by Vijaya Durga Ram

Regardless of shape, size or style…a saree looks great on every woman.

We have seen a huge lifestyle shift and culture change, where we accepted the western wardrobe graciously and have made tremendous advancement towards experimenting pretty much all the styles we see on the international magazine and yet, a SAREE somehow always fits in, stays perfectly in trend and will always do.

Through different generations, it has been worn in so many different styles.

And, I would say, that’s the best part! Let’s get creative and add in a streak of our own style to the blouses! 


A saree is the trendiest wear for girls! It looks more comfortable and stylish for women. However, the blouse is what makes or the breaks the perfect saree look. It’s is the vital element of the saree look. Every year we are blessed with new saree blouse designs. Here, we have a shirt blouse that is draped with an indigo-dyed saree. The abstract elements on the blouse makes it trendier as by combining both traditional and fusion elements. 

Here are some of the looks that I found really interesting!

Pradaini Surva, fashion model.

A Sheath turtleneck top, with an illusion neckline that just grabs the look of this simple and elegant cotton saree to the next level. The waist belt and the shoes add an extra fusion vibe to the look!

You Need To Check Out Sabyasachi’s New Collection Which Is Perfect For Summer Brides!

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Sabyasachi’s  Fiza – Spring Summer 2019 collection has made us go wowww! Everything from the silhouettes to the cuts, created over a series of adorable colour palettes, left us in awe! The exquisite jewellery, flowy embroidered fabrics and the strikingly shot collection have us glued to his Instagram profile, as he updated one post after another. We also noticed a freshness in styling and also, instead of going heavy on jewellery he switched to dainty but timeless pieces, super apt for summers. Is that an inception of a new trend?!  Whatever it may be, but it literally melted our weak hearts.


Yami Gautham,Actor.

Indigo dyed Indo-western saree with a mustard embroidered shrug!


Taapse Pannu,Actor.

Taapse Pannu at one her recent movie promotions, wore a thin striped shirt blouse and saree. It came off too strong on her and I just found it overwhelming!

The tie and the bindi just make it look effortlessly stylish yet traditional!





Dressire x Designers : Aamna Singh “Divinitti”

Label Divinitti is a premium and contemporary womenswear and accessories brand by fashion industry expert Aamna Singh. We distribute fabrics to trade customers, both wholesale and retail throughout the UK and India. (Elite fabrics/Designer pcs/stitched/semi stitched to state a few  ) and we only do corporates and Exhibitions.
Among the pieces on display are the label’s hand curated/ handpicked hugely influential “designs, offering visitors something they would love to add to their wardrobe.
Combining eclectic mix of textures, colours and silhouettes, Label Divinitii is focused with a signature identity our customers relish.

What sparked your interest in fashion?

I love the power of clothing and the transformative quality of dressing up. I think my love of fashion has always been there for as long as I can remember. I enjoy doing crafty things at home; art, drawing, small sewing projects, knitting, cross stitch, embroidery, etc.




How would you describe your brand?

Label Divinitti is a mix of several influences including contemporary and western. I love the delicate craftsmanship of Indian artisans and also showcasing high quality fabrics.




What is the inspiration behind your designs?

Inspiration can strike when you least expect it. A lot of the influences come from my travels, flamboyant textiles, bold colours and flattering cuts. Everybody is looking for things that are difficult to find, so I strive to strike a balance between what’s in trend and my individual signature.



What are the key elements for you when designing a collection for each season?

In general, we all search for inspiration in the same places: fashion blogs, movies, and travels, but the element that will make any work stand out is the personal interpretation of those things. For me, it may be a certain colour story or silhouette or fabric that I’m drawn to, so I may use this as the foundation for the collection.

What challenges did you face when launching your brand?

It is really difficult to be a fashion start up nowadays simply because there are so many brands competing out there. The industry is crowded and consequently it gets harder to sell and make your mark. From the organisational point, there are so many areas that need to be covered before launching (business plan, capital, vendors, design, production etc.) and then many practical elements once you are up and running (creating your niche, marketing, developing the brand, collaborations, etc.). Having said that, I think the biggest challenge I have faced is balancing family life (I’m blessed with 2 kids), plus running another business alongside (a thriving playschool) which left me with limited time to develop Label Divinittii.


What are your plans for the future?

As a new brand I believe in the importance of collaborations so I’m always engaging with emerging brands – in particular the ones that resonate with Label Divinitti’s aesthetic. I plan to open up couple stores over the next year as well as showcasing my collection in independent boutiques.


What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?

Be prepared to make lots of mistakes but know those mistakes are your learning curve. Also, if you want to take it seriously you need clarity and passion. Without passion, our dreams become a burden and nobody achieves great success if they feel stressed all the time. So have fun whilst you are at it!


What advice would you give to young women readers who want to follow a similar career path as you?

Research and write a business plan! Ask questions and get out there and talk to your ideal customer and/or mentors. Choose who you work with, be organized and enjoy the whole process!



