Wednesday, 01 July 2015 11:55

Foray into Fashion Featured

It’s the season of change! Summer is almost here and most of us are on the verge of flipping our wardrobes onto the wild side. Needless to say, everyone wants to look good and it’s the clothes that contribute the most in transforming the look while blending into the season’s specifics. It may be so that we wear almost all types of outfit that bring up a charm in our faces but the true fact remains the same: clothes that you wear create or diminish the confidence in a person. That’s how important clothing has become in today’s world.
Making this dresses or outfits is not an easy task and it is needless to point that out. The designers create a pattern each and every season that formulates a fashion trend that the society follows. It is true that most of us have a designer in ourselves but fail to pursue it as a career as we are inclined to more promising or risk-free professions. But, what if things were clearer in this path of earning a living, what if we had the sources to guide us in the right direction? The quote “Dreams can come true” would need less interrogation in order for us to achieve what we want in life.
Let’s talk a little bit about fashion design and fashion designing just so everyone is in the same picture. Fashion design is described by many as an art to create clothing and lifestyle accessories in a particular time’s cultural and social influences if everything else is not considered.  These designs vary from season to season and are also based on occasions and environment. Interestingly, fashion design started in the 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth, the fashion designer to put a label into the garments that he created. Before 1858, all articles of clothing were called costume design. Only clothing created after 1858 was known as fashion design. There are some fashion designers who are self-employed and design fashion for their individual customers. Also there are high fashion designers who design for specialty stores or high fashion department stores. These fashion designers create original garments as well as follow established fashion trends. Most of the fashion designers work for apparel manufacturers to create designs for men, women and children for the mass market. Many fashion designers have a brand name like Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren or Chanel. Some dresses are designed by a team of individual fashion designers under a fashion design director’s direction.
To glance further into the mindset of designer, Youth Street News had a private conversation with an international fashion icon, SailexNgairangbam, which was undoubtedly an eye opener to the fashion world. Sailex is known for his handcrafter luxury clothing which is based on precision pattern cutting which many renowned figures like #KareenaKapoor#KanganaRanaut #SushmitaSen#AnushkaSharma #RanveerSingh #ChitrangadaSingh #VaaniKapoor #AliaBhatt and #KalkiKochelin among others have portrayed.

Tete-a-tete with SailexNgairangbam

How did you get into design? Was there a defining point in your career, and if so, how did it shape you as a designer?
Sailex: I think I was always into design. As a kid, during that time it was very embarrassing, my friends used to go to play cricket and football and all the games, however, I was making clothes for my sisters’ dolls. I actually used to hide and do it because I was embarrassed but that did not stop me, I always wanted to do something related to design, like a stitch or so. My mother is also a self-made designer, she’s won national awards on it and so we had machines and everything at home. Though I did not know how to use the machines, I always wanted to do something with it or make clothes for my sisters.
So you were always in that environment?
It was always there. My parents wanted me to get into medical or the engineering field but then I never opted for anything. I did appear for two exams, NIFT and NID. NID is more into craft and textiles and so I wanted to get into fashion through NIFT. So I got into NIFT and that was the refining point. I use to keep sketching all the time and I’d say that it helped.
Tell us about your experience in NIFT and Domus Academy, Milan?
Sailex: Two very different experiences. Me being from Manipur, I grew up in a English speaking environment in school which is not really on top of the chart. I landed in Bangalore after 12th, and I realized my speaking skills were just not there. People actually used to make fun of me because I couldn’t pronounce the words properly at that point of time but then I actually made friends with those people whom I used to look up in terms of talking. I then used to practice alone so that people stop laughing at me. I didn’t not want people to look at me and say “that’s not the right way to say the word.” That was NIFT. It was fun as well and the experience was really nice. I was on my own after school, I had all the freedom to do whatever I want. I had the liberty to go party but then I was also good at my work. And I was one of those students whom my faculties wanted to flunk all the time because I hardly use to go to class. I bunked classes because I knew most of the things (with no arrogance involved) but I get lazy sometimes. When the teacher turns his or her back on me, I use to quickly pick up my bags and run. That’s what I used to do. I barely attended exams even, sometimes. Alright, I was skipping all my classes but when it comes to work, I used to produce good work and so they couldn’t say one thing.
