Fashion Talk
Shyamal Shodhan

Shyamal Shodhan

Co - Founder
Label - Shyamal and Bhumika

Indian fashion has come of age and evolved tremendously

One of India’s leading fashion houses, Shyamal & Bhumika seeks inspiration from the rich Indian heritage and culture that is over 5,000 years old. The designer couple works towards reviving India’s precious crafts and artisans’ techniques to create couture collections relevant to modern-day sensibilities. In an interview with Kiran Sahija, Co-founder Shyamal Shodhan talk about their journey, inspirations behind such exclusive collections and share some styling tips for a bride-to-be.

Fibre2Fashion: What attracted you two towards the fashion industry and how would you illustrate your journey?

Shyamal Shodhan:

Our shared passion for design, culture and history as well as a magnetic pull towards fashion were important factors. Even before joining the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Bhumika was passionate about designing and getting her outfits tailored with the tailor at home. At age 15, she would design and create experimental fashion-forward looks to wear over the weekend.

Bhumika and I have been designing since 1999, right out of fashion college.

Fibre2Fashion: As a husband-wife duo, how do you strike a balance between your personal and professional lives?

Shyamal Shodhan:

We have known each other for around two decades now. We have grown with each other and shared our differences. Constant communication plays a key role to maintain balance. We let each other explore and widen our horizons making innovation and growth possible.

Fibre2Fashion: Where do you get your creative nutrition? What fashion do you follow?

Shyamal Shodhan:

Craft by hand is the most liberating aspect of what we do, and it helps us easily translate our various inspirations into our collection. We get creative nutrition from our heritage architectural grandeur, and our personal travels and tales that we’ve grown up listening to. Our biggest inspiration comes from our mission of spreading the beauty of Indian craftsmanship all over the globe. More than fashion we are influenced by the culture that surrounds us. Living in Ahmedabad, which is India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City, brings with it pride and a reflection into a different, more humble, more unassuming culture.

Fibre2Fashion: How would you define today’s modern bride and how has the nature of bridal couture evolved over the years?

Shyamal Shodhan:

The modern bride, like the Shyamal & Bhumika muse, is an independent woman, elegant and sophisticated, with global exposure and values her Indian roots, regardless of where she lives in the world. She emulates timeless beauty and effortless elegance.

Fibre2Fashion: How do you include sustainability in your fashion creations?

Shyamal Shodhan:

Creating a large part of your hand-made collection without the use of energy or electricity and using renewable sources of power like solar for your energy needs is the first step towards building a sustainable business. Our production house is one of the most beautiful naturally ventilated buildings with four sides of continuous windows with minimum needs for an air-cooled atmosphere.

Secondly, the use of eco-friendly, natural and biodegradable fabrics makes sure your products don’t pollute even after they are discarded.

Also, our couture being time-less is mostly passed on from one generation to another and is rarely discarded which makes sure there is little or no immediate waste going to the landfill.

Handwoven luxurious silks sourced from weavers in different states of India provide livelihood. We are passionate about nurturing craft, while providing livelihood to our artisans and particular about protecting the environment.

We’ve pledged support to PETA and are a leather-free brand.

Fibre2Fashion: How did your sales differ pre-and post-2020 pandemic? Did you experience a rise in online sales when the physical markets were more or less closed or non-operative?

Shyamal Shodhan:

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most major social and economic disruption of our times. As events and celebrations got smaller, we focused our fashion direction on our timeless, season-less classics and phased out peripheral mid-season shows.

Since almost a decade, our clientele has been used to the digital release of our collections and the online assistance of our multi-country customer service team.

Our direct-to-consumer approach and an international following on social media helped our teams to remain connected with our past, present and future clientele. We experienced substantial growth in online sales during this period.

Fibre2Fashion: What is your take on luxury fashion landscape of India?

Shyamal Shodhan:

Indian fashion has come of age and evolved tremendously. India has been the textile hub of the world for time immemorial and has also been foremost in luxury fashion. Every fabric, artistry, craft or even embellishment has a story and rationale. We have tried contributing by way of reviving ancient weaves, and intricate handwork like aari and zardozi to name a few. We have consistently been taking India to the world and showing some of our rich heritage and craftworks to global audiences.

Fibre2Fashion: What tips can you give to brides who are searching for their personal style?

Shyamal Shodhan:

In our opinion, a bride should look for her own unique sense of style and fashion that is not ruled by 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, but what would make the entire trousseau stand out is her personality.

Brides can choose asymmetrical lehengas with detailed blouses, long trailing gowns or jackets with lehengas in terms of silhouettes. 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.

Fibre2Fashion: How long does it take to make a single bridal outfit and how does the design process work?

Shyamal Shodhan:

Owing to the complex production processes, each garment is given personal attention. Exclusively sourced fabrics that are hand-dyed and weaved go through many processes to achieve the specific colour used. Hand-embroidery, depending on the technique can take anything from 20-45 days. Bespoke stitching and hand finishing also add to the man-hours dedicated to each garment. From the moment the design process is over, and the production process begins, a single outfit can take from 45 to 90 days depending on the complexity of the processes involved.

Fibre2Fashion: What advice would you like to share with fashion aspirants trying to break into wedding couture and designing?

Shyamal Shodhan:

You should have a vision and stand by it at all times. Be creative and original in all that you do. Always listen to your heart and instinct. Follow your passion and success will follow.

What advice would you like to share with fashion aspirants trying to break into wedding couture and designing?

Published on: 07/07/2022
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