From being a criminal lawyer to starting a brand, Saaksha Bhat partners with sister-in-law Kinnari Kamat, to let women enjoy pleats, mirror work and acid wash denims.
By Asmita Aggarwal
Few know that Saaksha Bhat is from a famous film family known for legends like Mani Ratnam and Kamal Hasan, but the humility is palpable in her conversations, when she tells you she never even thought about foraying into Bollywood. The UK born and raised Bhat, knew it had to be either law or medicine just like her grandparents, so the career choice was easier—she became a top criminal lawyer before she moved to India to marry and settle down in a country she grew to love.
“I’m very close to my family, frankly there is a lot of potential here, the opportunities are endless. You can really be a dreamer. I used to spend my summers on film sets, so I understand the challenges of the glamour world and inner functioning. India for me, when I came here at the age of 22 was about culture and celebrations. I never wanted to go back,” says Saaksha. She practiced law in the UK wanting to make a difference, but in India things were different and the judicial system was a tough place to navigate.
You would never expect two sister-in-laws to get along the way they actually do—in some ways the duo is inseparable and maybe that’s why Saaksha and Kinni, the label has seen an unprecedented fan following in just a short span of time-five years. Saaksha and Kinnari Kamat have realized division of roles are the key to optimizing operations, so the trained designer from NIFT, Kinni looks after the creative aspect and rest is managed by Saaksha.
Though Kinni, has worked with some of the most prestigious houses in Europe ranging from Balmain to Dsquared, working on their embroideries. Her love for Indian prints and colours was unmistakable; she knew global silhouettes would make each piece universal, but the embroidery techniques were adapted as well as the processes, thus the usage of oxidized stones for a subtle effect. From mirror work to micro hand pleating, the two are excited to showcase, brings forth crafts for a woman they think is ambitious, bold and well-educated. “Most women want the clothes to do the talking— they can wear ikkat in the form of a bralet, and lehriya in a jacket. It is Indian yet Western in its interpretation. The lockdown forced all of us to dress for ourselves, but things have changed. Girls want to dress up but of course comfortably. Covid has made everyone love ease, and embrace it,” she explains.
The key takeaway from the pandemic is to remain stylish but no fuss, no crease clothing, easy to pack, travel with, this has been a game changer. They work with lightweight satins, acid wash denims creating a dichotomy of looks, soft with masculine, without tipping the scales. “Prism” , their line in collaboration with an electronics company Logitech, gave them the leeway to experiment with clean lines, crisp shapes and geometric embroideries. “The emojis in their keys have a youthful vibe and this became the ignition point, to create vibrant clothing for young consumers with shining mirrors and layering,” she adds.
The feminine chiffon dress meets the slouchy jacket, the baseball caps are heavily embroidered channeling sporty chic, their resort wear brand is about vacations, cocktails and walking on the beach, and the colours represent shades when light passes through glass. “As a young label the challenges are enormous, —competition, talent and creativity you see around pushes you to excel,” she concludes.