'We are out there!'

'We are out there!'

When one sees the outfits made by Disha Patel and Menaka Premkumar, it is tough to place the designer duo as contrasting personalities. But it is merely the difference that comes in handy, say the designers, who showcased their debut ‘Soirée couture’ collection at the Blenders Pride Bangalore Fashion Week Summer Showers 2014 recently. 

“We are both very different people — I’m a lot more tomboyish while Menaka is very feminine. But we try to incorporate those two personalities together and make the garments. That conflict makes our outfits look better because it brings out the best of both,” explains Disha, to which Menaka adds, “We met while working at a retail brand and knew that this was not what we wanted to do. Although our design sense is very different, we’re very similar as people. So we start off from different places but end up in the same place.”

Are there a lot of clashes between the two? Disha replies, “There are no clashes but if we find things that we don’t like individually, we work till we come up with something we both like. We think of the brand that we are building, which is a combination of two personalities.” Menaka adds, “We know the direction we want to take and are exploring the markets accordingly. We’ve been doing a lot of work with regard to clients but we want to go into couture and not mass production. If we can create a niche for ourselves in the intended market, it will help us move forward.”

The two focus on evening gowns and dresses for parties and occasions though heavy Indian outfits are also their forte. “More than florals, which is our speciality, Indians are very receptive to bright colours and big motifs. In European markets, you will see a lot of neutrals and stark and minimal looks but Indian markets are good to explore in terms of vibrancy,” says Menaka. 

However, the two of them admit to having a personal preference for Western wear. “Our roots are always going to be with us but I think that Western wear is something that offers a lot more to explore than ethnic wear. We do follow trends but personal comfort means a lot to us. Even when we are making our collection, we think of how the buyer should be at ease in that outfit,” shares Disha.

Ask the Mumbai designers about their take on Bangalore and Disha says, “Bangalore is quite upcoming — we can always show our work in Mumbai today or tomorrow but presenting our first collection here was the right choice.” Menaka wraps up, “People in Bangalore are open to new stuff whereas Mumbai is somewhat saturated. Here, they actually go for offbeat, arty stuff and we wanted to appeal to that market and let them know that we’re out there!”

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