Mother To Daughter : Fashion For Generations


 Aakansha Sharma, owner of House of Dorii 

is someone who makes custom clothes from scratch and styling videos for fun. Her fondness for fashion comes from her mother. In this conversation, we learn about how Aakansha continued her mother’s legacy. She also talks about her brand and sheds light on some supremely helpful tips and tricks on how to start and sustain your business. In the wake of Covid, Aakansha took it upon herself to give back to society with her campaign #kareforkarigar. Want to find out what it was about? Read along!

Tell us about your brand House of Dorii. 
My love for fashion and wearing new clothes made me start my brand in September of 2018. The initial idea behind the store was to ignite that same passion that I have for clothes in other people. We focus on customized clothing where the client brings us a design, and we create a piece using that design, the client’s sense of style and elements of House of Dorii to create something new. This concept works well since our clients have different styles and appreciate a different type of clothing. The average age of our clientele shifted from 30s-70s and now includes even the younger generation (20s) who have taken an interest in custom clothing since they feel the need to stand out and custom pieces add that uniqueness to their outfit.
What influenced you to get into the fashion industry? Was this something you always wanted to do?
My mom has been my inspiration throughout my journey. She would also design clothes and has a background in the textile industry. She always made her clothes from scratch, giving them a new dimension. At the time that my mother was a part of this industry, people’s mindsets were quite different and unfortunately, my mother decided against starting her own business. That always upset me as a child, and I knew, since then, that I want to be contributing to this industry as well, to carry forward her dreams and legacy. Fashion is a part of my life and my identity, it is not work. 
What is the inspiration behind all your collections? We have noticed how all your clothing includes a lot of print design. What makes you love print so much? 
I draw my inspiration from mundane things in my environment. If I had to pick a few, one would definitely be nature. I have a deep routed connection with planting and the calm look and feel of plants inspires a lot of my collection. I also love the vibrant colors of different fruits and vegetables. It is all a matter of perspective. The simplest of things can inspire a person, if the person seeks it. For me, I feel like prints add a definite edge to your personality. They attract a lot more attention and make the outfit bold without trying too much. Prints also evoke happiness in people and sell more than solid color pieces. 
What colors would you say works best for our Indian skin tone? 
Usually undertones like our browns and dull reds, mustard, and some shades of orange work best with our skin tone and highlight our look. 
What are your future plans for the company? 
At this point in time, my workshop is my house. So the immediate goal is to open a store in Delhi. The long term goal is definitely opening my brand in different cities around India. I wish to inspire people with my designs and get their creative juices flowing. I want to make them love fashion as much as I do, which is also why my concept works since the clients are involved in the process. 

You have started an amazing initiate, KareforKarigar. Would you like to tell us about it? 

Owing to the pandemic and our current situation, we received calls from karigars on a daily, asking us to hire them. Feeling extremely blessed to have a family where I get food every single day, my team and I decided to start this initiative. The basic idea is for customers to purchase a mask for Rs.50, 30 of which would go to the karigar making the mask and the rest would go to people in need, like our house-helps and street vendors. It was quite a success. 
What key points should one keep in mind when starting their own brand?
Passion. This industry is tough and having an interest in fashion and designing is very important to sustain the brand. A key determining factor is also capital. It takes quite a lot of money to start something on this scale. You need to have a good workforce, that will make or break your brand’s success. Finding a location for your workshop is also important, and understanding whether or not you can afford to rent a space. And if not, then figuring out cheaper alternatives. 
What are some tips and tricks to ensure a successful business? 
Prioritizing the customer is paramount in this journey. Maintaining a real relationship with them and ensuring all their needs are met is extremely important. Many times, the client will not be completely satisfied with their piece and may want to make changes. It is important to always be patient and kind. Another way to ensure a successful business is by planning for unfortunate outcomes. During this pandemic, I realized how crucial it is to save up. Had I not saved up, my business may have shut down. We need to work on changing our buying habits, ensuring we only buy necessities and not think of items we may need 6 months from now. Lastly, it is important to enjoy your work, celebrate your successes, and never give up.
Instagram : @aakanshasharmaofficial @houseofdorii


Make up and Glam By Ummehani Petiwala


 Ummehaani Petiwala 

is a skincare enthusiast, makeup and hair professional, an educator and an aspiring fashion stylist. Read along to find out how she came about this industry, her year and a half journey and some exciting tips and tricks. 
Looking at your work, I am in awe of the perfection it shows at such a young age. How did you get to that level of professionalism so early?  
For me, this industry was definitely not something I had planned on getting into, its something that just happened. After college, I stumbled upon a makeup course, which I feel was the best decision I ever made. Back then, I had absolutely no knowledge about the makeup industry. I would put on a bright cherry red lipstick and call it blush! It took me almost a year and a half to get projects. I think it is all about practice. My course, unlike other 2-3 month courses, went on for about 8 months because I was one of the very few who wasn’t well versed with absolutely anything! . 
I’d say my efforts, a great educator and continual practice led me to where I am now.
What drew you to this stream? What advice would you like to give advice to people who want to work in this industry? 
Well, going into college, I had planned to get my major in psychology, but life has a funny way of playing out. Even though I still love the subject, I decided to switch to Mass Media, and get into the field of Public Relations or Advertising. Throughout college, I grabbed every internship opportunity I could, and soon got placed with a job at one of the biggest media companies when college ended. However, by the end of it, I did not find enough meaning at any of my internships. 
I wasn’t sure what to do because I spent 3 years learning in this field, but I decided to leave my job. Being at home for about  month, I struggled, and one day after a brief conversation with my mother I decided to take a makeup course from an academy. There were times when I felt defeated and it was not only a very difficult but also a time consuming course where I would usually start from morning till night each day because of how new this field was to me. But a year down the line, the same academy hired me! 

