Designing for posterity

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Aug 2017 11:30:24


 

By ishani pankule,

The designer, with an eponymous label, believes that each garment she creates is deeply rooted in the Indian spirit and effortlessly modern. Her lack of formal training in designing in fact has helped her to create her own design vocabulary absorbed in various Indian crafts blended with Western technical skills of construction and finish.


For those who believe fashion is fickle and changes with every season, here is one designer who feels that each garment that she creates is a piece of art, to be cherished and passed down from one generation to another. Starting small 15 years back, Nikita Mhaisalkar has come a long way and is now a known name in Nagpur’s fashion circles. The self-trained designer is now all set to make her debut at the prestigious Lakme Fashion Week 2017. She has been chosen as one of the top 15 emerging designers in Nagpur. It is huge achievement and only a few designers from across the country have managed to grab a slot in the biggest fashion extravaganza in the country.


“I have an academic background in management but always had an eye for fine details, colours and textures. There was never any confusion. Whatever I was to do, it had to be with arts,” Nikita asserts.


Coming from a business family, Nikita did her MBA in Entrepreneurship Studies. “Of course, my degree is definitely helping me in managing my unit and in the meanwhile, I have completed two degrees in fashion designing and am now pursuing advanced course too.”


Nikita has words of high praise for Nagpurians’ fashion sense and choice. “I was very apprehensive when I started out. Nagpur was a new place for me when I shifted base after marriage. But to my surprise and delight, I was accepted with open arms. The struggle period was not very long. People, in Nagpur, have a discerning eye and are as, if not more, updated with fashion as in metros,” she adds.
In fact, Nikita feels that working from Nagpur helped her evolve tremendously as designer.

The city provided her with a perfect practice platform, allowing her to polish her craft and rectify the mistakes. Nikita now supplies to almost 15 stores across the country and her on-line collection is a huge hit abroad too. In fact 85 per cent is her business is now out of Nagpur.


The designer, with an eponymous label, believes that each garment she creates is deeply rooted in the Indian spirit and effortlessly modern. Her lack of formal training in designing in fact has helped her to create her own design vocabulary absorbed in various Indian crafts blended with Western technical skills of construction and finish.


“My signature look is celebration wear which is contemporary and edgy. The focus is on the use of Indian crafts such as signature hand screen prints, block prints , hand cutwork, zardozi and nakshi juxtaposed with modern fabrics like neoprene and stretchable silks.”


Talking of the Lakme Fashion Week, Nikita feels proud that she gained an entry after passing through all the grueling phases of the competition. More than 100 designers from across the country were vying for a showing, but only a few got in. “I went through all the basic phases. Fill the form, send the sketches, several rounds of interviews. It was tough but that made the feeling of coming on top all the more sweet,” she adds.


Talking about her latest collection to be showcased in Mumbai, Nikita says, “the collection is all about oversized shapes. I have used a forgotten Indian craft ‘Badla-Taar’ to embellish the garments. The look is very international and I have used a lot of knits. There is a balance of abstract shapes in heavy knits.


The collection comprises of bulky sweaters, tailored trenches, sharp trousers, exaggerated turtlenecks and many outer wear staples. It is high-pret with a dramatic flair. And of course, I have a show-stopper but that will be revealed only during the show on 18th” she informs.
After being on the city’s fashion scene for 15 long years, one wonders why Nikita waited so long for the massive exposure that the LFW has to offer.


“I was waiting for my boys to grow up. My work revolves around the time they need. My sons, 11 and 9, are now grown enough to understand my work. Still my routine is as per their schedule. With my husband travellimg a lot, I make sure at least one of us is with the kids always. In fact this is the first time that I will leave them alone for as long as 8 days when I go for LFW,” Nikita says, with a nervous chuckle.


“The biggest compliment I get for all the years of hard work is when people tell me that they are still wearing a garment I designed 10 years back or that they have passed on pieces to their daughters. I aim to create pieces of art, garments that are effortlessly stylish and to be coveted and cherished,” says Nikita as she signs off.