October 13, 2019 Asmita Aggarwal

Notes to Self

Niharika Gupta’s line is quite like her straight-forward and fuss-free

By Asmita Aggarwal

Inspired by school uniforms and a rather succinct approach to fashion, Niharika Gupta, never works on themes, rather the focus remains on creating pieces with longevity, things you don’t discard easily. Notebook, her label, launched last year, works with a colour palette every season rather than fickle trends and this time it looks at the magic of white, with flashes of teal blue, beige, brown, nothing too bright even as the reds fade into oblivion.

Notebook as the name suggests, can be pleated and folded like paper, but never draped, just like the silhouettes in each collection, by Niharika is based on structure and of course, comfort which precedes everything else. “Not leaning towards feminine, the line reflects what modern women desire, how they have given up heels and makeup is getting subtler. I get inspired by what I see women wearing everyday while going to office, the pieces I make are real and individualistic, not soaked in fantasy or courting glamour. Functionality is the basis of everything we make,” she adds, ready with a line for the Lotus Make-Up India Fashion Week, in association with EbixCash.

NOTEBOOK 3

Growing up in Lucknow, she would notice boys being the preferred gender, while they could wear pants, girls in school had to shift to shalwar-kurta from skirts to be modest after they turned 14. “I found this to be discriminatory as I would feel easy in pants too, but I was denied that option. So I would borrow my brother’s shirts and would team them up with my school uniform pleated skirts, even when I hung out with friends after school. Later I developed this idea into a full-fledged line and it serves as the ethos of my brand,” she says.

Growing up in a middle-class family with her father being a government employee, and mother a homemaker, money was never abundant, so she saved, worked with other designers to finally be able to launch her label. “My business is self-supporting, but sometimes people come in like angels and help when the bank balance dips,” she explains.

NOTEBOOK 2

Most of the buyers Niharika has got have been through Instagram, even Ensemble approached them after seeing their social media account, so things have grown organically. “The biggest challenge is production, being a small set up, but we look at e-commerce quite seriously. Though my dream is to expand internationally in the future, hoping I will have the funds to do so,” she adds.

Aiming to add sustainability to her repertoire, currently, she works mostly with cotton, but will change that in 2020 when her experiments begin with using recycled polyester. “We shouldn’t just talk about how important it is to understand the implications of climate change and excessive human consumption, but do something about it and this is my small effort in a large ocean,” she concludes.

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