Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Google



Metro Plus Thiruvananthapuram
Published on Saturdays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | NXg | Friday Review | Cinema Plus | Young World | Property Plus | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Mangalore    Puducherry    Tiruchirapalli    Thiruvananthapuram    Vijayawada    Visakhapatnam   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

Fussy about right fits

Couture Shalini James on the ‘Mantra’ of designing

Photo: H. Vibhu

Designing a brand Fashion designer Shalini Joseph

For Shalini James, a cycle rickshaw ride around Benaras, a visit to the temples there, are all intrinsic to her design philosophy, her ‘Mantra’ of design, of fashion. “When I give a client a garment, I give them a piece of Benaras t oo,” is her way of looking at her business, which could be one of the reasons why she is not a hard-nosed businesswoman.

Shalini launched her label, ‘Mantra,’ and a store by the same name in November 2004. Almost three years down the line she has two stores in Kochi and retails out of two stores in Thiruvananthapuram. Expansion would seem the next logical step. “It is very tempting to open yet another shop. When you do prêt volumes are what will fetch money. But that is not my focus right now. I do want to launch the label in either Chennai or Bangalore, which is the real challenge.” She intends to devote a year to strengthen the brand and then expand with another store.

Although her garments are prêt a porter they rely heavily on Indian fabrics and Indian garments.

“Fashion with Indian clothes have somehow become synonymous with ill-fitting clothes and that is where my garments are different, I make sure that the fit is right” says Shalini. For the time being she is not focussing too much on high fashion because she has found her niche in the prêt market.

It goes to her credit that she has five sizes (with extra small - XS) instead of the usual three or four (S, M, L & XL), something that other city designers have replicated with remarkable ease.

“It is difficult to fit the Indian body type in sizes standardised in the West, no two Indian women have the same shape,” says Shalini.

Focussed on work

As she gets chatty it is evident that she eats, drinks and sleeps work leaving her with little time or inclination for anything else. “I am focussed at heart, I can’t do this and that,” says Shalini. This belief led her to accept an assignment as a stylist for newscasters on Asianet.

Although she hails from a political family, design is part of her psyche. Shalini’s mother, Sheila James, opened what was perhaps the first boutique in the city in the late 80s.

The proud mother of eight-year-old Shreya says, “I see that happening to my daughter as well.” What she saw while she was growing shaped her sensibilities and choice of profession.

A graduate in English literature, “because I genuinely loved literature”, she went the design way and joined NIFT, Chennai.

While she was studying she had a design studio where she designed garments for her mother’s store. She admits hesitantly with a touch of pride, “I think I have arrived. Earlier I knew all my customers by name, now I recognise a Mantra garment but do not know the person wearing it, so that means something, doesn’t it?”

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail



Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Madurai    Mangalore    Puducherry    Tiruchirapalli    Thiruvananthapuram    Vijayawada    Visakhapatnam   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | NXg | Friday Review | Cinema Plus | Young World | Property Plus | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | Sportstar | Frontline | Publications | eBooks | Images | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2008, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu