THE TWENTY-FIFTH INSTALLATION OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES
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I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like you to take a little bit of your time to realize how incredible the women around you are. Especially if you are a woman! I know that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way.
I think unconsciously I wanted to be designer since I was a baby and my mom used to dress me in clothes she uses to sew. I was her dress dummy/baby doll she wanted to play dressing to make me pretty.
It took me to UK and fashion world there just captured me like a drug and since then it’s been my life, and a very happy life.
3) How was the transition from Sri Lanka for you? How did it change you as a person?
It was very easy and smooth. I was well prepared by AOD ( Academy of design ) in Sri Lanka, what’s to expect etc plus the groundwork of fashion history, in general. So I was already educated about fashion by the time I got to the UK, From there onwards it was more about getting to know the world of fashion from an International point of view. As a person, it changed my mindset in looking at life and a career.
I was instantly in love with fashion, the trends, the inspirations and the whole routine lifestyle.
It made me think outside of the box as cliché as it may sound, but it does really make you think and push your boundaries. So you what’s wearable fashion and what’s crazy fashion is.
4) What inspired you to come back to Sri Lanka and start a business? What were the unexpected challenges you faced starting a business?
I always wanted to create an identity and a brand in Sri Lanka, it was never about the international establishment when I left the country. My goal was to gain international exposure, come back to Sri Lanka and then established myself as a recognizable fashion designer. Plus, at the time I came back, there were already well established senior designers in Sri Lanka and doing great stuff, I and a few other designers just became the second tidal wave of fashion designers to concentrate on a more intricate, detail, couture wear.
Challenges were many, while there are certain designers who are genuinely happy and help each other, this is a cut-throat industry.
As a designer establishing your own fashion identity in an outfit was one of biggest challenges, so that when someone sees an outfit they know, wow this is an INDI outfit, also not having a proper platform to showcase a collection was an issue. Luckily for me Colombo Fashion Week and its President Ajai Vir Singh picked me up and gave me a runway to showcase my latest collection to the elite of Colombo and Internationally.
5) Who or what inspires you as a person?
Personally – I’m inspired by my mom and her life, it’s her blessing I’m carrying along with my father’s guidance. Professionally – Colombo Fashion Week management always pushes my limits when it comes to collections and what silhouettes, styles, trends I should showcase etc., so they inspire me a lot. Collections – I’m always inspired by what I see or hear when I’m doing my latest Spring Summer or Resort collections. Plus, I got a great bunch of friends around me, who makes sure I get Inspired by something new always and make sure not Copy other international or local designers.
6) For you what has been your biggest success since you launched your business?
For me, success has come in stages, since 2010.
To me and my team success is not a trophy, recognition or showcasing a collection at an international show, they are more about satisfaction and accomplishments or person happiness.
To us, success is growth, the growth of my business, my brands, my clients, myself as a designer and success is definitely not how superior or better than another designer brand in Sri Lanka.
I’m lucky to have 3 brands under the house of Indi, we have INDI which is the signature couture wear, we have IYA Bride and iBride Bridal Lounge and then INDI Diva, which is my diffusion line. These have all come at different stages in my life and has made me more successful as a person than I was before. The above is all thanks to people like you and others who believe in House of Indi to dress you fashionable for any occasion.
7) For you what makes your bridal wear different from all the rest?
As a bridal designer, we are still relatively new, compared to senior bridal designers in Sri Lanka. We try new things with fabrics, drapes, we try to modernize the styles while maintaining the same old traditions in a Sri Lanka bride and not ruin the elegance/heritage glamour. But the biggest difference we want to have is; Silhouettes, the modern woman comes in all shapes and sizes. My team makes sure we provide a significant difference in service and customization. We don’t like most bridal designers have one set silhouette/ style/pattern cut for every bride; we change it to match the bride’s body size, height, bust size, hip size and even how tall is your future husband again.
8) Beyond your business, what do you love to do with your free time?
I hardly get much free time, but whenever I do you would see me as a foodie, who loves dining out, hang out with my close-knit group of friends. I love shopping and a bit of pampering myself after a stressful bridal season or Colombo Fashion Week. Finally, we have a lot of BBQ and Drinks at home for family and friends.
9) What is the best piece of business advice or personal advice you have been given and why?
The biggest challenge is not trying and that goes to anyone, if you want to be your own boss and have a business, you need to go for it, then dream about it, while working for someone else.
My challenge was that I was unsure If I can achieve the goals I wanted, Will I have clients, Will clients like my designs etc. Once you plan short-term and long-term goals you have answers to your challenges is something I discovered at an early stage of by solo business career.
Believe in yourself and remember everyone who works for you is replaceable, even yourself as the owner when the correct CEO / Manager / Director comes, the owner can step aside too.
Personally – My dad, the fact a parent saying, do what makes you happy from a younger age, motivates you and sets the tone what your future is going to look like.
8) How can the modern Sri Lankan bride stay up to date with wedding trends in your opinion?
1. Trust your designer, give them the freedom to design.
2. Open a Pinterest board about 12 months before your big day and start pinning, you will get some great ideas.
3. Subscribe, if possible to an online bridal magazine like Harper’s Bazaar Bride or Kushmag or Crimson Bride
4. For more traditional trends, we got some great Bridal shows in Sri Lanka and Exhibitions, visit them.
5. AGAIN, TRUST YOUR DESIGNER, don’t be a bridezilla and ask for a bridal outfit of another bride, she might be of different height, different skin tone, different waist and hips etc.
9) What are your future hopes and dreams for the business?
Personally, our aim is to do more fashion weeks in the international market and as a business, we want to concentrate on servicing our clients to the best way possible with the latest trends and styles creating fashion to the everyday woman in an everyday size.
END OF INTERVIEW
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