With growing fashion needs, many young women are taking up fashion designing as a career option. These designers are making an indelible mark in the market garnering more and more clients. In today’s edition, Rising Kashmir spotlighted two young designers from Kashmir who are creating different attire keeping Kashmiri tradition and culture in mind.
Nowsheen Raja always loved to design her clothes. Whenever she would have to buy a new dress, she would cancel out the plans and get herself a customised dress.
"I had this innate sense of dressing differently. I never trusted a market product but would design my clothes according to my choice."
Though a teacher by profession, Nowsheen would always gather praise for her dressing sense.
"I teach at G.D Goenka and almost all my colleagues would just love my clothes. Many times they would ask me to design for them as well. Nowsheen did so once or twice for her close ones."
Once her aunt liked Nowsheen’s Pheran so much; she asked her to design it for her. "My maternal family deals with shawls etc I got material from them for that pheran and got it dyed. It turned out so beautiful that people were awestruck."
Likewise, once one of Nowsheen's colleagues, who was getting married, asked her to design pherans for her trousseau.
When more requests began to pour in, she thought of customising dresses for ladies. Her sister even insisted her to start a page on Instagram where she can showcase her talent.
In 2018, Nowsheen gave it a try and started her page. She named it 'Sechan pann' (needle and thread) because she wanted a Kashmiri name for her venture.
"Though I had plunged into it, I didn't dedicate much time to it. Teaching is my first interest and I was more into it than designing for others."
But in 2020, during lockdown Nowsheen got ample time to dedicate to her passion. She became active on Instagram and started showing her designer skills.
"The more time I gave to it, the better response I began to get."
She usually designs pherans with tilla, frocks, kurtis etc.
"My three piece pheran dresses have been quite in demand. If I make 12 pieces of it today, next week they would all be sold out. That's the response I get from my clients."
In the last one year, Nowsheen has gathered a huge following and a good client base.
She has also ventured in digital marketing, wherein she along with a team shoots for the dresses. "This has helped me a great deal. People can relate with a face. When somebody is wearing attire people get an idea how it looks. So yea! This has been a great deal for us as a team."
Right now Nowsheen is single-handedly doing everything along with her artisans.
"The workload has increased so much that now I feel I need someone to help me. I am looking for a social media manager right now who can deal with the clients."
Nowsheen believes that keeping the margin of profit low has helped her to tap the market.
"My clients trust me more when they find my rates quite reasonable as compared to what they get in the market. The tilla pheran which you get for Rs 9000 out there, I sell that at a price of Rs 5000 or 6000. Many people suggested that I keep the margin low and that proved beneficial for me."
Though Nowsheen, a post graduate in education and psychology, wanted to devote full time to ‘Sechan pann’, she doesn't want to leave her students midway.
"I am giving online classes and simultaneously handling my clients, though I want to leave my job but right now my students need me the most."
Being content with her online store, Nowsheen says: "with the kind of response I'm getting right now I don't feel a need to have a physical store. I am happy this way for now."
A young Srinagarite has created her own designer label on her name ‘RD’ to promote art of Kashmir on the national platform immediately after graduating from a fashion school.
The 23-year-old fashion designer and stylist has pursued a Bachelor's Degree in fashion from SSMD (Srinagar school of management and design).
"I have worked with nationally and internationally renowned designers and brands outside Kashmir while pursuing my course."
While working with these designers and brands, she gained valuable practical knowledge and experiences which has not only boosted her confidence but helped her create her own label.
"That confidence made me think about having my own label. I wanted to promote Kashmiri culture and art on all possible platforms in the fashion industry and markets."
Roxanee has always been fascinated by Kashmiri art. She sees a large scope in modifying the Kashmiri art and to create unique products using her creativity.
"I have added clothing and accessories lines like bags and jewellery to my brand; customized and designed by me."
She also participated in a fashion show, which was organised in Kashmir.
"The recently organised fashion show was a wonderful experience for me. I got to showcase my designs and received an overwhelming response from the audience."
While talking about her interests in fashion she says what really sparked it was her creativity.
"I have always been a creative person.”
Since my childhood, I have been passionate about sketching. I used to play a lot with dolls, and dress and accessories them. “This might be the reason that helped me to recognise my passion."
Blessed with good knowledge of colours and styles, Roxanee makes old stuff look different and stylish. "That’s how I recognised my passion and chose it as a career."
Sharing her journey for opting this line she says, "An inherent sense of creativity is necessary if you want to make a mark in the fashion world but it was hard for me to take it up as a career."
She had to make a lot of efforts to convince her parents to allow her to go into fashion designing.
"Because our society takes fashion in a wrong sense hence I had to put in extreme efforts to convince my parents. Though they financially supported me, it came with limited moral support. Keeping their concern in mind, I hope I will get their full support so that I can contribute and bring a noticeable change in Kashmiri art and culture and will make my parents and my society proud one day."
After gaining a lot of experience in this field she has understood one fact that fashion designing isn't all about clothing, it is an art of inventing, innovating or adding beauty to clothing from ancient times, and she really wants people to know this fact.
While dreaming to register her name among top designers of India, Roxanee says there are a lot of opportunities in this ?eld one just needs to work towards them.