October 17, 2020 Asmita Aggarwal

Brewing Shapes

(04)-22-09-20-Nikita Mhaisalkar

From Siddhpur to the flashbulbs of the fashion world made Nikita M, think about making Indian crafts both modern and relevant

By Asmita Aggarwal

Nikita grew up in a small town of Siddhpur, Gujarat (a two-hour drive from Ahmedabad) and came from an illustrious family that grew chicory, a plant mixed with coffee beans to achieve the final blend. Her father being the biggest farmers in the small town supplying to coveted corporate like Nescafe and Bru. The eldest in the family, she was groomed to take over the family business, being the favourite child, but her interests were in the sketch book, which she kept returning to.

After an MBA from Ahmedabad, she realised her true love was designing, so she did a course from NIFD, to learn technical knowledge and sharpen her skills. Today her brand is almost 15 years old, with a definite focus on showcasing modern India.

The biggest good news that came this year, she admits, is the FDCI announcing the fashion week, amidst the gloom that had surrounded the fashion world. Nikita observed people around her, and how they went back to what they love—painting, baking, dancing, music among other passions. This set the ball rolling for her LMIFW SS’21 line, with the central theme –happiness is the elixir of life. “It also has elements of my travel to Turkey last year and the intricate carpets I saw, those have been converted into prints,” she explains. She has used baroque embroidery, abandoned sharp silhouettes and offered easy ones, this has been executed in corduroy woven in Banaras, where the entire process was done online with weavers.

“As I have my roots in Gujarat, my old friend helped me source the finest silk and cotton khadi from the Gandhi Ashram, Gandhinagar, which helped me execute a subtle change in construction,” she adds.

To save time, energy and resources, Nikita let the Middle East buyers select the base fabric which hastened the process and she then printed it, in keeping with the mood of the season—muted tones.  “I have given up the race for too many collections, I want to now concentrate on less, and rather than doing season-specific clothes, I prefer trans-seasonal ones, which are not bound by restrictions. I can show this three months later also, thus I’ve added some autumn jackets, as well as classic separates in this line,” she adds.

With weddings becoming simpler, Nikita admits everyone has streamlined their budget and has chosen classics over trends. Fashion needed a desperate evolution, says the Nagpur-based designer and that’s just what happened with this churning. “My life has been interesting, my family welcomed my brother 12 years after I was born.  I got married at 22 to the man I loved and met in Mumbai, Dushyant and had both my children by the age of 25. It gave me time to pursue my love for fashion, with his support, I don’t think I could have done it alone. These are the lessons I learnt in my life to remain positive no matter what. This line is an extension of this innate energy,” she concludes.

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