How difficult could starting a clothing brand be? According to Designer Vanshika Choudhary, to enjoy a successful business, one needs a detailed research in the sector more than those exquisite designs. That’s why this Delhi-based designer took 2 whole years to finally launch her brand KNYA in 2017 that creates fun formal-wear for working women who like extremely minimal and clean aesthetics.
“Post-college I worked in the textile sector for two years to understand yarns, fabrics, and the related processes in-depth. I needed to master manufacturing and retailing and get a hint of marketing in the fashion sector before I could invest my money into anything of that sort. Thanks to this experience, I could effectively turn my class project into an entrepreneurial opportunity,” remembers Vanshika.
All this while, the more she put efforts in locating KNYA’s market placement, the more clearly she could see how dominated India is by the international fast fashion. “When I returned to India, there was no such thing as ‘work-wear’ for modern women. You either had brands offering those typical striped corporate shirts or then the casual ones at Zara. We clearly needed a change. I now see KNYA elevating the taste of modern Indian women as they explore a stronger sense of individuality with our formal wear,” she tells IWB.
Read the excerpts from the recent chat we had with Vanshika and her team of fresh fashion graduates about the brand’s ethics that are slowly winning us over.
Does KNYA come from the Hindi word ‘Kanya?’
It does! Essentially, it is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Panchakanya’ as we believe that our brand represents a group of iconic heroines of the Hindu epics, the names of which, when recited, are believed to dispel sins. These women are Kunti representing nobility, Ahalya epitomizing beauty, Draupadi representing ferocity, Tara signifying bravery, and Mandodari signifying righteousness. These values continue to inspire our designs and as a consequence, our ethos.
How has your entrepreneurial journey been so far?
For the past 2 years or so, the only thought on my mind, while I’m falling asleep and right after waking up the next morning, is my brand KNYA. Random questions pop up in my head, some worry me, and some make me very excited. I think once you’ve started this journey of bringing something to this world which is solely yours, there’s no turning back. KNYA has become something I live for. It’s my own little world where I draw my confidence, excitement and, a lot of times, stress from.
What kind of women loves wearing KNYA?
Anyone between the age group of 20-45 who is either starting their career or have reached the top level management. Being a young working woman myself, I feel that dressing up at work comfortably yet powerfully can make a lot of difference in the way you conduct yourself.
Is there any particular fashion movement that’s currently trending among the new-age working class?
Well, I guess it’s the fad of rich and lustrous fabrics portraying both professionalism and femininity that’s taking over. This is exactly what we’ve brought together in our S/S’18 collection.
So what’s KNYA’s highlight of the season?
The most unique part of our S/S’18 collection is the fabrics we’re using. We have a beautiful tunic in lavendar which is made of the Eucalyptus tree and milk. We’ve used the wood of the Eucalyptus tree that gets converted into fibre during the manufacturing process. This eco-friendly procedure helps us use 20% less water compared to what gets utilized in the making of cotton clothes. Also, this fabric is 50% more absorbent than cotton.
We see a fine balance of neutral and gemstone colours in KNYA’s look-book. What’s the inspiration behind it?
I take the inspiration from my own closet. For example, wishing that grey top was available in bright orange while choosing what to wear at work in the morning. I’m sure other women, too, have similar musings. Having several options to choose from never hurts, right? Therefore, for the S/S’18 collection, our team has surprisingly done all the bold and statement colours. We’ve also included the Pantone Colour of the Year – Ultraviolet, which is my favourite from the collection so far!
Any suggestion on how we can make the done-to-death pairing of a white shirt with black pants look interesting?
I personally love crisp white shirts with a pair of blue denim. So that it doesn’t appear repetitive anymore, I often add a silk scarf to the look. KNYA’s Frida’s Love Tale Scarf is so vibrant and rich in lustre that it does its part perfectly.
What’s your pick for the rainy season?
It has to be the Relaxed Sailor Neck Top which is crafted from Cupro fabric. Again, it’s eco-friendly as it’s made of recycled cotton linter, which means it doesn’t make you sweat or become clingy in this humid weather. In short, the fabric drapes and feels like silk on the body while having the properties of cotton. Of course, the neck and cuff details add to the final look and give you a very polished feminine feel.
Apart from this, one can go for our Falso Wrap Top in plum colour that has so much luster and shine and offers a rich satin look to the wearer. The colour is bold and deep, so it plays its charm during a date on a romantic drizzling night.
How differently would you like to style a 25-year-old and a 50-year-old CEO?
As much as I’d like to see these ladies donning outfits regardless of their age, I propose two ideas that might interest the working women in these different age-groups. For the boss-babe in her twenties, I suggest KNYA’s Ultraviolet Ruched Shirt paired with a simple Pencil Skirt. For the badass boss in her fifties, how about the classic white shirt styled with our chic Frida’s Love tale and Boot Cut Trousers! Or, for that matter, the Neck Tie blouse paired with a pair of well-fitted straight trousers and pencil heels.
Lastly, do you have in store for those looking for a strict formalwear on a budget?
I’ve something that’s pocket-friendly and will last you a long time – our Neck-tie blouse which is priced at INR. 2950, and is worth every penny. It’s such a classic design in a muted colour that you can wear it from desk to dinner to date night! You can try pairing it with pretty much anything – Trousers, Midi Skirt, Pencil Skirt, Denims, you name it. Moreover, it looks fabulous under a blazer for corporate meetings.