Image c/o SanchitaAjjampur.com
We had the pleasure of meeting fashion designer Sanchita Ajjampur at Paris Fashion Week. Graceful, driven and elegant, she’s the embodiment of a modern power woman.
We have already featured Sanchita’s personal style in a Style Feature, and now we tapped the designer to chat about her collections, inspirations, and must-haves for this season. Prepare to take notes!
Born in Mumbai, raised in Europe and trained in Japan, Sanchita Ajjampur has been infusing global influences into her collection since its debut in 2007. Her clothes, applauded by editors and well-loved by customers from Mumbai to Milan, are inspired by the “modern nomad” (think well-traveled woman who’s adopted a piece of every country she’s been to).
Ajjampur has also collaborated with Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, as well as industrial applied design projects for Alessi homeware, Swatch watches, Glas Design mirrors and Slamp lamps. She was also the design consultant for a range of “apparel projection clothing images” for Milan’s La Scala Opera House.
How did you start in fashion?
As far as I remember, from an early age I was interested in color and texture – toys, clothing, foods, whatever.
My mother’s wardrobe; a smorgasbord of tactile, colorful garments was a huge source of inspiration. Exquisite traditional sarongs, shawls, saris or iconic vintage fashion – inspired also by muse Talitha Getty’s ‘boho chic or Sid Vicious’ rebel punk fashion.
Growing up in Europe and constant travel certainly contributed to the love for things eclectic, exotic and alternative. My childhood in Vienna – the epicenter of the art nouveau with the likes of the Secession arts and crafts movement, Klimt, Kokoschka, Schiele, Gypsy style observed from the local “Naschmarkt” which was a melting pot of the Eastern European cultures, whilst schooling in the UK, exposed me to a nomadic lifestyle.
Finally I studied the arts and design in Paris and Milan which paved the path towards applied arts, design and fashion.
Where do you draw your inspiration most when creating a new collection?
Virtually anything can trigger off a thought for the new season – for me, it is about being curious and observing the world—societies and cultures are the beating heart of creativity and modernity.
Through art installations, whether visual, acoustic lighting, textures, color, nature, cultures or people – inspiration is observed and rethought and triggered from various sources. Impressions are absorbed through places and people and stillness at times.
How does your Indian heritage influence your collections?
Clothing I combine with traditional Indian beading such as Aari and Zardozi – both ancient hand-embroidery techniques passed on by generations. Where and when possible, hand loom fabrics may be woven specifically; some of which can only be developed in particular areas within the country.
I love India for its kaleidoscopic mix of textures, colors, smells, tastes and vibes, its extremes, its magnificent traditions and crafts, its rich mix of culture and history and to some extent, this manifests itself in my collections.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
It’s receiving feedback and seeing real people wearing the things you make. There is so much choice on the market at all levels, so to develop and establish an identity with an emotion quotient is challenging yet rewarding.
What was your most memorable career moment?
Growing colored cotton fields in India? Embroidering with organic materials like dyed wig hair woven with pearls? My daughter’s sketches of Italian opera singers as a prints? Actress Freida Pinto wearing my hand beaded dragonfly gown at Cannes 2013? Many things trigger of memorable moments…
You recently released a capsule collection in collaboration with Swarovski India and are working with Alber Elbaz for Lanvin. Who else would you love to collaborate with?
The collaborations with Alber Elbaz, Veronica Etro and Consuelo Castiglioni date back quite a long way and I am grateful for their support – I feel that the circle is never complete but continues to spin on its axis and orbits. It’s always an interesting and innovating evolution in terms of growth and change; it is humbling associating with iconic brands and their visions.
I do love a great fashion sneaker – accessories are fun and fresh, so I’d love to collaborate with an iconic sportswear brand to create something visually eclectic yet comfortably relaxed.
Must-have for Spring/Summer 2015?
Invest in a good dress which will see you through the season. Eclectic accessories are always worth the investment and instantly change your look.