What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

I’ve learned that in any business you depend on many, many people to make things happen so you need to assemble a great team of people to do things well.



Dressire x Designers : Rinkoo Shroff




Rinkoo shroff -The label

A beautiful studio in Noida for apparels, with a tagline EVERYTHING DESIRED for over a decade that has pret, couture, fusions to formals and casuals to bridal especially for women and coordinates for men.


What is the inspiration behind your designs?
The inspiration behind my designs is opulence with glamour. For strong women who can carry anything and everything with elegance.
What are the key elements for you when designing a collection for each season?
The key element is the fabric and the finesse in work.
What challenges did you face when launching your brand?
Challenges I faced and I’m still facing is managing the whole show single handedly and oscillating  between my family and work.
What are your plans for the future?
The future plans are to serve more and to expand.
What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?
The key is to be honest with your work and to maintain business ethics in terms of quality and commitment. Women seldom realize their worth, step out of your fears.
What advice would you give to young women readers who want to follow a similar career path as you?
Those women who want to pursue a similar path, my advice is to follow your passion. Fashion is sexy and its not about the size or colour, it is intelligence and class.
What you will wear with confidence will become fashion.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
Since my childhood, I have read lot of fashion magazine. Burlingtons was my favourite and I’m a creative person. Any form of creativity pacifies my senses and fashion is my passion.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
Not every client is your loyal client. You have to keep evolving your stuff and don’t push yourself to fit into someone else’s wardrobe. Those who have an eye for your product, they will genuinely come to you
Have patience and do good work rather than becoming a lime light seeker.
How would you describe your brand?
Authenticity clubbed with opulence and glamour, along with quality check and commitment in all sorts of apparels.
We embrace our mistakes and rise above criticism as our logo describes.

Dressire x Designers : Kiwi by Musskan


One of the most acknowledged Jewellery Designer, Musskan Agarwaal is the name to reckon with.


Musskan seeks to have a universal appeal with her creations, taking cue from the timeless sensibility that fuses global influences with modern Indian techniques and materials. A graduate from Delhi University, Musskan Agarwaal is an avid arts enthusiast with a strong inclination towards designing jewellery. Mastered from Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery she opened her very first retail store in Delhi by the name of PROROYAL “KIWI by MUSSKAN”.


Musskan’s emphasis on feminism and the shades that she brings out to signify youth, glamour and sophistication are clearly apparent in her collections. Designing for today’s women, who is out to conquer the world with the right attitude and with the kind of jewellery that compliments her aura.


For Musskan, jewellery designing is not work but living her passion & she likes it that way. Her designs are urban & youthful, yet they have a compelling allure of old-world charm. Her jewellery depict a lot of deities from various stories; gorgeous, serene images through use of thoughtful gemstones. Her collections have a lot of Indian earthiness to it portraying her connection with culture & religion.


While on one hand, she chooses not to play safe with her designs, on the other, she is very careful-almost obsessed about adhering to the long-established ways of making handcrafted jewellery. The result is that her brawny jewels possess a radical & fierce spirits with shapes varying from free flowing forms to clean, sharp pattern, mystic motifs to soft & romantic elements.


Musskan Agarwaal’s jewelry exuberate a great deal of spirit and energy with the color’s & designs she feels free to indulge in.


Her Label Kiwi By Musskan is all about dazzling arrays of fashion apparel for just about every women from the daring,the dynamic and dignified,the discerning to the down right difficult!


Musskan has started New line which is all about Customized Jewellery with names engraved. It is currently a  hot- selling trend in Delhi.



My fashion motto?

I have always believed in carrying the fashion that suits your body. My fashion motto stays intact- carry the fashion that suits you!


3 words to describe my sense of style?

Fun, quirky and carefree!


My 5 essential wardrobe elements?

White pants, jacket, a bold neck piece, rings, earrings.


My favourite style influencers?

Sonam kapoor and Deepika Padukone


My favourite party attire?

A bling dress with bold accessories


The worst trend to ever become popular is?

I am not too fond of crop tops!


I’m waiting to splurge on?

A unique handcrafted bold, customized neck piece for myself from Kiwi by Musskan


Dressire x Designers : Harshita Punjabi

Harshita dreamed of being a designer as a little girl, she realized this dream at the age of 20 when she shaped her Indo – Western fusion brand “Jorss”. She graduated from NIFT and soon found herself creating couture for the ‘Modern Indian Woman’.
Jorrs fashion is exclusive, elaborate and elegant. Harshita’s designs are frivolous and tasteful, effective with a variety of textiles and sophisticated embellishments. The heart of her designs lie in one of a kind outfits tailored to perfection for the Urban Woman.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I’ve been interested in fashion since I was literally 10 years of age, I used to stitch clothes for my barbies and sketch outfits back then. Besides that, I would love to go to the tailors and fabric stores, at that age I knew clothing was my calling.
How would you describe your brand?
My brand is for the everyday girl who wants to look different on every occasion, she stands out in the crowd because she’s dressed in Jorss by Harshita Punjabi.
What is the inspiration behind your designs?

