This is the story of a life devoted to fashion since the beginning. “You remember that one kid in your class who would decorate each and every page of her notebook, teacher’s pet , would spend hours making diagrams and spoil bedsheets while painting and will never go outside to play , I was that kid, almost became a doctor but chose to decorate , sketch and design for rest of my life . My parents supported me and my mother told me no matter what ever I chose for myself, I had to excel in it. I got an opportunity to study in best of fashion schools there is, travel to wonderful places, meet very influential people and marry an incredible man, who later pushed me to pursue my long lost dream to create my own brand, when I almost gave up on the idea in a moment of self doubt. So January 2017 I created my first collection and was over whelmed with the response I got from people all over , Just when you start to loose confidence in yourself the random unexpected appreciation you get, helps you move forward, and since then it is a busy label with so many collaborations, followers and brand loyal customer base. I believe if we keep moving froward consistently it is going to leave an impact. Its a form of creating art.”
What’s the concept of your latest collection? When I first decided to create a collection I wanted to approach fashion from practical point of view, one professor once told me that ‘ do not create anything that you cannot imagine yourself in’ Muse is good ,but to start your journey you need to look within.Fashion pieces that you imagine yourself in , style that is true to yourself ,that you think is missing from the market, price point , quality that you seek , and your contribution to the existing art forms.
The main inspiration came from all the digital art magazines , contemporary artists, designers I started to follow on various social media platforms, I stopped working after I got married and had nothing but time on my hands (which sounds good at first but is depressing at the end )and it became an escape from my real life and my way to connecting to art .Like a visual stimuli, a curated art gallery on your phone , my phone had thousand of screenshots that inspired or moved me in some way and it sort of made a mood board for me in itself.It weaved a pattern which I later translated into the collection.It was so complicated and had to be simplified in my own personal way.Its not a particular art movement , painting or an object , its everything, digital artists, photographers, memes, trend blogs, digital art curators, gossip stations, music , movies ,If I am blessed in a time when I can access anything or everything , why not turn it into an inspiration then a place with no meaning. I have heard so many people condemning internet for its vastness and how its boring and confusing but so is real world. And for me , when I was unable to go anywhere or do anything that made an impact it really helped me to create something so emotional based on one’s attention span and millions of people with different backgrounds responding to it.It makes you feel a part of this vast community.
How do you choose the materials and how do you work with them? At the conception of the brand ,first idea was to find one core fabric, material that will be the signature aspect of our brand and it had to be cashmere and everything else will revolve around it, it being the center of the collection .I was raised in a small town in Himachal , (Land of Himalayas) and all my life I grew up appreciating handlooms, the effort and love that goes into making this soft feather like material with all the warmth in the world like a mother’s embrace. I had written a book on the process back in a day and had spent a lot of time understanding its origin and evolution over the years. So I travelled further deep and chose cashmere from Nepal and then brought them back in India and hand embroidered them along with other hand embroidered pieces in the collection.As a child long before fashion happened to me I had an inclination for things that involved manual hand work , there was something every artistic about the patience that goes into making each and every art form , from painting to sculpture to even building a pieces of chair from simple log of wood, it was fascinating and it had to be incorporated in each and every piece in the collection.
How does the place you live in affect your design? I am married in Mumbai (land of Bollywood- Indian film industry), work in Delhi (capital city) , my maternal house is in Himachal (Himalayas) and we recently partly shifted to Dubai (UAE) and I left a piece of my heart in Italy back when I went to study there . So I am pretty much on the move all the time , basically living out of my suitcase .Initially this delayed my plans to start a brand but turned out to be blessing in disguise. All the places have different set of people, purpose,weather, needs ,occasions and demographics . I noticed that I packed different for different places but there were some essentials that were always in my bag , from an evening dress, to a pair of pants to a cashmere pullover for the flights to a scarf just in case ,which prompted the first idea to create versatile mix and match pieces to create a bridge between cultures and places.I realized that the appreciation of beauty , rhythm , quality and balance is similar no matter where you go , thus when you create something based on these principals its going to effect people in the same way, no matter where they come from.That’s how tourism works isn’t it. Someone somewhere created something beautiful and people from allover the world travels down to appreciate it.
What’s the future of fashion according to you? Fashion is all about consumption at the moment and everybody needs a piece of it , I think the whole facade of reality stars , socialites , celebrities starting their namesake lines, being sold out in mere minutes ,based on their popularity and own personal style, social media influencers is only aggravating the disposable generation that we are today.But I genuinely feel people will be more aware , selective and sustainable in their fashion choices, appearance and their carbon footprint in future.I am very positive about it , this bubble is soon going to burst and fashion will be more centric, individualistic and timeless. The more self aware we will be, the more versatility will be seen around , other then wearing fast fashion as some kind of uniform to fit in or blind following without accepting your own sense of style and personality.
What’s your next project? I am working on my next collection at the moment , thus trying out my hand in different hand embroideries, fabric dyeing techniques,weaving methods and few brand collaborations are in pipeline in lifestyle and jewelry sector as well .Other then that I am painting at the moment for an exhibition in January 2018, and my husband is a movie producer so hopefully we create something meaningful together this coming year.
Instagram: @Manishii_official @Manishii_Indian @Manishiixcollab