The first post from the series #GetInspired is about someone who has inspired me personally in a big way.
After completing her studies from London School of Fashion, Shweta Kapur worked with fashion houses like VPL in New York, Burberry in London and trained with Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla and Jaanvi in India before she set up India’s one of the first athleisure barnds, 431-88.
For the first 3-4 months last year, I was interning with Shweta Kapur for her label, 431-88. She is one of the coolest bosses to work with. I did not only learn so much in terms of work but also about how to be the gorgeous person that she is while running the massive label at such an early age.
Also, if you ever get to work with her, be ready to be stuffed with a lot of junk, coffee and fitness tips!
I am more that sure her story will inspire a lot of upcoming designers. She is truly one of the best designers amongst the newer age design houses in the country.
GS: How would you describe 431-88 in three words?
SK: Sexy, Nomadic, Non-Conformist
GS: What was the inspiration that lead you to become a Fashion Designer?
SK: There was no inspiration. It’s the only thing that I ever wanted to do.
GS: What does your closet look like currently?
SK: A lot of black but I’m slowly peppering it with colours to break it up. Fringes that are my new obsession and leather jackets that were scouted from vintage markets.
GS: How would you describe your personal style?
SK: Extremely relaxed with a touch of sexy. Whether it’s a loose tshirt knotted at the waist or an oversized shirt with the collar pushed back.
GS: What is the main thing that makes 431-88 to stand out from other contemporary brands?
SK: The fact that it celebrates a woman’s curves and makes her look and feel sexy. Women don’t like to be buried under swathes of fabric with no personality.
GS: Who is the perfect 431-88 muse?
SK: The woman who is unapologetically sexy and owns everything that she does.
GS: To what level do you incorporate trends in your collections?
SK: Bare minimum but when a particular silhouette or technique from our collection works well commercially we make a multitude of variations in that
GS: Apart from coffee, what are the 5 things or people you would like to be with if you were stranded on an island?
SK: My best friend, phone, charger, a hoodie and some gin
GS: What are the key pieces that you always incorporate in each of your collection?
SK: Our signature draped sari and lungi skirt
GS: Two International and two Indian designers who’s work you admire?
SK: Nicolas Ghesquiere, Anamika Khanna and Tarun Tahiliani
GS: Even though it’s hard to pick,which are your favorite pieces from your brand?
SK: Hands down our Lungi Skirt. It has a magic property of making everyone look good
GS: How would you describe the Fashion Industry in today’s time?
SK: Its really inspiring to be around the talent that we have. Everyone is pushing their limits and the kind of products and imagery we are creating is truly phenomenal. Indian fashion is also getting its own voice after a really long time and is breaking out of the clichéd perceptions that we have had in the past.
GS: Congratulations on completing five successful years of 431-88. How would you describe your journey so far?
SK: Chaotic crazy. I’ve had more moments of self doubts than congratulatory ones but honestly that has what has kept me pushing myself and making sure I don’t get complacent as a designer and as a brand. I’m very proud of the team that I’ve been able to build over the past 5 years and they are the reason why I’m where I am
GS: What do fashion weeks mean to you?
SK: Fashion weeks are where you can chart out your business for the next season. With the buyers you plan out your entire production and drop cycles and understand what the end consumer really wants and how they are interacting with your brand at the shop level. Editors meanwhile give valuable feedback regarding what is working and how something can be better.
GS: What do you focus more on, the silhouette or the surface of a garment?
SK: The silhouette. Designing for me always starts on the cutting table. Everything comes after.
GS: People generally associate designing to be a really easy job. What would be your views on that?
SK: Designing is easy. It’s handling the business that is tough.
GS: What did you want to become while you were a teen? Was deigning always what you wanted to do?
SK: Always. It was the only career option that I took seriously and worked towards it since high school.
GS: A lot of students who ultimately want to start their own label are confused about what kind of experience is required before they launch their own brand. What will be your words of advice to them?
SK: DO everything and anything related to fashion before you start out on your own. One, it gives you a holistic 360 degree view and second it makes you look at opportunities beyond just being a designer. It helps you pan out your strengths and weaknesses.
GS: Describe the moment you knew you were ready to work towards building your own brand.
SK: I’ve been building this brand in my head since the day I knew I wanted to be a designer. After working in London and New York I knew what I wanted, came back to India and started the ground work on 431-88.
GS: Watching a celebrity wearing 431-88 garments or watching regular people wear the brand, what makes you more satisfied?
SK: Well of course spotting someone on the street or getting tagged on Instagram by a customer is really satisfying. Having a 431-88 woman wear it and flaunt it feels great because eventually we are here to create a tribe of people who love the product and the brand and really identify with our design philosophy. It’s like I went for a wedding last week and I saw at least 5 women who I didn’t know and were in 431-88. And they looked fit and sexy. It was great because I saw how comfortable they were and were owning the entire look.
GS: In the end, what would you like to advice people who are uncertain or not happy with their jobs but are scared to take a chance?
SK: You only have this one life to make it happen. What can be worse than spending 70% of your waking hours in a job that you hate. Close your eyes take a deep breath and make that jump. It will be the best decision that you will ever take.