My inspiration is the modern day Indian woman, who does everything from taking care of her house and family to handling her career.
What are the key elements for you when designing a collection for each season?
Fabric and colours that suit the season.
What challenges did you face when launching your brand?
Finding the right team was my biggest challenge.
What are your plans for the future?
Plans for the future is to expand as much as I can, to make my label a global name.
What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?
Focus, support of your family and a long term goal are the keys.
What advice would you give to young women readers who want to follow a similar career path as you?
The best advice I can give is to always look into details and make sure you are involved in each and every step of the making of your product.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
Biggest lesson is to innovate and reinvent.
If you would like to be featured next, please send us an email at

Dressire x Designers : Ritambhara Paliya


Ritambhara Paliya whirled into the fashion scene more than a decade ago as a contemporary Indian designer. She had a passion for style since childhood. Born to do fashion designing which she is always very passionate about, she completed her diploma from IIFT (Indian Institute of Fashion Technology).

In her initial days, she teamed up with her mom and worked in her boutique. This is where she understood fabric and clients requirements. Here is where her dream to become a successful fashion designer started to get wings.

She also did modelling and events until in 2012 she opened her own brand RUTTBA.

Ritambhara Paliya today is a force to reckon with in the glamour and fashion industry as a leading Indian base Designer creating something new every day. She has done many Fashion Shows and has been awarded as a ‘Best Designer 2014’.

Expertise, clarity and creativity, humility arising from self-confidence has earned her both respect and clientele

My first store was Ruttba by Ritambhara Paliya in Panipat which she opened in 2012, her second store Ritambhara Paliya was opened in Shahpurjat, Delhi on 30th July, 2017.


How would you describe your brand?

Known for luxury contemporary Indian wear couture, Ritambhara Paliya is a noted name in Indian Fashion Fraternity whose hands are well skilled in designing outfits for women of all ages. She completed her education from Indian Institute of fashion technology and fascinated the world of fashion with her unique and mesmerizing creations, innovative ideas and style in Haute Couture which are modern yet classy. She specializes in evening gowns, lehengas, Anarkalis and maxi dresses. She is also into fairytale and destination wedding couture that are rooted in quintessential Indian sensibilities but with a modern sensibility.



What is the inspiration behind your designs?
Inspiration comes from everywhere! Today’s youth, home decor, wall arts …I mean so many things in daily life.
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What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?
Key to success is for me to give it my best and to maintain my quality. Be true to your clients. When my clients come back and say that they loved the garments, that means everything to me.
What are the key elements for you when designing a collection for each season?
To work only on pure fabrics. Quality comes first in my life.
What challenges did you face when launching your brand?
I think every day is a challenge but no difficulty will ever stop me!
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Dressire x Designers : Jahaan by Nisha Nagpal


Nisha Nagpal is a designer from Delhi. She has displayed her work in many exhibitions through her label, Jahaan.

Jahaan by Nisha features bespoke designer collections and believes strongly in the prime satisfaction of its client. The store is located in Paschim Vihar, Delhi.


How would you describe your brand?
My brand is basically a combination of Indian and western blend. My outfits look equally sexy and beautiful at the same time!
What sparked your interest in fashion?
Fashion is a very big deal now a days. For me, fashion is not just wearing nice clothes, it’s a lifestyle. Everyday is fashion show and the world is the runway.
What is the inspiration behind your designs?
The main inspiration behind my work is my passion for my work and our Indian history and heritage which gets reflected in my creations.
What are the key elements for you when designing a collection for each season?
The key elements when I’m designing for each season is the weather conditions and comfort factor.
What challenges did you face when launching your brand?
The main challenges I faced when I launched my brand was the fear of competition around! I took this as a challenge and started with a very different and wearable collection of outfits which were really appreciated.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the future is launching my designer menswear label.
What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?
The main keys to professional and business success for women in India is references.
Women always share designer names and new trends with her friends and family which makes it very easy to spread the word around and give the best publicity.
What advice would you give to our young women readers who want to follow a similar career path as you?
The best advice I can give to my young women readers is to maintain the clients which come to you and to also manage everything in a well organised manner.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
The biggest lesson I have learnt in my work is to follow my instincts well. One must do business with brains and it should be done professionally, always.
If you would like to be featured next, email us at

Dressire x Designers : Naav by Avneet Adwani

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Naav is handcrafted traditions from the heart, converting into contemporary tales.”

True to this statement, Naav- a contemporary clothing brand is a blend of new era designs and the traditional art.

The vision and mission of Naav is to not just make mainstream garments but to have each of its apparel depict a story which goes behind the process. This makes it more special, not only in appearance but one should be able to feel it. They do not create designs just to sell it but the idea behind it is to show the hard work it takes to make one masterpiece.

