|431-88 By Shweta Kapur SS15|
The last fashion week, my aim was to look beyond the usual fashion big wigs of the industry. I wanted to check out more of the upcoming Indian designers and one such designer that came up on my radar was Shweta Kapur. I had the pleasure of hanging out with the designer at her stall and made sure not to miss her show. In fact her show was quite fun! I Loved how everyone got the 431-88 stamp on their arms and of course her clothes were fantastic.
The SS15 theme was Poolside Tailoring and featured slouchy shirts, cropped jackets, soft drapes, sexy slits, some deep necklines and contemporary saris all paired with Nike floaters. I mean pairing a sari and Nike floaters... just the sound of it makes you raise an eyebrow. But not in the case of Shweta Kapur. The closing look (sari and cropped jacket) in my opinion was the winning one. It really changes the way we have been perceiving this traditional Indian garment. The entire collection had this very relaxed vibe to it. The clothes just seemed so easy to put on! Nothing too restricting. Trousers were on the looser side and some garments came with a shiny drape attached either from the bust to the waist or waist to the thigh to add a bit of a bling. What fun right?
Anyways, so since I've become a fan of the label, I figured why not get inside the head of Shweta Kapur. Here's me digging deeper on the designer's background, more on her SS15 collection and future plans for the label:
Me: What does 431-88 mean?
SK: Sorry to disappoint but they are merely the last 5 digits of my phone number.
Me: You've come really far in a short span of time. Briefly describe your journey. (P.S, she's got celebrities like Alia Bhatt and Diana Penty wearing her clothes)
SK: I studied womenswear at LCF and graduated in 2011. While studying, I did a series of internships with international labels like Burberry and VPL and Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla and Nitin Bal Chauhan in India. After graduation, I trained under a fashion consultant who did a series of projects including window dressing, personal styling and brand management for a year, after which I came back to India to start 431-88.
Me: You use of colour is very limited. Is there any particular reason why?
SK: That’s not necessarily true. My SS14 was full of colour. It’s not really about use of colour or not, it’s very mood based. If the season comes with a certain inspiration, it is then up to the inspiration to speak of the colours and its usage. Sometimes colours work and sometimes they don't. It's not like I purposely do not use colour. I love my pinks :)
|Inside the stall|
Me: What would you is say is your signature design aesthetic?
SK: Sexy meets sporty.
Me: What kind of fabrics do you like to work with?
SK: Fabrics to me make or break the garment. You could have a stellar pattern but if the fabric doesn't stand up to the same it’s a fail! Heavy crepes, tailoring fabrics are always my first preference and leather is of course a favorite too.
Me:Your ideal target market?
SK: The 431-88 woman is a global citizen. She sticks to classics and often shuns the trends. She is anywhere from 20 - 40 years of age and is well aware of what her style speaks of and is very certain of her sartorial choices and isn't really someone who is trend centric. In terms of fashion she is focused and has a steady knowledge of the market.
Me: Tell me a little bit about your SS15 collection. What inspired you? What made you use Nike floaters to pair with the clothes?
SK: For SS15 I wanted to focus more on the commercial aspect as I felt it was lacking in the previous collections. The entire collection revolved around the idea of a hungover Sunday morning spent next to the pool. I wanted to relax down the idea of tailoring hence we styled it with pool sliders for the show. Sleeves of the blazers were rolled up, shirts were loose on the body and the slits were made higher.
Me: There were two saris on the ramp. Was this the first time you showcased Indian wear?
SK: Yes to showcase but I have been doing my version of Indian wear for stores for a little while.
Me: Do you plan on designing Indian clothes, or would you want to stick to Western wear? Yes/No and why.
SK: I thought about what the 431-88 woman would wear on occasions that demanded Indian wear. She would want something that is different from what is available and something that is fuss free. So I did cropped blazers instead of blouses and pre-stitched saris and pants that take the form of saris. I just like the idea of taking something and making it 431-88. For me, my approach to design has changed from battling it between Indian wear and Western, to just focusing on providing my client with a complete wardrobe.
Me: Do you see 431-88 with an accessories line in the near future?
SK: We already do. We always do our own bags, snoods and beanies so the world really is our oyster. It is great I feel when you can approach your favorite designer for all your wardrobe solutions.
Me:What e-commerce platforms are you currently retailing with?
SK: As of now, only my own.
Me: Any plans of opening your own store?
SK: Not right now. Our main focus is on our website and making the brand better and stronger. It is still considerably young and we have a lot yet to achieve.
Me: Any plans on going international?
SK: Like I said before, the focus is first and foremost on making 431-88 a strong brand. To cater to our international clients, we are going to start international deliveries soon through our website. Though we have done pop up stores in the past in London, it is not something that we are focusing on.