March 14, 2024 FDCI

One size fits all

Chola by Sohaya Misra is back after five years to tell us clothes must be alive, have movement and adjustable, defying conventional norms of dressing according to your size and body type.

                                                                   Asmita Aggarwal

Little did she know that the name she kept for herself as a toddler, ‘Chola’ would one day become the moniker of her fashion label, after all stylist-turned-fashion designer Sohaya Misra, a psychology major credits her love for free-flowing garments as a starting point of this six-year-old journey into the world of fashion.

The alacrity of Sohaya’s clothing is that it is ageless, genderless and retail spaces which sell as small, medium, extra large, Chola offers you ingenious strings and buttons to adjust it the way you feel comfortable in every outfit you buy from her.

“I don’t embellish and neither do I embroider, it is not my vocabulary,” says Sohaya, but she does believe her clothes as a version of art and that’s why she was excited to collaborate a few years ago with her cousin, an artist Renuka Jalan.

Moving to Goa five years ago and a conscious decision to slow down, raising her son on the sandy beaches, Sohaya, is a woman who believes in collaborations. As her clothes are super easy and allow freedom of movement without any constriction, she dressed dancers working with Peeya Rai Chowdhary of Omaggio Performing company.

The desire to make clothing without boundaries, came from the fact that Sohaya felt not being a conventional body type in India comes with hassles to find the right fit where you can adjust if you put on or lose weight. “Clothes don’t have to be boxy, that’s why I love the Japanese designers. They break rules through minimalism and black. The anti-fits, the love for austerity is what I learnt from them, as I am a self-taught designer who never went to a fashion school,” she explains.

Sohaya is adamant in sourcing locally, with a small five-member team, she only makes as much as it can be consumed. “I feel many times women shop with a set mindset—silk and formal, but now all that is slowly changing. Women are conscious and intelligent. The embroidery fascination has ended, they want to wear and rewear their clothes,” she adds, saying that she tries to add elements that won’t bore the buyers after a few wears.

Unlike others, who first sketch then buy fabrics, she works backwards, so this year she is back with a bright, coloured denim plus patchwork (made from recycled deadstock) as well as linen. Add layering, print-on-print, handwoven ikat to craft structured jackets as well as frills and you get Sohaya Misra’s carefree offering.

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Fashion Design Council of India