Domus Academy was a very good experience. It wasn’t Domus as such but Milan which is the fashion capital that inspired me. There is not as much as what the city has taught me compared to the classes. It’s like fashion on the streets everyone is so well-dressed there. Speaking wise, they are not there but in terms of fashion and lifestyle, fashion is there. Maybe not as much as it is in Venice but Milan is a place, it’s a ready to wear capital. That place changed me a lot and also I had interactions with people who are known in the industry. I used to go to Ralph Lopez, he was one of my mentors, I was interning with him and I used to sit in his gallery and I use to make samples for him, stitching. I was cutting things and given that chance. I used to do sketches and croakies, floats as well. I did work with Frankie Morello, who is also one of my mentors, whom I did my thesis with. So it was fun, a lot of experience. Tons of fun in that post- graduate course.
You seem to emphasize on precision pattern cutting which is very concise. What is the idea behind this craft?
Sailex: There are so many ways that you can make clothes. You can do treat thesis, where there is no thesis involved. For example, you pick up a piece of fabric, take the edge and spin it and that can become an outfit. For me, the most important thing was pattern cutting. Basically, it has to be very precise. When you cut a jacket for men, it has to fit; the waist has to fall exactly at the same place, that’s what I specialize in. For me, I see the body as a canvas or .. I really don’t know how to say it. In simple terms, I want it to be perfect.
If you could change one thing about your career to date, what would it be?
Sailex: I don’t think I would want to change anything. Each and every day I’m loving my career and it grows. I don’t want to be a designer for the heck of it. I just do not want to be Sailex, I want to be Sailex for a design house like Chanel or Valentino. I would want to be a creative director.
I didn’t know that I wanted to be a fashion designer but I was always inclined towards it. If not a designer, I would majorly involve myself into cooking as a Chef. I would like to get into hair and make know something into creating more or less.
Your first stage show, what was it like?
Sailex: It was in college and it was frightening. It was like, you were given 3-4 months to make 5 outfits and you couldn’t even do it properly..hahaha. Really, at that time how would you know? You don’t know anything about it. You don’t know what kind of fabric goes where, what kind of colours go here and there plus you had so much of limitations. The faculties are there to correct you for each and everything, this is right and this is wrong, you know. Everything had a lot of things and so it was like a ‘khichdi’ in the end of the day. And you don’t know if it’s your design or your faculty’s design.
But it was an experience, which I had fun with and I won’t want to say that I am proud of the workup done at that time. The process of making a woman look sexy and woman look nice was what I gained. So, style has evolved from that time until now. I have worked with models that are not very conservative, however, I have come to a point wherein I have learned that she does not have to wear revealing clothes to look attractive. She can be fully covered yet look fantastic.
I think it’s the age as well. I was a teenager then and the women have evolved and still evolving.
Professionally, which was your first show?
Sailex: GenX, Lakme Fashion Week which was through a selection process. We had to make 7-8 outfits.
Your women wear label “Sailex” was launched in 2008. What was the idea behind this label that made it so exquisite?
Sailex: To be very frank, I didn’t even know I was launching a label. I came back from Milan and I landed in Bangalore. I didn’t know where to go, the last place before I went to Milan was in Bangalore, I had couple of friends as well and also some companies wanted to absorb me in the corporate world. I tried, very much but just that I realized that I was not cut out for the corporate world. I used to work with Lee for a long time. In the corporate world, there are a set of limitations like dress code and things. I used to go wearing a banyan and shorts and HR used to come and tell me, “what are you wearing” and I’ll go like “I’ll wear what I want, why are you telling me what to wear, I am in the design team!” I was like that.
Lakme Fashion Week has been your playground for quite some time now. How did you start with it and what was the growth process like?
Sailex: Lakme Fashion Week has been something that is still evolving in me as a designer because every season everybody wants to see something new from me all the time. So I am the one challenging myself. I realize that you have to keep changing with the time. There’s a place where you get comfortable with and if you stay in that zone, I think that’s where the end to the road is. Demise of your career happens at that point because right now, I am also pretty young in this whole industry, I have assistants but I do not let them design anything. They work with me but my joy lies in the designing specs. I want to move on with the times. I think it’s very important to move ahead, each and every time. I’d say that I’m growing and I will continue to grow for a very long time because that’s how I’d like to see as. I don’t want to be stuck in one place. If there is something happening, I will get in-tune with everything but yeah, I’m not saying that I am going to change myself, however, I want to be open to the idea of certain things happening and evolving around me wherein I also change with time. Simple example, if I have been doing two seasons for a show, I don’t think I should be doing it again and again and again! I’d say that I have done it and got something out of it, now it’s time to move on. Find something that inspires you even more and move ahead.
FBB Femina Miss India 2015 experience?
