We are attempting to keep our traditional crafts alive: Sonali Awasthi, founder of “Spoil Me Silly”

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India has a stronghold over the fashion industry globally. With a rich heritage and culture to influence the designs, it is no surprise that even the West is inspired by our designers.

Ethnic wear is becoming increasingly more popular for all occasions amongst the upper as well as the middle class. Understanding of the body type, the traditional weaves, the colours and dyes plays an important role in the creation of any garment, especially if it to be customised.

Customisation is what everyone looks for these days and “Spoil Me Silly” does this best! A stand-alone store in Mumbai that caters to ethnic wear which can be customised as per your taste. Expresso caught up with the founder, Sonali Awasthi, to gain more insights on trending fashion and how they keep up to date.

Expresso: Fashion and Style mean to you…

Sonali: Fashion and styling-they’re two very different concepts- fashion is art and design… it revolves around and conveys the thoughts of the artist, the reflection of a singular psyche; styling is how one uses the designs that fashion begets to create a look that is ultimately true not only to the artist but also to the wearer.

Fashion is temporary, it deals with current trends; styling deals in elegance- it is timeless.

That is what styling means to me, and SMS as a whole- a means of expression that centres around you- your style, your personality, your confidence- but stays true to the maker too. And this is what we do to- we style our customers in fabrics that we ensure stay true to the craftsmen that created them.

Expresso: How do you update yourself with the industry and in-depth knowledge of the trends, past and the latest?

Sonali: I do not think “Spoil Me Silly” trades in trends- we leave that to the bigger brands, our designs supersede trends, go above mere, superficial changes in consumer tastes and remain firmly rooted in tradition- we use the fabric styles of old- Ajrakh/Daboo block printing, Ikat weaving, Lambani embroidery- and this transverse the ripples of time and remain, essentially, always in demand.

We travel extensively to work with our weavers and block printers and attempt to learn their age-old crafts. We adapt these to modern sensibilities, designing them with a contemporary twist and adapting them to today’s women. In a nutshell, we are attempting to bridge the gap between the old and the new, presenting the old and the traditional in new packaging. We are attempting to keep our traditional crafts alive. Our aim is to make our classics stay forever relevant.

Expresso: Understanding of different face and body type along with different silhouettes isn’t easy, how do you handle this?

Sonali: There are myriad theories that exist in how to deal with varying body types whether it is using lighter colours on thinner people or vertical-moving patterns on fatter ones. But going beyond mere theories that are, now, available a-dime-a-dozen on the internet. I firmly believe that people dictate the clothes and not the other way around- when recommending styles and clothes we more often consider someone’s personality, their established personal style, their ability to carry a particular piece rather than rudimentary physical limitations like the size. How do we work with differing bodies? Simple, we ignore them and look at the soul within.

Expresso: Today, the styling industry has an established stand in the fashion domain, how do you think you can value add with your expertise and help youth to make it a career?

Sonali: The youth is new, experimental and this nature of theirs, their ability to think beyond what we, settled adults can, is often not praised but vilified. If by highlighting a new path, by showing the youth that the path well-trodden is not always the path that is right, by showing the youth new avenues to venture down and new niches to explore and setting before them examples of people who did choose to go a different way, I think that is how small, niche enterprises like mine can further the youth’s ambition.

Expresso: “Spoil me Silly” is a brand which loves the purity of natural handwoven fabrics and the distinct handloom weaves of India, how does your range of products cater to daily wear and also wider audience looking at being classy trendsetters?

Sonali: Our apparel ranges were designed keeping in mind modern, women- those who indulged in the various walks of life that entails- be it work or a party. Our original range, thus, daily wore- they were simple to clean designs, in simple, traditional fabrics for simple traditional women.

But for those who wish to be a step ahead of the rest, who wish to be noticed, who wish to stand out, we slowly ventured into designs that, whilst staying true to our roots, explored whole new worlds.

We had craftsmen in West Bengal paint traditional pattachitra designs on our sarees. we’ve had experimental designs made from dried bamboo, designs painted on blouses inspired by Indian festivals and tied up with NGOs to create unique blouses embroidered with designs revolving around women in the handicraft industry.

Soon a new collection involving lambani embroidery will be launched for those who want something unique yet cemented in our nation’s culture.

 

 

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