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Avneet Adwani has been working in the fashion industry for the past 17 years, she has witnessed a lot of changes in the world of fashion and culture. Despite working with different people around the globe, she is still attached and rooted to our culture and its authenticity. And so she took a step towards designing the garments with the precious art and creativity. She believes in simple and classic work, which reflects in her designs, combining handcrafted motifs and process with new culture designs.

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Preserving the great Indian art and also being close to nature, Naav is into creating sustainable designs. Blending the traditions with western culture, giving it their innovation and keeping in mind the new fashion. Creating apparels that connect to the people making them feel good about it, encouraging the artisans to learn new aspects and to not just hold on to the old techniques which are passed on to them from generations is what Naav is all about.

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Avneet Adwani is a big supporter of women empowerment. She says that her inspiration are these women working with so much hard work and talent along with taking care for their family and children. This is what makes each of her garment worth it.

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 “One of the reasons of starting this brand is to uplift them and give them employment.” says Avneet

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“Everything comes with experience and going step by step is what I do and will do”

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What sparked your interest in fashion?
I have always loved fashion, I can design in my dreams too. I was fortunate to work in our family business to pursue my passion.
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How would you describe your brand?
Naav-  Contemporary and hand crafted styles. I like to make outfits which are timeless. I love getting inspirations from old embroideries, art works and different cultures.
Hand embroideries and block prints are our USP.
We are making all efforts towards making Naav an eco friendly brand. We have stopped using plastic bags and use only paper or Bio degradable bags. We are also making efforts towards using organic dying and printing.
Employing women in Barmer (borders of Rajasthan) for hand embroidery, giving them employment and enhancing their talent is the most satisfying.
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What is the inspiration behind your designs?

Each time I plan a collection, something connects very deeply to my love for old art work, age old embroideries and regenerating dying techniques somehow gives my design sensibility a direction.
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What are the key elements for you when designing a collection for each season?
As I said, I just go with the flow. I love to use hand block print and hand embroideries which are done in Barmer.
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What challenges did you face when launching your brand?
I have been in the fashion industry for over 15 years as our family business is garment export. I have been designing for brands across the globe.
I have always felt the urge to have my own label but with Naav, I have been very impulsive.
One fine day, I decided to just go ahead and start. The brand name is all our family initials, even the logo is designed by my daughter who’s 10. With that, I was good to go. Challenges are always there, it is what makes you keep going. I had great response with selling online but one year down the line, I still got messages everyday from people who insisted on seeing the collection personally. I still haven’t gone ahead with a store.
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What are your plans for the future?
Naav is a almost a year old, now I feel it is good time to expand. I would be looking to set up a store soon. I also have options of various multi brand stores, who would like to collaborate.
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What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?
Multitasking! I feel women in every sector, from small jobs to being CEOs of big companies are so inspiring. They are able to balance home life and being successful at the same time. I am a mother of 3, I love my work but I don’t believe in compromising either.
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What advice would you give to young women readers who want to follow a similar career path as you?
Follow your dream, start small if required. Make your passion your work, then it will never be work. Also I feel you should keep life going in various directions. As women, we have various responsibilities, nothing should be compromised. There is always a way out to balance various roles.
I have 3 kids and I never stopped work. I remember bringing my one month old babies to work. There is always a way, if we decide to do it!
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What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
There is a lot to learn and we are always evolving. For me, I have had issues engaging the crafts people which we have employed in the villages. To keep them busy and employed, I had to be organised to send them work. Also working in villages in not an easy task and needs a lot of patience. I am also working towards making an all women Naav team.
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Dressire x Designers : Amit Talwar Trekaaya

amit talwar.jpgEthereal beauty and grace — this and the innocence of a woman is what the fashion designer, Amit Talwar has tried to capture in his new collections.

Amit Talwar’s brand Trekaaya is about the purity of inner beauty and is a reflection of a woman’s heart which is full of love, care and gratitude for everyone. His collection blends itself with the rich cultural heritage of our motherland to produce vintage garments in majestic cuts.


His  collections are an amalgamation of saris, anarkalis and lehengas in fabrics like chiffon, cotton and georgette.

His collection has a colour palette of raunchy red, shocking pink, bright olive and refreshing orange to give the eyes some mesmerising therapy. Each piece is stylish and elegant. The designer specializes in offering customers aesthetic combinations and interesting mix-and-match. He collections can be worn by women who may be 16 or 60

The range is tagged at a starting price of Rs.25,000 and is available at the designer’s store in the capital, Delhi


“My collection is eclectic and there is a contemporary knot in each that maintains the originality of an ensemble but at the same time makes it look more niche”, said Amit Talwar.

What sparked your interest in fashion?

It’s a very strange answer I have to give you but my journey began with the launch of FTV in India. I was enthralled, spellbound with these models sashaying down ramps looking like angels. How did fashion have the power to make women look so good? Could I have the ability to do that? That began my journey. I used to keep sketching women and girls in my school books. My school teachers and parents did not initially understand what I was trying to do. However, later my designs started getting a more definite shape and I knew that this was my calling and then there was no looking back.


