal environment for you to thrive. With trends rotating and fading in and out of fashion, the industry is ever changing, and as a part of that industry you need to be prepared for that constant change. I have always been a kind of person who loves accepting new challenges so career in fashion was perfect for me.
5. Meeting people and making contacts. Working in fashion allows you to meet so many people, all with different backgrounds, experiences and stories. You can learn a lot from the people around you in the fashion industry, and the people you meet at the early stages of your career may very well play a key part in your development further down the line. I am a very social person and make friends easly so I chose fashion as my Career.
Are you self taught or did you study fashion?
I have a degree in fashion designing from IIFT, International Institute of fashion Technology, New Delhi.
How durable are your products ? Is it possible to increase their longevity?
We are producing leather Apparel and Accesories using Goat, Sheep leather, Suede and vegetable tanned leather which is not chemically treated and hand painted with organic Colours. Vegetable tanned leather is environment friendly and biodegradable . It has a natural flexibility and does not crack easily . Taking good care of leather products like protecting too much of contact with water , humidity, sunlight increases the life of leather products and colours don’t fade.
How can you encourage the customer to form an emotional attachment to your product thereby discouraging disposal?
Shalini Arts excel in production of Leather Apparel and Accesories using Goat, Sheep leather, Suede and vegetable tanned leather which is not chemically treated and hand painted with organic Colours. Vegetable tanned leather is environment friendly and biodegradable.We are giving opportunity to rural artisans to showcase their talent and earn livelihood by designingand producing embossed leather products. The time tested traditional techniques have been augmented and upgraded through modern scientific tools and technology to produce unique hand painted embossed leather products. When you are buying any of the products from Shalini Arts a part of money is going to these rural artisans and you are encouraging this art of hand painting on leather which these Artisans have learnt from thereAncestors.
What markets and demographic do you target?
Shalini Arts excel in production of Leather Apparel and Accesories using Goat, Sheep leather, Suede and vegetable tanned leather which is not chemically treated and hand painted with organic Colours. Leather jackets , Suede Coats, Suede Skirts trimmed with faux fur , Suede boots, Swanky Suede bags have a global appeal and more suitable for cold weather so European Countries , USA, Russia are the key markets that we target. Leather women Apparel and Accessories produced by ushas a wide variety which can be worn by women from age group starting from 21 till 55 years .
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
I am fascinated by Vintage and cotemporary Hollywood fashion. Nothing telegraphs decadent , luxurious glamour like fur ,During the golden Era of Hollywood fur coats and stoles draped the shoulders of every major star from Marilyn Monroe to Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey . Some of the popular trimmings over the years including large and small fur collars,fur cuffs and fur bands around the hems and sleeves of suede winter coats define my collection.Suede, faux fur, vintage fur coats inspired by history of Hollywood define my collection.
What do you consider the most important facets of the fashion industry?
Fashion design is defined by the creators of new Apparel and accessories. "The world is in need of innovators - innovators who can make change. The fashion industry has that ability to create change.Fashion design is an art of application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories.
The fashion designers guide the process from inception to production. Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social attitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories. Because of the time required to bring a garment onto the market, designers must at times anticipate changes to consumers taste.
Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They consider who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn. They have a wide range and combinations of materials to work with and a wide range of colors, patterns and styles to choose from.
Though most clothing worn for everyday wear falls within a narrow range of conventional styles, unusual garments are usually sought for special occasions such as evening wear or party dresses.
How different is conception preparation in relation to F/W vs S/S garments?
I am designing leather Apparel and Accessories , For S/S I prefer using skived leather which means decreasing the density of the leather using skiving machine or light suede for making short jackets , knee length suede capes without sleeves, cropped leather tops , suede bustiers which are perfect for summers. Summer colors are also cool, but muted and medium-light to medium-dark, for example powder blue,mint green, pale pink etc,Pastel and light shades are delicate, feminine, springtime.
