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Fashion Talk

Ridhi Mehra & Shivani Poddar

Designer, and Founder & CEO respectively
Ridhi Mehra & Indya

Fashion is the most vibrant way to put your story

Recently, Indya—an India-based fusion wear brand founded by Shivani Poddar—collaborated with designer Ridhi Mehra to launch a special festive collection. In an Interview with Fibre2Fashion, designer Ridhi Mehra and Indya founder & CEO Shivani Poddar discuss their journey so far, Talks about their latest collaboration, and suggest a few wardrobe essentials.

Fibre2Fashion: What intrigued you two towards the fashion industry and motivated you to start your own brand?

Ridhi Mehra & Shivani Poddar:

Ridhi Mehra: I graduated from NIFT, Delhi. Prior to that, I earned a Business Management Degree from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. I was closely assisting my mother and aunt in their business. Although they were more inclined towards the business aspect of it, the creative element was of my interest. So, after completing the graduate programme in fashion studies from NIFT, I took a deep dive into fashion and established my own label.

Shivani Poddar: Back when we started, there was a huge gap between the growing demand for affordable women’s western wear and organised brands that were offering trendy styles at sweet prices. What existed in the market didn’t fit the average girl’s budget who was becoming increasingly aware of the global fashion but didn’t have the avenues to shop. A stray conversation on these pain points with my co-partner Tanvi Malik led to the birth of High Street Essentials Pvt. Ltd. in 2012.

We started out with FabAlley, which is a fashion-forward western wear brand, and in 2016 we launched Indya that caters to the burgeoning fusion-wear industry. We realised that a lot of women in the age group of 25 to 40 today do not want to wear traditional ethnic wear that has been the same for generations. Women with a moderately western lifestyle are looking for something which is modern, trendy and in line with what’s happening overall from a global fashion point of view. Hence, we wanted to start a brand which had the perfect mix of Indian traditions combined with global fashion influences.


F2F: How did the idea of collaboration between you two emerge?


Ridhi Mehra - The prospect of collaborations has always interested me. Indya is a modern Indian wear brand that has successfully re-invented traditional Indian fashion by considering the evolving lifestyle and aesthetics of the new-age woman. Their design language and creative approach align beautifully with that of label Ridhi Mehra. So, when the opportunity to collaborate with Indya presented itself, it was a definite yes.

Shivani Poddar - At Indya, we’ve always wanted to create a high street that hasn’t previously existed for Indian designer wear. The very foundation of the brand is to democratise fashion and introduce our audience to products and designers that may not be accessible to them otherwise. While each designer we collaborate with has a unique design language and strong signature, they all have a modern and fusion sensibility that we can incorporate into our own design DNA. The idea of new designer capsules every season is to offer our audience, collections that are fresh, current, and in line with the season. This Diwali, we wanted to serve our customers with a fashion aesthetic that is unlike anything we’ve done before. Ridhi’s designs while being traditional are extremely contemporary and stylised. She pushes the boundaries of ethnic wear by beautifully amalgamating Indian craftsmanship and western aesthetics and that is just the sensibility we wanted to bring to the table for our fashion-forward audience. The line sets the tone for the season with its flowy and feminine silhouettes, dreamy vintage details, glistening prints, striking embroideries, and a potpourri of bright festive colours. The ensembles are crafted with a special focus on styling so that our customers don’t have to put much thought on putting a look together. All in all, it’s the perfect line for a post-pandemic Diwali.

F2F: How would you define the aesthetic of your overall collection?


Ridhi Mehra – The Ridhi Mehra X Indya collection, launched on September 15, is contemporary chic with traditional designs on modern silhouettes further adorned with delicate threadwork.

F2F: What inspired you to create such a colourful and versatile collection? What was on the mood board for this collaboration?


Ridhi Mehra - Our intention was to keep the mood festive. To do justice to this, we’ve incorporated ample jewel tones, a variety of vibrant embroidery techniques, fresh prints and a lively colour palette.

F2F: What challenges did you encounter while highlighting your designs parallelly coping up with the vibe and aesthetics of Indya?