How would you describe your brand?

My brand name “Trekaaya” has been inspired by Lord Shiva. It stands for a beautiful amalgamation of the past, present and the future, blending these 3 time eras is what Trekaaya stands for. All 3 worlds in one life – the past has to be valued, the future has to be created and the present has to be lived. This is my brand philosophy.


What is the inspiration behind your designs?

I take my inspirations from the roots of India. What a beautiful, ethnic & diverse country we live in, the rich colors and the diversity spread across India. I am fond of all things ethnic. I have loved the era re-created in Mughal e Azam and Umrao Jaan. My collections have somehow contained strains of these movies, which I feel have been timeless and classic.



What are the key elements for you when designing a collection for each season?

My key elements for designing each collection come from nature, just like we have 4 season, I believe that a woman’s dressing should change and evolve with the evolving seasons. I prefer to work with chiffon and organza in summers and love using kundan and zardozi techniques in winters. A woman is like the seasons, ever changing, ever evolving. Always growing and always nurturing, just like nature.


What challenges did you face when launching your brand?

It has been a herculean task setting up this business and the biggest obstacle I faced was in getting good workers and artisans who could communicate my visions and my imaginations to real garments which would be worn by my customers. Getting kaarigars who could understand what I wanted to convey was the most difficult task. A designer sometimes does not speak in words, he conveys messages of how he wants his clothes to look and feel. However in the course of time, I did manage to have a fantastic team behind me.


What are your plans for the future?

The success of my first store in Delhi has been overwhelming and I have all the plans to launch my second one very soon. My biggest aspiration is now reaching bollywood and working on the costume designs of bollywood movies. I am working on this and I am sure you would be seeing my divine creations on the screen very soon.


Are there any fashion designers you have been inspired with?

I am in love with the success stories of Anju Modi and Ritu Kumar, with humble beginnings they have become the most sought after brands in India. This is my vision and aspiration, I hope that in due course my garments would evoke such sentiments in women too.


What was the major achievement in your journey so far?

Designers all over used to be scared and skeptical in using the net fabric, I took a step forward and started playing with the humble net fabric and started using it in my creations. I am the first designer who highlighted the use of net in fashion. And it seems now it has become a house hold name.



What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

It’s a cruel world out there sometimes. Sometimes people you depend on can just walk away. So the biggest lesson for me has been to have a huge support of family, friends and to be focused on my main goal, not focus on small things that can dissuade you from your goal. Just keep moving forward, everything happens for the best. We just need to patient enough to let it happen.


What advice would you give to young women readers who want to follow a similar career path as you?

It’s a very competitive world out there and success comes to those who are in tune with what is happening in today’s fashion environment. You need to be very well learned with regards to new fabrics, new techniques, new process and you need to keep updated with fashion trends in India and abroad. You need to keep seeing what your fellow designers are doing and you need to do crash courses to increase your repertoire. Your success depends on your ability to move with the times.


IMG_1325My final passing statement?

I have always been fascinated with Moroccan weddings. It seems in a Moroccan wedding, throughout the ceremony the bride changes outfits, adorning a selection superb kaftans. The bride can wear as many as seven different outfits, with the last wardrobe change, in general, a magnificent white wedding dress. Now that is something fascinating, truly beautiful.IMG_4396





If you would like us to feature your label, please send us an email at


Dressire x Designers : Suman Bajaj

Being born and brought up in the UK, Suman Bajaj was blessed to have the best of the East and West as powerful influences & yet she found that there was something missing in both. When she set up her label, she married Europe to India and created effortless grace in the form of her most favourite attire, the saree.
Suman’s work comprises of two lines – SumSum her pret line and Suman Bajaj, her couture line.
“With color and cuts that have an international appeal, her work comprises of global designs with ethnic aesthetics. Her prêt line is clever but quirky and not for the shy wallflower! It is the blend of ethnic and western in her collection that has appealed to the fashion conscious allover the world and bought her clients from Spain, UK, USA, Singapore, The Middle East etc as well as India. Suman Bajaj is an up and coming Designer from Delhi whose garments are a wardrobe must have for every woman regardless of her shape and size.”
“My brand is a wardrobe staple for not just Indian women but women around the world. My sarees are effortless style statements that are all about less being more. “
Can you tell us a little bit about your story?

In a few short months, I will celebrating a ten-year affair with Delhi, India. Today, there is not a lot one can’t find in Delhi but it was not always that way. It is amazing how much we take for granted in the UK. Ten years ago, finding basics like shower gel and margarine was a challenge. And try waking up at 4 am to fill your water tank only to find  that there is no power.

So why did I move here?


