I don’t know how other designers sit down to work on a complete collection where every piece is tied so closely to one theme. Quite frankly I prefer to have that variety in the store of different fabrics and styles. And yet, since they are all designed by me, they do have a common point of view holding them together under one brand.
Having said that, working on a collection that has certain "rules" might do me some commercial good.
Most of my designs draw inspiration from the fabric itself. I visit a supplier, I see a stunning ikat fabric that I “simple must use” and then I immediately think about a couple of things that would look great in that fabric. Then there are a few “safe purchases” that I make because I know my customers will like them (for example I’m not big into prints, but I appreciate them and I know they are really popular).
But here is what I should be making more time for once I come up with design ideas for a collection: the editing process. The editing process forces me to convert the creative process into a more systematic, formulaic approach. It would be impossible to do it the other way around because it’s hard to be creative with many constraints, but once the bulk of the creative work is done, I have to sit down and think about each style. Who is going to wear this, where will she wear it, does the price justify the occasion, is it figure flattering for a variety of body types; these are all questions I have to answer, while making sure each collection has a few evening wear pieces (some with sleeves for my Chennai audience), several work outfits, a few kurtas, and perhaps a couple of “fashion-forward” pieces that don’t have to be easily categorized.
I’m still getting used to this process, and struggling to make the time for design and editing. I’m not sure how much of it I achieved in this Summer 2011 collection, but I was going for a very ‘slouchy chic’ feel with an emphasis on functionality. In other words, I wanted the silhouettes to work for the occasion they are designed for (work, day-party, etc), but at the same time allow the wearer to feel she’s in comfortable lounge wear (the kind of clothes that might make you forget it’s summer!)
Below are some of my favourite photos from the Summer 2011 collection.