Running a fashion label from a small town of Uttar Pradesh is quite a challenge. It has always been so, ever since I started operating this international business from Saharanpur in the western part of the state and about 200 km from the national capital. But not once has the thought ever crossed my mind that I could relocate to a big city to make my life easier. You could ask why. Truth is, I cannot work without my people. Yes, I call them “my people”. They are the people of Saharanpur, my place in the world. And they have kept their faith in me. Faith and hope. In me and my work they see a new ray of light, and a sense of security—some of which is linked to the assurance of a livelihood.
In fact, I owe a lot to my people. Small-town life and the world of artisans living there deeply influence the visual imagery of my designs. I work with marginal communities that are directly or indirectly contributing to the fashion industry. The Indian artisan is my inspiration, especially communities associated with vocations that are in their last gasp, so to speak—the dhobi (washerman), the rafugar (darner), the kadhaaiwala (embroider), the kumhaar (potter) and so on. In every collection, I try to portray the untold story of Indian artisans and connect ‘non-fashion’ industrious people with the fashion industry, while providing them employment in the process.