Sailex: When I got approached for it, it was by the main sponsor of Femina Miss India, FBB. I believe it’s a future retail group and it’s called Future Big Bazar, I guess. Before it used to be Pantaloons and I thought they were still the one. This time it was FBB. So, they approached me to make a collection on the lines that they have in the market right now. So I went for a meeting with them to see exactly what they are doing. To be precise, they are into this price market, example Big Bazaar. So they wanted the collection to be related to them but not completely, as they wanted a young but elegant look. That’s where I came in. I was clear that I will hear the brief but the signature will be mine. So that’s what I did but again, after doing Fashion Week, I come from a space where it was very limited, minimal stuff even though there is lot of things happening. For example, when I do embroidery or texture, I do a tone-on-tone wear, you come close and you can see those. That’s how I have treated all my shows. It`s never been jarring on the face. It`s always been understated. However, this time it was a different experience all together.
So, by the time I reached there, they saw the clothes were subdued/ understated and they said, “Oh My God, these clothes are so elegant. We should do something about this!!” and I went “Excuse me??!!” “What is that supposed to mean.” They said, “We have to make it more cheap” and I went again, “now what those that mean!” “Isn’t elegant good?”
After that they showed me the set which was like crystals and this and that, hanging everywhere. I was thinking, the girls will go there and they will get lost. So I didn’t know what to do. But then I fought for it, saying “I don’t want to put anything just for the hack of it. You should have told me earlier. Give me a brief properly. I can also do bling properly! Or if you wanted bling, you should have got another designer, why me?” It was fun but eventually in the end it did look nice because the girls, in the first two rounds, everything was blingedout. Saree round, lots of colours and the jewellery brand coming with this big diamond danglers. I was stuck in between. Wanted to make long dresses but I could not do it as they wanted short ones. With a bit of negotiation on the length, we finally made something young. The choreography was also done properly. Altogether, it came out really nice.
One thing I did realize that TV and Shows, they are poles apart. All the bling and make-up look good on TV, however, we try and get away from all these in Fashion Week, minimal make-up and things like that.
Will you be doing more of FBB in the future?
Sailex: It’s not about me approaching them. It’s about them approaching me. If they liked what we have done last time, I believe they will approach me again. Why not? So same thing, I have done another show which is my Summer resort line at Lakme Fashion Week which was in collaboration with Reliance footprint. They were happy and I hope they get back to me..ask me to do it again.
Fashion industry is glamorous industry for us common lots. What do you have to say?
Sailex: Fashion industry to a lot of people, especially to a lot of students, it looks very glamorous. They say it’s a life of glamour, it’s about parties, everything is surreal, socializing, music, dance, trance, ok… if you are actually in the shoes of a designer, I would say it’s the exact opposite. You don’t get much time to actually do all these things.. I am not saying that you cannot do it but when you are serious about your work, these things become secondary after a certain point. For example, you have a show tomorrow to cater to and you are a perfectionist, you want everything to be done well and proper. You have an opening party in the evening, what would you do? Go to the party or make sure at least your collection is perfect?
It’s not very glamorous by the way; it’s a lot of hard work.
Did you face any discrimination, you being from a North-East state?
Sailex: Not really, even if they do, I don’t really care. Seriously. It does not really matter to me if my friends call me ‘Chinky’ or ‘Nepali’ and go on with the “can you get me some Momos” and this and that. It used to bother me at one point in time but not really. People think I didn’t even snap back or say something mean but I don’t. I just smile back and go away. Why waste your energy?!!
Do you feel that you have influence youth today?
Sailex: I don’t know if I have influenced youth. When I started, I heard a lot of my mother’s friends say why is he doing this Fashion thingy.. You know people in Manipur, where they think people make/ stitch just blouse and nothing else. I don’t blame them as well because blouse is something that they wear here and we don’t have much of a choice. Our society is restricted to so many things, even if they want to wear something as there is no choice anyways.
Being said that, I have a lot of people who call me, asking for directions and fact today, one of the MLA’s daughter is coming to seek some advice.
How would you direct youngsters who have a passion for designing clothes and want to pursue a career in the industry?
Sailex: They should be focused. I had started thinking even before my 12thstandard in school. Because if you really want to get into it, it’s not like giving an exam or paying for a college; it’s about the drive in you which is very important and I always say, if you are getting into it because of the glamour part of it then you should not get into it. Of course glamour is there but it ends fairly quickly. It’s more of hard core work. Forget designing and stuff, just coming to a point is a lot of hard work.. You think you have cracked it but then there’s more. We always work under pressure because fashion is something that is very short lived. Spring-Summer and the Autumn-Winter, it’s always changing and then in the next go, no one cares about the last time. Colour changes, famous print you have to be in-tune with everything. You have to be up-to-date.
People who want to do it, before 12th itself they should research on what they want to do and how to do it. Start applying for least get materials that help them. I think NIFT exams have happened and that information should have been in their heads already.