Doing this course completely opened up my mind to so many new possibilities. I’ve always been drawn to anything and everything creative! This industry is huge, and I feel like India has not even tapped into the M of makeup. It goes so much beyond just applying a little foundation. I love doing special effects also called SFX. Making it look realistic is very challenging and requires a lot of patience and hard-work, shoots at times go on from an early start of 4 am right until 1 am, and you’re on your feet till the very last scene, and until you hear the words ‘pack up’ ! But what a great feeling that is!
So to everyone out there, experiment new things, you never know what life has planned for you. The future will always be uncertain. Plans will change, but you need to believe that you will find a way. Never give up. I’d like to say, just do what works for you, at the end of the day, you are the creator of your own destiny. 
Tell us about your business. Do you work with a company or are you a freelance artist? 
To elaborate on what I do, Monday – Friday I work at an academy called Makeup Vanguard, which is relatively new and open to different adventures each day! I am an assistant to the head trainer and I conduct classes with new batches every few months as an assistant teacher. I am also a coordinator, a link between the students and the trainers. I truly enjoy my work, and even though its a tough job at times, with a number of shoots, it also has a calm side to it. We engage in fun conversations, where we exchange in ideas each day! When it comes to shoots, the entire conceptualization right from the pre-production to the actual concept to post production has to be planned beforehand. 
The academy understands the need for us to further build contacts, create a clientele base and grow individually, and allows us to take up freelance projects. I have worked on multiple shoots, editorials and for even bridesmaids! 
Makeup helps people feel good about themselves and adds a touch of glamour in their lives. How do you think one should go about applying makeup while they are stuck at home? 
As much as I enjoy working with makeup, I have always loved and believed in skin care. Makeup definitely helps boost ones confidence, however it is not necessary to glam up at home and that’s where skin care comes into play. I think this is the best time to just let your skin breathe and apply masks and experiment with different skin packs. Feeling fresh is the best glow you can have. However, if one wants to dress up for a zoom meeting, instead of applying layers of foundation, I would suggest simply putting concealer, powdering your face and applying blush for a nice, fresh look. 
Would you like to share some tips and tricks for a quick makeup look? What do you do? 
Something I do all the time is put a lot of concealer, instead of foundation. Personally I love applying blush, it makes me feel very pretty and put together so I focus on that instead of a mascara and a liner.
How do you make your skin glow? 
I am a skin care enthusiast and I love DIY face masks. One of my favorites is applying a mixture of oats, honey and a little milk. However, every skin type requires different nutrition, and it varies from person to person. Apart from this, taking care of your body is also extremely important. I begin my mornings with drinking a mixture of cinnamon, turmeric powder, honey, lime and hot water along with my multivitamin tablets. It is also extremely important to follow a night routine. An abbreviation I live by is CTM; cleaning, toning and moisturizing the face. I would suggest using brands like clinique or kiehls that suit most skin types however, it can also vary from person to person. A very crucial skin care application is an SPF sunscreen, that should be applied every single day, even at home. 
When it comes to makeup, for a glowy look, applying liquid highlighter, before you start your makeup routine, on the T zone really helps and gives you a dewy skin look. Putting on setting spray, after completing your look, adds to that glow. 
What is the one project you are extremely proud of? 
It is very tough for me to decide on just one project since I have worked with so many wonderful people and have had great memories. However, I recently did a project with TATA and I am super proud of that. It is an extraordinary feeling to work with one of the biggest brands out there. I have also worked with LOTTIE London, HAIER electronics and World of Born to name a few. These projects were great experiences. I also got the opportunity to work with an Italian artist, G. Luca. I am extremely grateful to have received such wonderful projects and I am very excited to see what the future holds. 
What are your future plans and what do you aspire to do? 
I truly believe in living in the present and taking each day as it comes. While I love the beauty industry, I am very passionate about exploring new things and I am very drawn towards new experiences. However, when it comes to furthering my career, I definitely want to start teaching more and in fact, I have been teaching students even outside of the academy. It is one of the most fulfilling jobs ever, to be able to help someone achieve their dreams. For me, teaching is like a two way conversation where both, the teacher and the student, get to learn new things and there is an exchange of ideas. 
Before I end this talk with you, I’d like to mention two people I’ll always be thankful to, not only are they the best educators but I’ve also found a lifelong friend in them.
Here’s to you, Farah and Snehal, one of the few biggest influences in my life. 
Thank you for being there for me at each step and treating me like your own.
I’m forever grateful and thankful. 
Ummehani has been kind enough to open up her email and direct messages to anyone who has a curiosity and is keen on entering this industry. 
Instagram : @makeupbyummehani
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