In all honesty, I can’t pinpoint what it was that had me packing up my life and moving to a city I had seldom visited. I recall being incredibly lonely and feeling as if I had nothing to lose. I was sick of pretending I had my life all “sussed”, when I clearly didn’t. One cold and frustrating Monday, I impulsively told a friend “I’m selling my apartment and moving to India.” True to my word, I did. I had no job and nowhere to stay, yet my gut told me it was the right thing do.So here I was in a city I knew nothing about, convincing myself I had to make this work. Help had come to me from the most unlikely friendships, but it was mostly my own adamant arrogance not to fail that pushed me to grow. When I think back I surprise myself, it is amazing how resourceful humans are when they need to be. Funny thing is I don’t recall ever feeling sad or sorry for myself. In fact moving to India made me see how much I had taken for granted. The mass population of Indians live below poverty line and moving here, opened my eyes and for the fist time in my life I realized how blessed I truly am.

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What made you fall in love with designing?
Back in the UK, I fell into fashion at a very young age. Coming from a big family, I longed to recycle the hand-me-down clothes my sisters would give me so that they felt new.
What made you move into designing sarees?
Soon after arriving to Delhi just over ten years ago, I discovered Hindustani city slicers had abandoned the sari. Instead of choosing to opt for unflattering gowns, I felt compelled to use my experience to bring “sari back.” Six months later, The Suman Bajaj easy drape sari label was born. I created a one-size fits all, easy drape saree that made the saree comfortable and alluring to wear.

I started from my rental with one tailor, spending a large chunk of my savings on materials. Going with my gut I decided to design a niche line of sarees that had the simplicity of a gown and the grace of a sari. My philosophy for fashion being one size fits all and looking good should come from within and not from your wallet.

I now retail from most luxury multi brand boutiques all over the world.

What are the main features of your collection?
My collection includes pockets – as featured in Vogue, the slim sari that can be worn in three ways and the best part is they all drape in less then 20 seconds.


What inspires you? 


Dressing a celebrity is every designers dream. I have dressed quite a few, Madhuri Dixit was one but to be honest I get more of a thrill draping everyday women who, like myself, had forgotten that they are beautiful, brave and exceptional. These women are my inspiration. I watch how a woman’s face lights up, unable to believe how good she looks in my drapes. I love fashion only because it has the power to empower.
I understand fashion to be more than a trend, it is an expression.
Having more women wear sarees over an evening gown is my biggest inspiration but what inspires my designs is the joy of making a women feel beautiful and so I set out to create beauty.

What is the inspiration behind your latest collection?

This season is all about going back to basics and celebrating man over machine. It is about working with handlooms and turning to age-old fabric making techniques, that may take longer to create but tell the stories of the amazingly talented artisans creating art in their very own homes.

What tips do you have for woman who want to wear sarees?
Asian women are curvy and tend to carry their weight from hips up, making them the perfect candidate for a sari. And yet, we are all different, So when choosing a fabric think about how the fabric and colour will work on you.
If you have short legs, wear your sari high wasted, sticking to a single colour that elongates you.
If you are worried about a soft tummy opt for opaque fabrics to or printed fabrics to hide the issue. Go for a corseted blouse that not only covers the belly but also pulls it in.
Our saris typically flare from below the knees balancing the body into the perfect hourglass. Correcting your sari mistakes is simple and can make your draping experience a real comfy hit.
Make sure your petticoat is tied super tight so that it holds your saree perfectly.
Avoid safety pins – they rip the fabric. Instead, try a cool belt or reusable velcro tabs.
Pad your blouse and ditch the unsightly bra straps
Wearing a plain but elegant wedged heel will help you to walk more gracefully.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
The pitfalls of fashion are realising tthat this is my business and not a hobby, so one must buy smart designs backwards with the point of sale price in mind.
What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?
For a woman to do well in business, she needs to be very organised and be able to find balance. Set realistic goals and stay on top of your growth plan.
I believe one must always follow their dreams but be aware of the fact that knowing your craft better than your team is important. Study your craft work, hard to develop yourself so that you can manage your team by leading by example.



So if you love the allure of a saree but the draping scares you, then here are a few helpful tips from the ace fashion designer and easy drape sari queen Suman Bajaj that promises to have you reaching into your mother’s closet for the six yards of sensual.

