FashionThe Phoenix Series

Manjot Mohar Driven by passion, Manjot etches spellbinding dreams onto fabric.

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A professor by virtue of her profession, Manjot couldn’t let go of that constantly nagging feeling that pushed her to finally pursue her dream of becoming a designer. It’s true as they say, when one is passionate about following one’s heart, the universe conspires to make our wish come true!

You have been a professor all along, then how did fashion design come into the picture for you?

Yes, I am a computer engineer by profession and have been working as an assistant professor at an engineering college since quite a while now. However, my true passion has always been inclined towards designing outfits. It was after I had my child that I realized that the only way I’d truly feel professionally fulfilled would be if I follow my dream and focus on fashion designing.

Have you had an interest in creating outfits since you were a child?

Absolutely! Some of my fondest childhood memories are of watching my mother create intricate embroidery patterns on her own suits. She is so talented with needlework and I’d see her sow on the most gorgeous motifs on clothes, cushion covers and other stuff around the house. So much of what I saw around me were unique, customized and handcrafted pieces put together with a genuine love and interest for the craft. So naturally this rubbed off on me. I was so in awe of the whole process and would keep telling her to teach me. I’ve still kept those little pieces of embroidered cloth where I’ve experimented with different stitches as keepsakes. They are amongst my most treasured belongings.

Eventually, who gave you that dose of encouragement to pursue your dream?

After getting married and having a child, I realized that I constantly felt something was missing. I felt this restlessness and this void in my life. I knew the nagging feeling had to do with my inner creativity trying to find it’s voice for expression. On a trip to Delhi, my mother in law and I came across a shop with some stunning fabrics. My mother in law said why not bring in some interesting fabrics to Ludhiana and create some eclectic and fun silhouettes for women here. That’s how the idea for my brand was born. I don’t see myself as someone who can compromise on family time for my career. So being able to run my boutique from home is a win-win situation!

Take us through some of the milestones along your journey.

Over the years I kept designing for myself. All my outfits and my mom’s outfits for my wedding were designed by me! To start off with I designed a couple of sample dresses and really worked on honing my skills. I thoroughly enjoy every little bit of the process involved from scratch in creating an outfit. Very often I draw out my own designs, cut the fabric myself and hand embroider everything! I believe that perfection lies in the smallest details. Soon after I worked on a few kurtas and set up my Instagram page. With god’s grace, there has been no looking back!

What is your vision for your brand?

I’ll be launching my website soon in an effort to reach a bigger audience. I want my boutique to be a one stop shop for all sorts of clothing under one roof. My design sensibility is such that I love working on an array of outfits ranging from very traditional ethnic stuff to a blend of Indo-westerns. I’d love to do a pret line too and foray into the ready to wear market.

What according to you have been some of the most fun outfits you’ve designed?

I designed a few maternity outfits for a client in Canada that I really enjoyed working on. She wanted something formal. I did this top cum dress piece where the top was of mid-thigh length so it could be worn by itself as a dress or could be teamed up with lowers too.

I am also really excited about a range of summer dresses I’ve designed and am really looking forward to showcasing them this coming summer. Inspired by a cake I saw at a bakery in France once, I worked on a carousel design on an off-white Anarkali. So if one looks around, there is inspiration to be found everywhere!

Manila Jain Reinventing the ancient craft of Phulkari to suit the modern sensibility.

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