Be Inspired with Shyamal & Bhumika
Planning your Asian wedding wouldn’t be complete without picking your dream dress. Asian bridal couture is so grand and I have a true passion to inspire Asian brides to find their dream wedding outfit. This is why I had to make it a must to talk to the amazing designers Shyamal and Bhumika.
Shyamal and Bhumika are well known fashion designers from Gujarat and their fashion strongly reflects a passion for craft and heritage. They have crafted designs for clients across the world including some of your favourite celebrities, such as the lovely Kiara Advani! The actress showcased the renowned designer duo’s collection, Muse of Mirrors at the India Couture Week 2018.
I was so honoured to be given the opportunity to put questions across to them. I feel it’s so important to get to know the designer and as our ‘On The Trend’ has become so popular, I wanted to talk directly to the designers themselves. I had the pleasure to ask them questions regarding fashion and business as well as a few personal ones. May we all be inspired.
What tips can you give brides looking for their personal style?
In our opinion, a bride should look for her own unique sense of style and fashion that’s not ruled by the trends. This will make her stand out. It is imperative to choose the right kind of outfits and accessories that go with the wedding and traditions.
Brides can choose asymmetrical lehengas with detailed blouses, long trailing gowns or jackets with lehengas in terms of silhouettes. Each bride should choose colours that suit her skin tone. A signature lehenga or saree paired with jewellery that goes with the design sensibilities of the outfit is recommended for all who are unsure about their style.
What is your vision for todays modern bride?
The modern bride today is much like the Shyamal and Bhumika muse, who is an independent and confident woman. She is elegant and sophisticated, with global exposure and values her roots immensely, regardless of where she lives. She emulates timeless beauty and effortless style. She appreciates the craft done by hand, its uniqueness and rarity. She is keen on absorbing all that the world has to offer, yet creates her own identity interwoven to her roots.
What is your process when creating a new piece?
The initial phase starts with an idea, concept or a theme. We then start detailing out the collection, in the form of silhouettes, art work, motifs, etc. We study, research and experiment with various materials, colours, embroidery techniques to finalise the detailed intricate work of every outfit of the collection.
We work with different dye, embroidery and even hand-stitching techniques. In embroidery, we use intricate Aari, Zardosi, Resham, Marodi and even Appliqué, Peeta and Khaat. We make each design unique by paying extreme attention to details and blending our Indian aesthetic with modern sensibilities.
How do Shyamal and Bhumika designs stand apart from other bridal designers?
We always use traditional elements even in our trendiest of ensembles. We combine traditional crafts and modern silhouettes. We have been using age-old craft in a new way that appeals to the modern aesthetic of our brides. We create clothes keeping in mind our muse, her tastes and experiences too. Our intricately, hand-worked and handmade, timeless ensembles create an everlasting impression on all.
How have you seen brides evolve over the years?
The Indian Bride has been a traditionalist all along. With global exposure, she has come to appreciate the workmanship created by Indian artisans and the grandeur attached to it. She today wants to make a deliberate fashion statement and uses western nuances juxtaposed with Indian aesthetics to create her own identity.
What do you love most about the fashion industry?
The versatility and diversity of the fashion industry has always fascinated us. We are intrigued by the remarkable history, ideas and knowledge that manifests through every individual who has a different, more innovative; more captivating thought to share with the world.
What advice can you give to new designers?
The most important thing while designing today is to be unique and innovative while bringing your roots into your designs. Each person’s culture shapes their individuality and fashion in way of expressing your aesthetics. Be original and stick to the niche you are passionate about.
Is the fashion industry what you expected it to be?
It is what we expected and more. The fashion industry has given us an opportunity to showcase the grandeur of the rare handcraft techniques available in our country. We have been able to project these unique and precious crafts to the world and have been able to connect with a niche group of likeminded people who value art and treasure couture like us. Our ideas of eco-friendly and sustainable fashion have always been appreciated and have encouraged us to be a part of the global dialogue.
When will you come and visit the UK?
We visited the UK in January, 2018 for the Aashni & Co Wedding Show and will be doing it in 2019 too. As we stock at both Aashni & Co. and Bibi London, we like to visit the UK to meet our brides personally and help them choose their dream ensemble for their big day.
How did you both meet?
Bhumika and I were in the same school, but got to know each other through common friends just after I finished high school. At the age of 20, I was sent to Hyderabad to explore. However, I fell in love with the weaving of Pochampally and tried my hand at developing interesting colour combinations in woven fabrics. Bhumika would send me sketches of garments while interning in Bangalore. Thus, our first prêt collection was born. Thereafter, Bhumika’s graduating project of reviving the Amdavadi Real Zari weaving technique was our first step towards couture and wedding wear. That is how Shyamal & Bhumika was established. We started our journey in the early 2000’s and were chosen for the Fashion Week in 2006.
What is your biggest inspiration?
We take inspiration for our bridal and luxury couture collections from all around us. From the architectural grandeurs of our ancestral homes, our personal travels and tales we’ve grown up listening to, have all inspired our work. Our biggest inspiration comes from our mission of spreading the beauty of Indian craftsmanship all over the globe. Coming from the only UNESCO World Heritage City in India, we support diverse types of ancient embroidery and age old weaving techniques; one of the projects being that of reviving the ancient Amdavadi Real Zari Weaving Technique. We also take inspiration from the lost world charms, artefacts, and architectural wonders that signify our collection and recreate the essence of the Erstwhile era.
If you were not fashion designers what would you be doing?
We have been very close to nature and handcraft since childhood. Our parents have inculcated in us sustainability and a trust in our heritage and culture. If not designers, we would still be associated with handcraft in the best way possible. Our vision to take the Indian handcraft and artisan techniques to the world would have been accomplished through a different channel, maybe architecture, interiors, product design, or even photography for the National Geographic.
As a couple what relationship advice would you give?
Understanding and communication are the key aspects of any relationship. Respecting each other’s work and thoughts is most important. As a couple we believe in sharing and growing together in all walks of life.
What legacy do you want to leave?
Shyamal & Bhumika stands for exquisite craftsmanship and design detailing. We use all forms of eco friendly and sustainable forms of designs and production. Our forte is designing couture and keeping it relevant to modern sensibilities. Reviving and preserving craft by hand and taking it forward to make it reach the glorious heights it deserves is what we want to achieve and the legacy we want to leave.
Which design trends would you like to see make a comeback?
Craft by hand is the most important aspect of what we do. Following our love for hand woven fabrics and hand embroidery techniques, we would like to see people appreciate the rare art created by artisans. We want more people to start appreciating the uniqueness of natural hand woven fabrics, hand embellishing and also hand finishing that are not present in machine made clothes. We celebrate couture for its exceptional artistry and fine details and treasure the rare beauty it brings to the world of fashion.