Learn :  Anything worth having is worth working for. Learn the simple art of wearing a sari. Draping a sari is not that difficult and the pleating is actually a really good way of keeping arthritis away as it’s a mini hand workout! That being said, if you are fed up with your pleats sitting on the floor instead of your body, have a seamstress stitch your pleat in place for you. That way all you have to do is drape and tuck!
Rethink :  If the fear of looking like your grandma is keeping you away from the sexy sari then rethink your drape. Simple styling can change a normal sari from what to wow! For instance, who says you have to wear your sari with a blouse, when you can wear it with a bikini, t-shirt, polo neck and leather jacket! Make your sari wearing experience all your own. Rock it with a boot, statement jewellery and send the traditional sari into the 21st century.
Get your petticoat right : Scrap the tent like line and get your shape on. A simple nude Lycra tube with a modest split is the perfect partner for a sari. It hugs the body and allows the sari to sit without sticking or slipping. Make sure you tie it nice and tight above where you want your sari to sit and then pull it down into place. If your sari is transparent, think about using a contrasting colour or opt for a fabric with a bit of sparkle to give it another unexpected dimension. I also love going for petticoats that have layers of tulle fabric that flares out from under the knee, pushing the pleats into a dramatic lehenga. A skin fit legging is also the perfect partner for a more modern look.
Right length : Make your legs look like they go on forever. Wear your heels before you drape so that your sari is the perfect length. A wedged heel is the ideal style for a sari. It will allow you to add a few extra inches and keep you firm on your feet. Try to keep your stilettos free from anything that will catch a hold of your fabric.
Know your body and pick your fabric well : If you are a little bit on the larger side, go for a print or fabric that is a little bit more opaque but flows well. Pick the darkest shade in the colour to shave off a few pounds. Carry your sari a little higher on your waist and think about adding a little fabric at the start of it to create more pleats.
If on the other hand, you are slim, wear chiffons and lightweight fabrics that flatter your svelte self. Pick fabrics that are not covered in thread work and don’t drag you down.
Avoid pins if you can : They are not fabric friendly! If you must use them, opt for nappy pins with a safety lock so you’re not getting the ring caught in your fabric. To get the sari sitting correctly you can use a belt around your waist or loop the fabric through your strappy blouse strap. If you must use a handful of pins make sure you get some help to hide the pins or you will spoil not only the fabric but your entire look.
Keep accessories sleek : If you want your sari to be the hero, play down the jewellery. You are wearing a sari and not a Christmas tree, so no decorations required. Take a tip from Coco Channel and always take one accessory off before you leave the door. Less is more!
Keep the mystery : Don’t wear your sari too low or show too much skin. What makes a sari so sensual is the mystery of a single piece of fabric draped in a way that it give away only a little of what makes you a woman. Keep it that way.
“I feel Indian women are a lot more informed about luxury brands from all over the world but sometime take their styling tips from editorial glossy magazine shoots. They forget to make that look their own and play it down.”

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Dressire x Designers : Nida Mahmood

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Named as “The Queen of Kitsch” by the media, Nida Mahmood’s designs have introduced or rather re-introduced Indian culture with a fun and colourful, contemporary twist to the fashion world.

bohemian tamasha

Bohemian Tamasha

“The brand has a strong artistic veneer. It’s about orchestrating and delivering a total experience based on a deep understanding of what the consumer wants. The brand delivers an experience that’s positive, memorable, and unexpected. In the fast-moving world of consumer goods, the opportunity for direct consumer experience with the brand is minimal. That is why NIDA MAHMOOD, design studio’s way of thinking about design— focuses on simple aesthetics and technical aspects—giving way to a global design strategy based on the totality of the brand experience.”


Image courtesy Naina Redhu 


Image courtesy Naina Redhu

“The label epitomizes her design philosophy “art translated” in more ways than one. It embodies a unique look- that which breaks all boundaries, which believes in combining disharmonious elements together into a unified whole. Embroideries are blended “harmoniously” with experimental details to achieve the look. It will not be wrong to say that the label is a balanced mix of “the classic with street”. Determined to bring individualistic ideas to the forefront, marrying whimsical styling with old fashioned design.”



Image courtesy Naina Redhu 

How would you describe your brand?

The brand Nida Mahmood represents India Cool. It is deeply rooted in the Indian culture but we speak a very contemporary stylized language.


Image courtesy Naina Redhu 

What is the inspiration behind your designs?

I am inspired by all things Indian –  the streets, the nooks and crannies, crows and cows, the colloquial language, the culture and its people – they all inspire my work.



What are the key elements for you when designing a collection for each season?

The most important starting point is detailed information into the silhouettes and colors that are in trend in that particular season. The concept ofcourse deigns the collection but it’s strongly guided by the two factors above.


Image courtesy Intoxicated Fashion


What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

Focus is the most important ingredient for success. One needs to be a quick learner if one wants to be an entrepreneur because they need to know so many different aspects of business to be able to run a brand.

bombay bioscope

Bombay Bioscope
What challenges did you face when launching your brand?

The biggest challenge for any startup is finances. I faced the same issues. This is a very intensive industry hence it is very hard for any individual to find success without investing a lot of money. I grew organically and steadfast.


Basanti Foxtrot

What are your plans for the future?

Launching a parallel brand and many interesting collaborations, exploring wedding design.

What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?

Staying focused on the end result that one desires is key to the success of any business. Creating a road map is vital in order to be able to channelize one’s talent and vision towards a proper goal.

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What advice would you give to young women readers who want to follow a similar career path as you?

Being steadfast and gritty is most important. Success doesn’t come the next day. It is a tough industry hence perseverance is very important. Focus on individual flavour of design helps create a unique brand ethos.


