International, luxurious and sustainable- Three words to describe the collection of up and coming designer Sonya Vajifdar. Featured in this year's Los Angeles Fair Trade Fashion Show, Vajifdar showcased her latest collection "The Organic Bloom". Honoring the combination of Parisian and organic couture, the collection proved that sustainable fashion can be both achievable and luxurious. The traveling designer with a message, travels between various countries. Lucky for us the Indigo Stop was able to capture an alluring Q&A interview with her, where she discusses her past experience as a designer, what her brand stands for and more.
"I'm from Mumbai, India and studied fashion design at IED (Instituto Europio de Design) in Milan, Italy."
IS: What sparked your interest in fashion?
SV: In my childhood I used to read comic books like 'Archies', I used to draw Betty and Veronica and admire their dresses and redesign outfits for them. I believe my interest in designing started there.
IS: What made you take fashion more seriously and make a career out of it?
SV: I initially thought Fashion Marketing would be a more lucrative career path, and enrolled at IED for a Fashion Marketing course, but being in Milan the fashion capital of the world and seeing girls on the street in amazing clothes I immediately knew that my heart was drawn more towards designing than marketing.
IS: Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?
SV: I studied fashion and textile design for 3 years at IED, after which I interned with a French company called Estrelle. I then returned to India to work with an Indian designer.
IS: How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
SV: I started my label with designer raincoats all made out of plastic, going into couture gowns made of pure chiffon and silk. I recently completely rebranded my label into an eco-friendly and high fashion brand using only organic fibers and recycled materials. I now concentrate on finding unique and unconventional items to up-cycle and use in my garments.
IS: What is the inspiration behind your work and your collection?
SV: Inspiration can come from possibly anything from music, nature, photography, emotions and other designer silhouettes. I enjoy creating my own textiles so the idea of being able to use waste materials in my garments really pushed me to create a collection of eco couture garments.
IS: How is it like to start a brand in Los Angeles?
SV: This year my brand (SONYA VAJIFDAR) took part in the 3rd edition of the Fair Trade Fashion Show in LA and one of my garments was selected as the show stopper and I was consequently blogged about by fashion influencers after the event. My brand is now online for sale at Bead & Reel (www.beadandreel.com) as well as being displayed in a private showroom for celebrity stylists.
IS: How is your work received internationally?
SV: The brand is now available in stores in Los Angeles, New York, Dubai, London, Cape Town, Johannesburg and India. We are also constantly featured by bloggers worldwide. We have started a social media campaign called #knowyoursource to build awareness about sustainable fashion and we are so excited to have bloggers, fashion influencers and celebrities participating in this campaign.
IS: What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
SV: Recycling and protecting the planet.
IS: What advice would you give to young designers?
SV: I would advice all young designers to be persistent, to never give up on your vision, to take risks and go with your instincts. Fashion is an industry that will never get saturated and there is always place for innovative designers.
IS: What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
SV: To be available in many more stores internationally, to grow online sales and to make my mark in the fashion industry as an eco-couturier.
IS: Are you currently working on any big projects?
SV: Currently working on up-cycling soda cans and creating red carpet gowns out of them.
IS: What's your motto?
SV: #reuse #recycle #restyle