Options are always there. If you have money, you can go anywhere. NIFT and NID are on the top in India but then you have options like Pearls Fashion Academy and other such institutes.
The faculty in NIFT actually grills you and makes something out of you. You appear for an all India exam and the faculty has the right to flunk you anytime, But then in other private colleges, I think the institutes runs on the mercy of the students where they pay lakhs of rupees every semester. Students play a very important role. I just realized as I have been teaching in Indore, the students come whenever they want to. In NIFT case, if they don’t come they get flunked. The seriousness is over there.
Which institutes do you prefer apart from NIFT? Or youth can pursue fashion on their own?
Sailex: Just to be a designer, it’s not a difficult task. I think there are a lot of tailors here in this country that produce beautiful outfits and a lot of others who call themselves without even doing anything. The thing is, if you want to make it as a lifelong career, I think it is important that you know certain technicality and what you are getting into. In the long run, when people question you, there should not be a point that leaves you blank. You should know your thing and what you are doing. When you are talking about necklines, I believe one should know the different technicalities involved and be a part of the conversation. If you get into a corporate fashion environment, you need the knowledge.. I know the bookish knowledge only does not help but then the terms and techniques in a training that’s important.
What is your advice to the young designers out there who have just stepped on the ladder?
Sailex: I’d say don’t expect too much, just give your best. Don’t thing that you are too good or you are the best because the day you start thinking this, that’s the end of it. For me.. I can be happy about where I am but everyday I’m like .. I have to evolve, I have to evolve. They should be open to ideas and work and working in a team really matters. You can’t do it alone in the fashion industry.  
Success Mantra?
Sailex: Just believe in yourself. Don’t let other people or don’t let anybody get you down. Nobody has the right to make you feel bad. That’s what I have been telling, even your own parents. Do what you think is right and always be focused.
What do you have to say to the YOUTH of today?
Sailex: Don’t be scared to dream. It always starts there.
There’s nothing called destiny. You make your own destiny by working towards it. And that thing starts from a dream.
Fashion tips:
Sailex: For girls, don’t try much.
For guys, stick to basics.

An advisory from Nazia Hafiz
She got into fashion because of the zeal in her, the urge to create and expand her creativity. She’s had much experience during her childhood and her college days in London and Italy that led her to become a successful international fashion designer. She shares some tips with Youth Street News on how to get started with fashion designing and sustain the enthusiasm that will lead to an interesting and rewarding career.
  “I don’t think that youngsters who have just graduated from the 10th standard should look for options or programmes that relate to fashion designing at that time. Rather, they should concentrate on their education and get the best out of the knowledge that they get exposed to. Education is very much important as that builds a base for all ideas and understanding in general and also enhances creativity for those in their field of work later when required. I highly recommend that you study as much as possible in order to gain this base.”
“After completing the 12th standard, I’d say that’s the ideal time to pursue that goal you always wanted. Look for entrance exams within the country for NIFT or NID while doing your research on these colleges. It’s important to understand what you are looking for. Fashion designing can relate to various spheres such as textiles, women’s wear, accessories, men’s wear, shoes, so on and so forth. One has to understand what suits them and which institute offers the likes of it. For sure, these institutes crack, break and mold you in making you an excellent designer. Further, I would however like to emphasise on taking the study abroad. I say this because the training and education provided abroad is different than what is being taught in India. In institutes abroad, professors examine you during the first few semesters before giving you directions. They see your existing skills and decide on which sphere to send you off, therefore providing you the path to excellence.”
“I don’t see a reason why your interest should die off during your pursue of the career because you develop such an attachment with the steam that when you see something, you think about your next design. For example, you see a monument that captures your eye instantly; you should be thinking where or how to use that on your art platform. If you get too lazy, I’d suggest you get someone to look after you, pay them if required because you are going to benefit in the end.
Most importantly, please carry a sketch book. The sketch book is not for making random sketches but for drawing your ideas that pop-up out of the blue or after looking at something or somewhere. It is a must as you have a rough of your designs, patterns, structure, etc. that you can use. For example, after visiting a museum, you will be bombarded with historical pieces which you can relate to. You have to go back home and research on those structures and understand what went on into the minds of these designers at their time. Does not mean that you should copy the art, but understand the mindset of those designers so that you can make designs of your own.”
“By the end of graduation, one should fully understand the sections of fashion designing and therefore have no confusions on which path or steam to follow. Internships are a must at this point, if not done before during graduation. You enhanced skill set as well as the theory classes come into play. Also understand that you will learn much more that what you have done in college during an internship. Further studies are fine, but opt for an internship first.”
