As mentioned in a post not so long ago, Shweta Wahi is a young designer I met when speaking at the York Fashion Association Industry Panel back in May. Not only is the girl an intense talent, but she happens to be one of the sweetest girls that I’ve met out there, still budding in fashion (she actually got to profiling me before I got this out!) After swapping cards, I was sure to make a mental note to find her again, and what better way to find her again than to reach out and do a Q&A? Read more on the 18-year-old designer, below.
- What is it like stepping out as a young designer?
- How has your more cultural-based design been received?
- What are your long-term goals with SOLACE?
- You’re so evidently a multi-talent – you shoot, style, and design all the pieces in your lookbook. How do you balance it all?
- You’re studying at York – how has this influenced your work? When and where do you find time to do it?
- How have you found the youth involvement in the fashion industry so far?
- What are your plans after graduation?
It’s been very overwhelming as there is a lot more to the business than just designing; it’s the entire economics, scale and nuances of the business that has been an eye opener. From my early childhood, I have always known that I want to be a fashion designer, but I never quite understood the intense amount of work that goes into creating a collection. Since I’m not studying fashion at University, I’m practically relying on all the previous summer courses and evening college course work done over the past 6-7 years for the creative side, but the business side is more frightening as I am learning that by fire on a day to day basis. I believe that learning is a journey and I still have a long way to go.
Quite well, and I’m really not surprised. Toronto is really quite amazing in the sense that everyone is so different and unique in their own way. It’s a very multicultural city and everyone is open to experimenting and trying new styles of clothing. I also believe that in today’s Global economy, people have more knowledge of different cultures and styles and are more prone to trying new styles which makes it more acceptable but definitely very challenging.
SOLACE is my dream. When I have walked past the designer stores in London, Toronto, New York and even in Dubai, I have always visualized seeing my brand being there. I breathe my dream and I pray that I can succeed in bringing a new wave of style and comfort to women(and eventually men) around the world
First off, thank you for the compliment! Some things come naturally to people and designing comes naturally to me. I guess its perhaps my imagination that has helped blend these skills. I can visualize what I want the end product to look like and the rest is playing with the tools of the trade to come up with the result and I keep trying until I get the end product to my satisfaction. I guess thats the reason I cant outsource anything right now but I also understand that over a period of time I will need to take away some of the non core functions and have someone else do it. I start with a concept in mind, and I just work from there. I continue experimenting and I constantly change the idea until I am happy with it. Most of the time the end result will be completely different from the initial idea. I’ve studied photography, fashion styling, various forms of fabric painting, tie and dye, batik and dress pattern making, but there’s only so much that you can learn from courses. Hands on experience and experimentation is the best and only way to improve your work.
University life is supposed to be ‘fun time’ but also the professional mould for people. Most of us hope that at the end of the 4 years we come away with what we want to do for the rest of our lives. York life in general has transformed me into a different person. I feel more mature, confident and independent which has allowed me to start seriously thinking about my label. Yorks’ Visual arts programme has had a distinct impact on my work and how I see myself evolve as a professional. With the studio courses that I’ve taken so far, I’ve found it a lot easier to incorporate my artwork into my dresses. Fortunately for me my education and my passion are the same and therefore where academics finish and my work continues is almost seamless and I really think I am fortunate to have found this transition so early.
Seriously competitive! I’m only 18 and I wish I had started earlier. It’s amazing how much young and fresh talent the fashion industry has. I also think that ours is an age of information and brands. Its unlike the yester-years when things were not accessible. The aspiration levels are high across all sections of society and its no longer a privilege to be fashionable. I therefore see that a lot more people from different backgrounds will take to the industry and cater to different demographic crossections.
I guess there are two sides to this question. Academically speaking I’ll be going to London and doing some courses in more Fashion related subjects after which I’ll probably complete my MBA or do a Masters degree in Fashion. From a practical point of view, I will continue to do my designing and am in the process of establishing a corporate structure that will house the business and label and hopefully, I will have started making baby steps to get some of my designs into stores.
> images from shwetawahi.com