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Santa Banta


Sadaak Chaap

boh tamasha

Bohemian Tamasha

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Dressire x Designers : Shalini Chauhan

Dressire x Designers : Shalini Chauhan

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Based in South Delhi, the label Shalini Chauhan is classy, elegant and sophisticated. She marries both the old and new when it comes to her designs and creates magic. Inspired by nature, India’s rich heritage and culture, paintings and architecture, Shalini likes to create garments that are stylish and condusive to the diverse weather in India.


Shalini is currently working on taking her jewelry and garment collection to a global scale.


What is the inspiration behind your designs?

Inspiration is all around me. I draw inspiration from nature, our rich Indian heritage and culture, the diverse customs and traditions of our country. I am a romantic and I get inspired by people & places – it could be a smile, the look in someones eyes, flowers, oceans, sunsets!
The fabrics in our country, paintings, architecture, the Victorian era, the royal families and the way they dressed in the olden era – I touch a fabric or see a motif and I know exactly what I want to make. It’s magical.
If you are a creative person, you will get inspiration from different sources as you grow and evolve. It’s not permanent, it keeps changing and flowing as you move on from one season to the next.
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What are the key elements for you when designing a collection for each season?
The most important factor is the climate and the fabrics. I don’t blindly follow the seasonal trends. Every creative person has a distinct style and that remains a constant in all their collections. However, I like blending the new with the old.
I usually name my collections, my latest collection was called “Ode to a princess”. The entire collection was in ivory, cream and white with gota patti, long flowing anarkalis in soft flowing fabrics, shararas, long skirts with long and short flowing kurtas with light zardozi and patri work – inspired by the Mughal Era.
So I design each collection keeping our very diverse climate in mind and the fabrics conducive to the weather. The colors I use depend entirely on the theme that I am working on.
What challenges did you face when launching your brand?
I have been in the garment industry for over 25 years. My family was in the export business. I lived in New York and when I moved back to India, I launched my label and I was fortunate that Ogan instantly kept my collection way back in 1997.  However, I took a sabbatical from my own label after a few years and focused on my export business, where I was handling all the designing and product development. A few years back, I relaunched my label and opened a store in South Delhi.
It was difficult because the fashion industry had changed and evolved and grown, not only were there so many more designers but the market was and continues to be full of whole sellers. It was then the need of the hour to create a distinct difference and work towards creating a brand awareness. My biggest challenge was how to create something spectacular and keep it very affordable. I worked very hard and with the grace of God, I overcame all the small hurdles. I feel blessed because my team of workers have been very hardworking and performed well. I could not have done it without them.
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What are your plans for the future?
On a serious note, I had launched my travel jewelry line a couple of years back. I designed the jewelry keeping destination weddings in mind. I want to focus a little more on my jewelry collection and hopefully go global with both my jewelry collection and garments.
What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?
The most important thing is to believe in yourself and have faith in your abilities. Have the confidence and strength to follow your dreams. Don’t get influenced by the people who bring you down. Dream big and work hard to make them come true. Family support is another huge factor, a lot of women don’t have the support of their families and have to struggle to stand up for themselves. Fortunately, the mind set of people has changed over the years and families are more supportive of their girls who wish to pursue a career.
What advice would you give to young women readers who want to follow a similar career path as you?
The most important advice I can share is what my parents gave me, ” This life is a beautiful gift given to us, cherish it and live it to the fullest. Dream big and follow your dreams. Have faith in yourself, don’t compromise on your values and principals.
Work hard and stand up for yourself with dignity.”
My fathers favorite quote is “Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqdeer se pehle, khuda bande se khud puche, bata teri raza kya hai.”
It means,
“Develop yourself in such a way, that before every decree God will ascertain from you, what is your wish?”
What sparked your interest in fashion?
My first inspiration was my mother. She always dressed elegantly and so did my grand mother. Their style and grace developed a need to create my own. I used to make clothes for my dolls and as I grew older, started styling my own wardrobe. The key elements being classy, elegant and very sophisticated.
I was fortunate enough to travel abroad since I was a child and was exposed to the international fashion world at a very young age and that opened up my mind. I realized there was a bigger world out there and I wanted to be a part of it.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
I have learnt that it is a tough and very competitive industry but if you have faith and belief in yourself, nothing can stop you.
Be original and stay focused.
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How would you describe your brand?
Classy, elegant, sophisticated and very affordable. When I style my clients, I don’t blindly follow the seasonal trends, I create the garments to suit the person. The person wearing the clothes has to identify with the outfit. they have to feel comfortable and enjoy what they are wearing.
What are your views on how Indian women understand fashion?
We have come a long way, Indian women are now more aware of fashion – not just Indian fashion but global styles and trends as well. All thanks to the exposure on TV, social media, travel and education, the minds have opened up and women are more receptive to the ever changing and evolving fashion trends. They are willing to break free from the old stereotypical style of dressing and are open to the more modern and trendy way of dressing.
However, I feel women should not follow seasonal trends blindly, but dress according to their body, age and their own style.
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