words by Farah Akbar
Sandhya Garg is Boston’s most interesting designer.
Her self-titled label embodies global influence from folklore to mythology this season. Taken from her travel experience, having visited all over the world for her fashion training including, Italy at the Gucci factory, Alexander McQueen in London and also completed her education at the London College of Fashion in 2011. Garg has used her very interesting background to create a label dedicated to these international elements that resonate with her. Her interests led her to be one of the top competitors in Project Runway, Season 13.
Estela: What sparked your interest in fashion?
Garg: I was always a creative child with lot of constructive energy. At the age of 8, I would design and construct garments for my dolls. Soon I was sure this was what I wanted to do for life. I naturally gravitated towards fashion, it’s just who I am.
Estela: How did you come to the ideology for your company?
Garg: Throughout design school I was told I had a unique vision and taste in picking color stories. Being a designer is a lot about realizing who you are and what you stand for and this really helped me to develop my brand ideology and unique point of view. I knew that to form my company ideology I had to be true to my inspiration and garment construction techniques and that’s how I arrived here. My label is about travel, mythology, folklore, superstition, magic, culture, handicrafts and vintage craftsmanship. It has a perspective of being able to wear the art and architecture we see; it is a play of visual senses.
Estela: What was your experience like on Project Runway Season 13?
Garg: Project Runway was a roller coaster ride of many ups and downs. It is an amazing platform that opens many doors to some great opportunities. I am very grateful for the experience and for being able to show my unique work to such a wide audience. The competition is tough and PR chooses very talented designers. My experience was very positive as I was true to my aesthetic and was appreciated for it. Hearing words of praise from Nina Garcia, Heidi Klum and Zac Posen can definitely be the highlight of any fashion designer’scareer. I think it has been and will always be a very important milestone of my design career.
Estela: Do you have any recommendations for designers who want to participate in Project Runway?
Garg: I would say be true to who you are, you can’t pretend to be someone else and be a good designer. Also, perseverance is very important as only good things take time and a lot of effort.
Estela: What was the overarching theme of your current collection?
Garg: My current collection which is A/W 2016 is inspired from Gond Art. It is tribal art form from a specific tribe of Madhya Pradesh, India. The motifs and story behind each work of art is truly inspiring and unique. Every artist sees their lifestyle, flora and fauna in a 2-D way and represents the story in a simple abstract composition of animals juxtaposed with flowers or trees and forms a story in one image.
Estela: Three goals for your label in the next five years?
Garg: I have more than three goals, but the most important ones are to be selected to be a part of CFDA designers; sell through more specialty boutiques and unique stores. It would also be amazing to be shortlisted in some of the most prestigious fashion competitions in the world.
Estela: How do you feel about major fashion labels looking to the world — especially people of color — for their latest hits on the runway (think Michael Kors and bantu-knots).
Garg: I think fashion has always drawn inspiration from the world, especially people of color inspire many trends. The lifestyle, unique traditions, color palettes, patterns, arts have always fascinated the audience. The exoticism and mystery has always translated into hits. I feel very happy and proud about this. However, I also feel that it becomes a major duty of the fashion house to interpret the inspiration responsibly and not to exploit the trend or hurt any emotions for monetary purposes.
Estela: How you contribute to this current trend?
Garg: I always look at the world for inspiration. I look at people for their unique cultures and lifestyles. I think we live our lives surrounded by magic and some talisman everyday. All my collections strive to translate this magic, this feeling of mystery, elusiveness that only a specific culture can provide. My collections always have limited edition prints which are the unique selling point of my brand. These prints are directly inspired from the folklore. I also derive many styling inspirations like the “Bantu Knots” for my runway shows and photoshoots from culturally rich people.
Estela: What advice would you give creatives who want to be in the fashion world?
Garg: I would say fashion is not only about the glamour that we see, it is a lot of hard work and you should be ready to embrace it as a 24 hour job. It is a form of art and respect and appreciation for everything is important. It is important to have a unique perspective on things and a great eye for business and sales trends. In the end, the most important part is not to give up as it won’t be easy to achieve goals, but when you make beautiful clothing it’s all worth it.