A Kolkata based designer, Shipra Karnani radiates elegance and captures the true spirit of cosmopolitan women. Her fashion mantra is to revamp designer wear with a little addition of drama and personalized approach. Her apparels are layered, embellished and experimented with silhouettes. Making liberal use of gold and soft floral prints together in proportion with some tie-dye effects, embroidery, sequins, zardozi, beads as accessory and cut work in her collection.
Please tell us a bit about yourself. When and how did you get into Fashion Designing? What inspired you to choose this career path? Tell us about the journey of setting up your label… till date.
[Shipra] I am a Kolkata based designer and have been working for last Six years. I am a mother of 2 (7 year old daughter and 2 year old son).
Initially I did not have a professional training in fashion design but have learnt through my own trials & errors and mistakes. I consulted with few of NIFT Kolkata faculties who have helped me at times in design conceptualization. Then I did my degree course in fashion from ACADEMY Of ART UNIVERSITY, San Francisco.
I have been passionate about creative and beautiful designs since my early days of childhood. Every woman I came across looked style divas to me with their styles, accessories, and blends from all over the country. The face, expressions, colors, mood, relationship, they all hold the greatest impact in building the style. The world around me always inspired me even the fictitious characters show their unique style. I grew up in Bokaro and Kolkata and they both have a very good blend of multi ethnicity and people from all over the country. Living here exposed me to different styles, the color blends, the accessories and how to use them to bring out a mood. My mom has been my biggest fashion diva and as I have gotten older, I have realized that my mom is probably the reason that I am a fashion designer in the first place.
I designed my first outfit at the age of 13 when I had to participate in my school festival. It felt so liberating to wear your own creativity. In my early days, I was not very exposed to fashion designing as a career and I came to Kolkata to study commerce. Few of my friends in Kolkata were studying fashion design and I started helping them prepare for their shows and projects. I would attend their shows and started spending more time on their projects than my college studies. We started our own cloth line and had a fair amount of success for 1.5 years. Our designs were trendy in nature and very popular with modern boutiques. But then she moved to a different city and I got married. A year later, my daughter was born and I decided to shape my dreams and launched my line under the label,”KINZ” in 2010. I showcased my work at few popular exhibitions in Kolkata and got overwhelming responses from multiple designer stores. My KINZ line is available at many multi designer stores in Kolkata. I have introduced another line “SHIPRA KARNANI” last year, which specializes in personalized designing.
My journey from a small girl using scissors and my mom’s sewing machine to build an outfit to this stage has been an amazing one with wonderful support from my mom, my husband and my lovely daughter.
What would you say is your design aesthetic or your label’s signature style?
[Shipra] My designs are high on drama and craftsmanship with unique cuts and patterns to give a different look. They have a unique blend of western designs in Indian costumes. All my collections have their unique blends and that is my signature so you can say “unique blend” is my signature style.
Of all the pieces you’ve created, what has been your favorite that always stands out in your mind?
[Shipra] The artwork used with detailing and my personal input gives me the immense contentment.
What is your vision for participation in Any Fashion Week?
[Shipra] My vision for participating in Fashion Week/Fashion shows is to reach wider range of audience there, which definitely gives bigger platform and opens lots of business opportunities with great learning.
Do share the inspiration for the theme of your collection.
[Shipra] The world around inspires me a lot. The urban lifestyle always looks for the trendy and wearable and re- wearable clothes. By Re- wearable, I mean, if we can use the same/similar outfit but in a different style that would look completely a new outfit by just teaming/styling it with some different bottoms or tops. A western to be clubbed with an Indian to look more of an Indo-Western or simply an ethnic or a transformation of Western into ethnic wear.
Do share in detail the fabrics used… silhouettes… embellishments… and accessories or jewellery.
[Shipra] My collection for this season has some traditional Lenin with silk mix to enhance the richness of the fabric, especially for my westerns along with stretch Lycra, georgettes and nets. I also have some silk( despite summer cloth sense) used in quite a soothing manner with some bling or foiled gold effect to give it more a party wear look and the fabric has been used as per the artwork and silhouette. The silhouettes are quite wearable, yet trendy and classy with an embellishment on the areas to be highlighted. My modern sensual drapes will give the wearer a glamorous edge.I am experimenting layering my garments on silhouettes, be it ethnic or contemporary, to reflect style and elegance. In this collection, I have also used resham work to charm my color palette. My collection also has soft prints used in an innovative manner to look more innovative and tried building my own techniques which has been used together in proportion, like dyeing, embroidery, sequin, zardozi, cutdanas etc.
“I am not restricting myself with only western wear, I will be experimenting with ethnic wear too.”(-areas to be more highlighted, with very selective accessories or jewellery to make it look more ‘Fusion wear’.
How do you plan to balance commerce (wearability) and creativity (for the catwalk)?
[Shipra] We designers are creative people and the best comes out of us only when the idea is not restricted but we need to keep the commercial aspect in mind too. I always keep creativity and wearability in mind when designing dresses even for shows and catwalks. Whenever I design dresses which are more creative in their design, I make sure that I create extensions and alternate options for them keeping wearability in mind without losing the original design aspect.
What are the three things we should look out for in your showing?
[Shipra] Creativity, wearability and personal input.
On a lighter note, do you have any pre-show rituals?
[Shipra] I call up my mom!
Looking ahead, is there any exciting project coming up? Where do you see yourself 3 years from today?
[Shipra] My new line “ShipraKarnani” will have lot of new designs come up there. I plan to merge western gown styles in Indian lehenga style to create a unique blend.In 3 years, I want to be known as a designer with unique blends of western styles in Indian costumes. I want to be known with the likes of “Sabyasachi Mukherjee” in Kolkata.
PIC : Pradip Bose