Ridhi Mehra - The main challenge was to design a collection within a certain price point whilst keeping our aesthetics intact in each ensemble. In addition, infusing the delicate thread work into festive, light, and ready-to-wear styles, did pose a daunting task; but we persevered and got what we envisioned in the end.

F2F: What things were kept on priority while designing this collection?


Ridhi Mehra - The priority was to unlock the potential of crafting a capsule that is outside the brand’s typical design ideas, without refreshingly compromising on the aesthetic essence and signature. It was our prime intent to incorporate the delicate thread works with a mix of fresh and signature styles and play around with a pop of new colours, without overdoing anything.

Shivani Poddar -The key focus while designing this collection was to keep Ridhi’s design aesthetic intact while crafting it for a wider audience at an affordable price point.

F2F: What are the signature elements/styles available in this collection that are true to the design philosophies of both Ridhi Mehra and Indya?


Ridhi Mehra - It’s a powerhouse of a collaboration that brings to the contemporary women of India a thoughtfully refined fashion narrative worth donning and cherishing. The Ridhi Mehra X Indya collection carries a common intention at its core: to adorn a lovely lady with showstopping silhouettes that are affordable, functional and effortless.

The collection predominantly features chic boho prints and delicate bandhani prints. A varied array of thread work including monochrome floral thread work and ivory floral thread work also adorns the ensembles. A spectacular colour palette makes this collection even more festive with sublime hues like mint green, yellow, pastel pink, and ivory, balanced with intense choices like fuchsia, deep green, navy blue and wine and mustard.
The fabric used is predominantly georgette. Styles range from Indo-western flowy drapes to Indo-western shirt sets crafted to win hearts and turn heads.
This collaboration boasts of Ridhi Mehra’s signature design aesthetics amalgamated with Indya’s indomitable accessibility across the globe.

Shivani Poddar - Ridhi’s signature ultra-feminine, vintage-inspired aesthetics and delicate details have come into play in this collection. One can see influences of Parisian glamour and Grecian grace mastered on Indian silhouettes that form her design language. On the other hand, Indya has brought its versatile, fuss-free and functional designs to form the core of the line – think signature pre-draped sarees, festive jumpsuits, flowy one-and-done gown-like kurtas and shararas with attached dupattas.

F2F: According to you two, what are the five ethnic wear wardrobe essentials every man and woman should have in their wardrobe?


Ridhi Mehra - For women, the festive essentials are:

1. A pre-draped saree - It’s classic and contemporary at the same time and adds ample pizzazz.
2. Jewel-toned lehengas - Edgy and experimental, perfect for the “something new” element.
3. Anarkali - The classic long hem will make an excellent pick for a showstopping moment.
4. Peplum shararas/ gararas - For those grand allure and grand entrances.
5. Co-Ord sets - Screams effortless, chic and solid style. Pair them with beautiful jutis and statement jewellery and ethnic belts to further elevate your celebratory avatars.

For Men, our festive picks are:
1. Nehru Jackets - Truly classic and sophisticated.
2. A classic jacket/blazer - Easy to don and pair with different shirts and kurtas in a myriad of colours.
3. Bandgalas - For a sharp effortless classic ethnic look.
4. Embroidered kurtas - An all-time favourite and all-time dapper choice. Pair them with the right stole/shawl, accessories and mojaris and you have a head-turning look ready.

F2F: What drives you to remain in the industry when there are so many new fashion brands coming into the picture?


Ridhi Mehra - Every brand has a unique design narrative to offer and that’s what makes things interesting, especially when it comes to the fashion industry. Our passion to create along with capturing the essence of the various perspectives we’ve gained through time is the prime driving force behind what we do.

F2F: What do you want readers to take away from this interview?


Ridhi Mehra - That fashion is a beautiful outlet of expression when used to its truest potential. It’s the most vibrant way to put your story out there, of your fearlessness, of your strength, of the fight that’s in you, of the kindness in you. So, the next time when you pick an ensemble, see your complete self in it, own it and flaunt it like the boss that you are.

What do you want readers to take away from this interview?

Interviewer: Kiran Sahija
Published on: 04/10/2022
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