Earthy shades of brown, yellow and orange speak of nature and the fall.And Cool shades of white, black and blue represent winter.Some of the popular trimmings over the years including large and small fur collars,fur cuffs and fur bands around the hems and sleeves of suede coats define my F/W collection. I use suede , faux fur, Persian lamb wool for long coats, waist length leather jackets, knee length suede skirts which completely define winters.Suede, faux fur, vintage fur coats inspired by history of Hollywood define my new collection.
How do you balance creativity with business?
The fashion designers guide the process from inception to production . For inception of any idea inspiration and motivation are two key factors. A strong business sense is also an important ingredient in a successful career in fashion design.As a designer you have to maintain a perfect balance between what inspires you and how you can induce that idea in your designs. As a successful designer I research the market to gauge the public’s tastes and predict the next big surge in popularity and then induce new ideas in my designs.
What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?
Fashion designing involves a set of skills that range from market research and creativity to sketching and fabric selection. The fashion designers guide the process from inception to production. I enjoy this entire process from inception to production. I am really passionate about my profession.
What skills are important for a successful career in fashion industry?
To be successful, fashion designers must create trends, or at least follow quickly when new trends emerge. A successful designer researches the market to gauge the public’s tastes and predict the next big surge in popularity. Fashion design requires professionals to constantly be in tune with the marketplace, what’s trending currently and what economic indicators may influence buying decisions in the future. Market research includes following competitors as well as consumer demands. A strong business sense is an important ingredient in a successful career in fashion design.
What have you done to develop and improve your skills?
The fashion designers guide the process from inception to production. For inception of any idea inspiration and motivation are two key factors. To get motivated or inspired vast knowledge of art, nature, literature, architecture is a must which comes from travelling, reading, observing nature .
I have improved on this skill by keen observations, visiting art museums, reading literature and working with artisans who are apt in art work.
As a designer I am constantly in tune with the market place as what’s trending currently and what economic indicators may influence buying decisions in the future.
A strong business sense is an important ingredient in a successful career in fashion design. As a successful designer I research the market to gauge the public’s tastes and predict the next big surge in popularity Market research includes following competitors as well as consumer demands.
What do you think about ethics and what kind of ethics you believe in following while working with fashion?
"Fashion is primarily about style and aesthetics,The sexiness of a brand will always be more important to the consumer than any socially responsible, positive message." The fashion industry has complex connections to many other fields, including manufacturing, advertising, production of raw materials, transportation and retailing. The tremendous profits that stand to be made in the fashion industry create the temptation to engage in unethical behavior. When producers, manufacturers, models or consumers are being exploited or treated unfairly, fashion executives have an ethical responsibility to change the situation.
The materials, transportation and production that are involved in the fashion industry all have an impact on the environment. Many synthetic materials are derived from petroleum, while many more natural materials are grown on land that could be used for food production.We are using vegetable tanned leather with no chemical treatment and organic colours to hand paint embossed leather products which are environment friendly.
The main appeal of many fashionable accessories is the brand name. A known designer product can be sold for many times more than an identical bag made by a competitor. Forgers take advantage of this fact by creating cheap knock-offs and illegally adding the names of famous and expensive fashion houses. We forbid these cheapsters to indulge in unethical behaviour.
Many fashionable clothes are manufactured by poorly paid people in developing countries. This practice, known as sweatshop labor, has come under major scrutiny and has been condemned by a wide range of critics. Particularly concerning is the employment of young children.
How comfortable are you working with models and other designers?
I believe that models not only flaunt and sell your work, they can also be someone who inspires you and more so, they can give you feedback on the designs and how it feels. They can play both a creative and technical role. Some designers may pick their models based on looks, and others may choose models to create a statement. Sometimes designers go for a simple look for their model, as they don't want to deflect the audience's attention to the clothes while other designers may go for an exaggerated look to compliment the clothes.I am totally in sync with my models and make them very comfortable during my show. Market research includes following competitors as well as consumer demands.Though other designers are competitiors yet very important for your professional growth. I am perfectly comfortable with other designers.