A Tête-à-Tête with Tanya Sharma

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We caught up with the beautiful, very talented Tanya Sharma as she visited us at the Stylista office. Armed with a degree from NIFT, Tanya has modeled for top Indian designers. She made her design debut at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011, which received a fantastic response. A fresh bohemian aesthetic and intricate detailing make her clothes a visual treat. She plays on texture and silhouette, reinventing many a closet staple. We love how she infuses a burst of color onto a mélange of fabrics, adding a whole new level of cool to your regular sundress.  Here’s our tête-à-tête with the girl who breathes fresh life into fashion:


SI: We’ve seen some stunning pictures of you; tell us about life as a model before you started designing?

TS: I was in NIFT when I got the opportunity to be a part of of the Ford supermodel shoot. Once college got over, I wanted take a break from all the rigorous work that comes with being a designer. I had a few modeling offers so I took those up. It was great because after 3 years of intense work it was quite a relief to model. I wasn’t so far from the design world, I was working with some great designers and being exposed to fashion. It was also quick money which I later decided to invest in my label.


SI: Would you want to return to modeling now?

TS: Well, I still walk for a few close friends, and am doing a couple of ad stints but I don’t think I have the patience to model anymore.


SI: Mixing the ethnic and contemporary is your signature style. Tell us about your love affair with juxtaposition:

TS: My dad is in the army, so as a child I’ve lived in quite a few cities. I’ve been exposed to different cultures, languages and different kinds of people. These influences reflect in my aesthetic. For example I love a crisp white shirt with statement  jewellery. I believe that clothing should inspire conversation and create interest. I like to narrate little stories of places and travel through my design.


SI: Describe your collection for Stylista in 3 words:

TS: Comfortable, colorful and funky!


SI: Both you and your collection have a boho flower child vibe. Tell us a little bit about that:

TS: I believe in and relate to being a bohemian freespirit! I try to live true to the philosophy. Again, it comes from the fact that I’ve moved houses every two years as a child, and I’ve always been exposed to different cultures. For me it’s very important to constantly experience new things, explore new avenues. Even now, I like my options to be more fluid when it comes to my career. I’m designing one day, styling another, and always on the lookout for a new skill. I like challenging myself and pushing my boundaries.


SI: What would you say is your closet staple?

TS: Shirts. A man’s shirt, denim shirts, loose and slouchy shirts, in whites, checks, stripes, prints! I just like the concept of a shirt. Especially when you’re working, I find it to be very easy and versatile. Even when I design I find that I experiment with the silhouette, creating feminine shirts and shirt dresses. Shirts for me are definitely a staple.

 SI: Is there one celebrity you always wanted to dress?

TS: MIA, definitely.


SI: If you were a cocktail, which one would you be?

TS: A cosmopolitan!


SI: Tell us about one of your biggest hurdles that you’ve overcome so far?

TS: Investment. It’s a risk, believing in yourself and investing your time, money and energy in yourself, and also finding the correct team that you can work with and hopefully rely on.


SI: You debuted at Lakmé Fashion Week, can you tell us more about that experience?

TS: I had started my label about a year and a half before I participated at Fashion Week. It received a good response but the next step to grow was to try and participate at Lakmé Fashion Week. Any kind of artist would like to believe that they stand aloof and will be unaffected by how people perceive their art, but in your heart you always crave appreciation for what you have created. At Fashion Week I received a lot of love and appreciation for my clothes. It was an amazing experience.


SI: What does the Business of Fashion mean to you?

TS: I’m a very bad businesswoman. To be honest I don’t design with the business aspect in mind, it’s all about the creative process for me. If you are true to yourself, you will find a market and your ideal target audience.


SI: Your collection for Stylista is very eclectic. Do you find that we as consumers are becoming more experimental with our style or is it still just an evolved niche?

TS: People are opening up to experimental style in India. As designers we shouldn’t presume to know what people want, we should be able to give them options and let them choose. We all want to be different and stand apart from the crowd, so as a designer I find it my creative duty to give my customers that option. Personally, I feel consumers are getting there.


SI: Any wise words for the young design graduates of today?

TS: Be who you are. Don’t be overwhelmed by external factors, and don’t create collections just because they have mass value. That’s where we go wrong and lose our creative individuality. Be honest with yourself, take time to discover your creative space and take it slow. Explore and grow as an individual and let that reflect in your work. At the end of the day, your design is an extension of your personality. Be patient with yourself and this creative journey that you’re on.


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Always ready for a macaroon and a good giggle, Shamita is the team’s resident magpie and collective conscience. She knows design like the back of her hand and is perennially clued in on everything fashion.