Fashion Talk
Sneha Arora

Sneha Arora

Fashion Designer & Owner
Label Sneha Arora

We'll launch a menswear collection this year

Sneha Arora, an alumnus of National Institute of Fashion Technology, India, started her eponymous label in 2011 and later launched it nationally at Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive 2012. Since then, the Sneha Arora, the label, has been a regular at the Fashion Week in Mumbai. The label's DNA lies in telling stories through clothes that have a lady-like twist to masculine silhouettes. Designer Sneha Arora chats about the metamorphosis of Indian fashion, latest collections and the menswear range to be launched soon.

Fibre2Fashion : You are close to completing a decade in the Indian fashion industry. How has the industry evolved?

Sneha Arora:

The industry has grown in many ways since the time we launched the label. It is more receptive to younger designers. Western pret is a booming category that was only growing at that time.
There are a host of opportunities now, new stores, more visibility with social media at its peak. People are buying Indian designers ever more.

The audience is more receptive to our ideas, they enjoy the alternate school of thought as much as they do the fashion week cycles. It is the best time for Indian fashion. We seem to have blossomed. 

Fibre2Fashion : Did you always want to design clothes for women? How has womenswear in India transformed?

Sneha Arora:

I started my career in menswear before I launched my own label. But yes, I always wanted to start with womenswear because it is a category I love more. Eventually I would want to branch out to menswear as well. 

Womenswear in India, which was predominantly an Indianwear market has now grown towards westernwear. Pret is the new couture. Women are open to experimenting and that gives the designers liberty to put their ideas on them. As more and more women are becoming independent, they wear their attitude on their sleeve. There is a new-found love for craftsmanship as we have all evolved to believe that there is more than what meets the eye. 

Fibre2Fashion : Tell us about in brief about your journey from working at Van Heusen to owning a label?

Sneha Arora:

I got campus-placed in Madura Garments, a retail giant in Bangalore, I started working with Peter England and then moved to Van Heusen. It changed my vision and outlook towards fashion.  A lot of my androgynous influences did come from having worked in menswear in the early days. 

Three years into a corporate set-up was good enough for me to recognise my areas of interest and that was when I decided to quit a cushy corporate seat for greener pastures. It was a huge change from working in an organisation with 600 other employees to coming and sitting with the one tailor I had employed at that time; it was fun nonetheless. 

Fibre2Fashion : Where do you source fabric and accessories from?

Sneha Arora:

We use a wide range of fabrics, hand-woven silks from Bishnupur in Bengal, cottons and shirting from mills in Gujarat , other silks from importers in Delhi and Mumbai, and linens from Rishra. For accessories, my go to place is Govindpuri in Delhi. One sometimes finds rare trims in the lanes of this quaint market.

Fibre2Fashion : What is your design strategy? What is a staple in all your collections?

Sneha Arora:

We like our clothes to tell stories, and that stays as a constant across all my collections. These are stories that inspire me or things that I read in the papers or for all you know a phase that I am going through. A bit of strength and masculinity is a staple in all seasons. I love detail and we make sure every garment is detailed enough for you to want to come close to it. 

There is no defined design strategy that I follow, I just make sure that we stay true to our potential and deliver original pieces of clothing that make you fall in love with those. 

Fibre2Fashion : Tell us about your latest collection. How many styles does each collection have?

Sneha Arora:

The latest collection is called Breathe-to pause, to make space, to collect your thoughts. Summer Resort 19 talks about allowing yourself some time to breathe and enjoy all that is within and without. Easy silhouettes, laid back bodies, botanical miniature prints and hand embroidered details, all woven into a palate of sky blues, leaf greens, earthy beiges and whites with a hint of sunny oranges, spun in airy silks, skinny organzas, smooth cottons and cotton silks. Each collection has about 40-50 styles.

Fibre2Fashion : Who is your target audience? Where is your clientele majorly from (in terms of geographies)?

Sneha Arora:

My target audience are independent women, who could be in their twenties or thirties, or even in her sixties, someone who is confident and comfortable about who she is. She can be a lawyer in her thirties, a mother of two in her forties or a sixty-year-old who loves travelling with her friends.  In terms of geographies, they are from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Jaipur.

Fibre2Fashion : Since you stock with stores abroad, how is the demand for your clothes in India versus abroad?

Sneha Arora:

At present, I sell more in India than I do outside because I have fewer points of sale internationally.  People in India appreciate fabric more than anywhere in the world. We focus a lot on the textiles and use only natural fibre fabrics compared to viscose and synthetics that dominate the international market.

Fibre2Fashion : How is Indian fashion being perceived internationally?

Sneha Arora:

Indian fashion has now gone global with a lot of designers participating in trade fairs in Europe and the United States. In the past five years, we have had three Woolmark winners from India that has also opened the perception of global markets.  There is a demand globally for craftsmanship and handmade apparel and we are very well meeting their demands. So, we are definitely going places.

Fibre2Fashion : What does sustainability mean to you? How successful have you been in incorporating sustainability into fashion?

Sneha Arora:

Sustainability for me is a way of living. In fashion, just using hand-woven fabrics is not sustainability. Practicing fair wages, providing a comfortable working place, minimising waste, recycling and most importantly, being conscious of people and the space around you is sustainability.  We are still trying to become sustainable, but I think it is a long way to go. Hopefully by the end of year we will become much more conscious and sustainable in our working.

Fibre2Fashion : What are the top three predictions for Autumn/Winter 2019-20?

Sneha Arora:

The top three trends for Autumn/Winter 2019-20 are slouchy pant suits for women, big bold shoulders for dresses and blouses and the colour orange in all its forms.

Fibre2Fashion : What are your future plans? Are there any interesting collaborations or collections in the pipeline?

Sneha Arora:

There are a couple of new things in the pipeline in the coming years, the most immediate being the launch of menswear. That is what I am looking forward to this year. (HO)