Talent unlimited: Masaba

It’s been exactly a year now since I first made my debut at the Mumbai Fashion Week in the GenNext category. Although, I feel whatever success I have got so far has been a perfect mix of right timing, hardwork and luck, I made my debut at a time where I feel people wanted a fresh perspective on fashion.They wanted to see something different being done with Indian clothes. People wanted to see energy in clothes, my stuff struck the right note with them. In terms of carving a niche for myself, because I had such a strong signature style since day one, it attracted fashionistas. People like it when they can spot your outfit from another designer’s from a mile. The colours were loud, prints were mixed in many ways but at the end of the day, these were outfits that people could actually wear. Carving a path happened so soon only because my clothes were honest — a mix of my heritage. And women loved that they could wear clothes shown on a runway just as is. It’s very liberating.I’ll be honest, establishing a name for myself was easier because there was so much curiosity generated about me being a designer coming from parents who have been in different fields. The hype that you need, the visibility you need as a new, young designer was created before I made my debut. That helped a lot. The challenge was to be at par with established names, not only in terms of my clothes, the finishing, fabrics, commercial viability, even price points etc. I took good care of these, else a new designer can get lost without a trace, specially someone like me who jumped straight into a fashion week while still in college. I had no experience whatsoever, so I studied designer wear in leading stores before starting and realised quality is important and worked on that. In terms of competition, quality is the only problem with new designers and merchandise placement.

There is place for everyone in this industry. We are churning out at least 20 designers every day. There are so many platforms today for newbies, many of whom have become big names today.Young designers are smarter today. They are doing what designers took 20 years to do in a shorter span of time because they want quick results and are more aware. They are creating opportunities for themselves. In fashion, you should only worry about competition when your sensibility matches 50 other designers. Find your signature style and your clientele will find you.My signature style is what I’ve grown up to — my mother dressing up in silks and ikat and adding her own touch to her clothes. Playing with colour is my forte, and I can never buy fabric from a store and make an outfit; it has to be something I’ve developed. I sketch and create my own fabrics and also get my designs woven in ikat. Individuality plays a big part in keeping you out of the bandwagon – TOI