Label - Sheetal Batra
Without design, the world would be chaotic
Launched in 2002, Sheetal Batra’s eponymous label pays homage to India’s rich cultural heritage through handcrafted, intricately embellished pieces. In an interview with Fibre2Fashion, she shares about her design philosophy, memorable projects, and her future vision for the brand.
Fibre2Fashion: What inspired your transition from being a hobbyist to becoming an established designer with nearly two decades of experience?
F2F: What inspired you to focus on reviving traditional Indian designs with a contemporary touch? How do you incorporate this vision into your collections?
I got married in the 90s and the one thing my mother wanted to drape on me was a Kashmiri shawl for a cold November wedding in the hills. The beauty and intricacy of the shawl made me wonder about all the hidden gems made by women in the corners around the country.
F2F: Your brand is known for its impeccable vision and professionalism in transforming designs into works of art. Could you elaborate about your creative process and design philosophy?
My design philosophy is very simple, and it is a sentence you’ll see very often in my brand’s language. We focus on an authentic Indian aesthetic that aims to bring out the luxury of a bygone era.
F2F: Millennial brides seem to be a significant part of your clientele. How do you cater to their evolving fashion preferences and needs?
I build my collection with embroideries that last on silhouettes that are for now. That’s the reason my brides come to me; for an heirloom that has tons of character, combined with silhouettes of the time.
F2F: Could you share a memorable story or project that epitomises the essence of your brand’s vision and mission?
One of my most loved stories has been of a bride who didn’t know what she wanted. She lived abroad, and didn’t understand Indian ethnic wear, and was also getting married in 3 weeks. She stepped into our store on the persistence of her mother, with no love for an ethnic outfit. As we spent two hours together, she left the store learning about Kashmiri Tilla in depth. She was proud to have it as a part of her wedding look. Her words were: “It was more than a design; it was a little part of India.
F2F: Your brand offers various personalised services, such as custom tailoring and private design/styling sessions. How do these services enhance the customer experience and set your brand apart?
We believe that customers do not always check boxes such as S/M/L and trust that they do know their bodies best! We aim to provide a free of charge custom tailoring service that helps us stand out. Giving the right fit to the consumer can change the garment, the look, and the journey of the customer.
F2F: What does the statement ‘Design is intelligence made visible’ mean to you?
Every day as I sit on my desk, I pencil in every free moment. Every sketch is a design; it is different and aims to evoke an emotion. Design is intelligence in every sense. Without design, the world would be chaotic. Design is for everyone.
F2F: What strategies have contributed to your brand’s global reach and expansion in the past five years, including collaborations with international stores?
We have rapidly grown as we expanded into the digital realm during COVID-19. This new learning curve proved to be one of the key decisions for our brand. The global reach is expanded by our website delivering across the world along with collaborations with top physical stores in Dubai, Australia, the US, UK, Canada.
F2F: Can you provide insights into your marketing and promotional strategies, particularly your participation in exhibitions and events?
Exhibitions and events have been at the core of my brand strategy. With an evolving media world, we do reach many across the globe. However, I believe that the right way to reach someone is to allow them to touch, feel, and experience the luxury of the outfit. The brand usually does exhibits around the world and India, and treats them as pop-ups meant for women to really experience what we aim to offer.
F2F: How do you envision the future of your brand? Are there any forthcoming collections or collaborations that particularly excite you?
I envision a future where every bride in every home has a Kashmiri Tilla piece in her wardrobe. I hope to see people appreciating the art form I love the most. As for the brand, I believe that the future holds exciting collections with different art forms and experimental combinations!