Style is no stranger to novelty, in fact it embraces it with open arms. This affinity towards change is often put across through fashion that goes beyond the ordinary. Fashion that never shies away from standing out yet being comfortable in its own skin. Fashion, that break barriers and reinvents the wheel ever so often and finds similarities in being different.

This year, fashion for the second time embraced its newness through The Platform by smartwater, a designer mentorship programme in Lakme Fashion week, under the theme – made differently. The participants got an opportunity to showcase their novel take on fashion through designs that were inspired from nature.

Here we have one of the three winners of The Platform, Shweta Gupta of SWGT Label, summing up her experience of an encounter with fashion and style.

Question 1 - Would you like to share with us a bit about your journey that led you to become a part of smartwater ‘The Platform’?

Inhabiting the beautiful locales among the mountains of North India, I was bitten by the bug of beauty since a young age. Abundant access to the lush landscape around me, coupled with the natural serenity of the hills of Uttaranchal, further intensified my adoration towards all things natural.

Nature and how clothes clung to a person’s body, both stayed close to heart. Knotted with elements of my surroundings and wanting to unleash the layered beauty of minimalist expressions of the Self, as an artist, poetess, and person, was what stayed with me as I got an opportunity to participate in The Platform.

 

Question 2 - How did the mentorship with India’s leading designers through ‘The Platform’ help you improve your work and your thought process about design?

It motivated me and gave me the confidence to believe that if you are passionate about something and love doing it (in my case creating a sustainable clothing brand), then you are on the right path. It was also heartening to come together on The Platform with like-minded designers; and was interesting to interact, share ideas and experiences with them. The mentorship also helped all of us fledgling designers form a more structured idea about what the current retail market is like right now.

Question 3 - Could you share with us, your most memorable moment from this encounter with fashion that was made differently?

Isolating one moment would be a herculean task as I think the entire experience was memorable. It taught me a life’s worth of knowledge and was all in all extremely enthralling. It was exciting to have a theme that was so close to my heart.

On a personal level, I felt it resonated with my brand and allowed us to showcase our ‘Made Differently’ story. Taking this theme to build on a collection was also a lot of fun, and then finally displaying and witnessing it be well received. In entirety, it was a memory that will remain etched on my heart for days to come.

Question 4 - What does the theme ‘Made Differently’ mean to you?

The theme ‘Made Differently’ struck a perfect chord with me and my brand. I believe that there are a handful of designers and labels that are truly ethical, natural, and sustainable in today’s day and age.

Technique & Style:  AT SWGT, we hand-weave our fabrics into exclusive textiles according to our patterns and designs. We use various yarns of silk and kinds of cotton that are then complemented by indigenous techniques such as hand beading and intricate embroidery. All of this is done to create minimal textures.

These techniques are developed by me and are taught to the women who work with us in-house. SWGT is made up of flowy silhouettes and geometric details such as embroidered stripes and hand-crocheted flowers. Tailoring techniques of pleating and tucking are used to mold the garment into fuss-free silhouettes. This to me as an individual and part of a label, is ‘Made Differently’.

Question 5 - Do you feel that smartwater presents ‘The Platform’ has helped open opportunities for you to build a career in design? If so, then how?

I am honoured to be recognized by Gen Next at Lakme Fashion Week, and now by smartwater and The Platform. The opportunity to showcase our work is always cherished, especially because it helps us, designers, to reach out to an un-touched audience that we might not have been able to otherwise. I have seen fabulous designers grow and reach exponential heights through platforms as this and I can only hope it does the same for us.

Question 6 – Finally, how impactful has ‘The Platform’ been for your journey?

The Platform has given me a great opportunity to showcase the ethos of the brand and the pedestal to talk about what we as fashion custodians do, how we do it, and why we do it. I am delighted to be one of the three designers chosen and are happy to be supported by Lakme Fashion Week, smartwater and Harper’s Bazaar.