Youth Street News also had a chance to get in touch with these young and dynamic designers who are living the dream. Their perception may differ from what you have in mind in terms of fashion. Read on:
SakshiSaigal, a 25-year-old young Creative Director at Afrah Boutique who is aNIFT graduate shares her views; “Fashion is all about what's going to be the next key trend. It is really important for a designer to be aware of the trends and keep designing.” Further, she adds a trend that’s up and present, “Summer caps are in trend, they work perfectly to go with indo-western look to give a feminine and elegant look. Florals are again a blooming flow this summer as put in embroideries and prints as well. Combinations of neutral tones with neon are also a trend this season.” “Looking fabulous is all about knowing what looks good on you. One should discover how to make simple adjustments in their wardrobe and shopping habits,” she quotes. “We are all here to unleash our greatest beauty potential, for less time and money; you don't need a model’s physique or the flashiest of clothes to look good. Just be confident whatever you carry on to yourself for the day,” she advises.  
Being a graduate from International Polytechnic for Women, Delhi in 2009, the 27-year-old YerimayoLuireiwo is presently working at Nirvanaland as a designer and manager. She is also a freelance designer. She puts her words of inspiration in terms of fashion, “To me, fashion is a way of being bold and unique by showing you can set trends as well as follow. It is all about feeling good and comfortable of what we are wearing. Fashion is fun too.” She specializes in western pattern with indigenous traditional prints. On the current trend, she quotes, “There are ubiquitous design, pattern, print and colour being explored. With changing season, trends follow suit. The current popular trend for this spring/summer is flare pants with colourful cropped tops.”
She also has advised our young readers, “Wear what you feel good and comfortable. Though a designer, I don't wear (the appealing but monotonous) high heels, short and fancy outfits all the time. I prefer comfortable clothing along with the need of the occasion.”
Surjakumari B Sharma, a 27-year-old fashion designer, is a partner of Afrah Boutique. She is also a graduate from International Polytechnic for Women. She explains her interest in fashion and how her parents played a major role in getting the career that she always wanted, “I love designing dresses, it's my hobby since I was a child. I am indebted a lot to my Mom and Dad because they are the ones who guided me, who taught me everything to become what I'm now. My Mom used to teach me stitching, knitting, making dolls with the clothes in spare times since I was a child. That's how designing and fashion became an interest to me.  Most importantly, after my 12th standard, my Dad is the one who insisted me to take the course on textile designing. Sometimes I shed my tears remembering all those episodes. I had never dreamt of becoming a designer. I'm much thankful again to both my Mom and Dad as they are the ones who guide me to become what I am now.” Further she talks about fashion sense and womanhood, “I love Indian traditional dress. It reflects a very strong sense of feminism for every woman. It brings Indian women to a certain level where they can rather be more gorgeous with a touch of right amount of accessories. So, this is the only reason why I'm focusing mainly on Indian Ethnic wear. Including me, each n every woman in corner of India enjoy wearing Indian Ethnic Outfits. Whenever we tried a Saree or a Lehanga or a Sharara and stand in front of mirror, what really struck our mind is the feeling of womanhood. This is the same feeling during childhood when we were playing with dolls and Barbie figures. Designing such outfits brings so much joy. I'm so glad that I'm able to make these outfits for the gorgeous women of India. The only thing I need to have while designing a particular outfit is choosing the right colour, the right fabric, the right embroidery. Once the selection is done, only then I can start making that particular outfit. Golden floral pattern embroidery is a must in making Indian traditional dress these days, I would say.”
“Further, we need to have much confidence while making a particular outfit, even if it’s on trial. If you get confused while wearing a particular outfit that makes it too flashy, please keep it simple and genuine, be original, otherwise you'll ruin the fashion sense in yourself and that's scary, OMG, it is!!!!! For this summer, I am using cotton silk, Chanderi silk, Georgette with delicate and light embroidery with a mix blend of flashy colours.”
“Nowadays, people tend to wear crop top with skirt, crop top with saree. Crop top is currently the hot topic in fashion industry. It creates a sense of spiciness and smartness to the beauty. Me as an artist, I'm trying to bring the same flavour to the traditional outfits with the right amount of ingredients. It is also very comfortable to wear as well. The outfit translates to round in the neck area, a bit lower in the waistline when compared with our regular blouses. This mix blend of western wears and our traditional outfits should paint the happening this season.”

So dandy folks, as now you know the Dos and Don’ts of being in fashion and its industry; go out there and nail it. Yes, world is your canvas and paint it with fashion. Good luck.

Read 646 times Last modified on Wednesday, 12 September 2018 14:21

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