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Why this designer feels LESS is MORE

By Divya Nair
Last updated on: January 29, 2019 13:46 IST
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Amrapali Singh is one of four GenNext designers who will showcase their collection at the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai.

Amrapali Singh

IMAGE: Amrapali Singh, who heads the label Birdwalk, will showcase her collection at the Lakme Fashion Week on January 31. Photographs: Kind courtesy Lakme Fashion Week

Amrapali Singh, 36 was fascinated by the brimming art and culture in her hometown Jaipur.

A trained Bharata Natyam and Kathak dancer, Amrapali -- an alumnus of the Instituto Marangoni in Italy -- says designing was a natural career choice.

"Fashion seems to satisfy many early creative impulses," Amrapali tells Rediff.com's Divya Nair.

How do you design an outfit?

Design always takes shape in the studio.

Staring with an amorphous feeling, mood or motif, the designs crystalise along the way at various stages, whether it be sketching, draping or even at the building step.

It is an endless play between pre-visualised ideas and spontaneous ones.

Often the next piece comes to me while finishing the one I'm working on.

As the collection grows, I tweak and modify as needed it, so it all works together as a harmonious expression of that initial spark.

This last part is the most challenging aspect of the process.

Are you excited about LFW?

Being part of Lakme Fashion Week was always an integral part of the success plan for Birdwalk.

Being selected to present under the GenNext programme gives us tremendous opportunity and amazing mentorship, which is helping us shape up and be ready for the challenges that we'll face on our road to establishing ourselves as a label.

Amrapali Singh

IMAGE: Amrapali blends hand and machine embroidery to create interesting sillhouettes.

Is this your first show?

This is my second show, the first was Fashion Forward Dubai in 2017.

How was the experience?

It was daunting, but gave me a very good experience to face the world stage when my label was in its early stages.

I learned a lot about the international market and some insight of what it takes to build a presence there.

I also used it as an opportunity to connect to all sorts of people in the trade.

What challenges did you face when you started?

It has been challenging all through.

It is always hard to build something creative and make it pay.

Another challenge is to to find like-minded people, because it is always a team effort.

When you come across someone that can grasp your vision, eventually it helps to make the dots connect.

What's interesting about your collection?

I think my collection aesthetic is very minimal and classic.

I believe in less is more. We are never trying to be loud, so I think people will see that as our unique quality.

What are some of the best learnings you have had as a designer?

I learnt to stop when I am overdesigning a piece, the design is always guiding me.

According to you, what are the qualities required to be a successful designer?

Be mindful, creative and street smart.

How can we make sustainable fashion affordable?

Sustainable fashion is the only way left before we run out of our natural resources by sticking to unsustainable practices.

Commoners are the big change maker.

We need to help make choosing sustainable options the better choice overall for consumers in terms of appeal and quality.

I hope to see a shift of thoughtfulness away from fast fashion and towards appreciating craftsmanship.

Amrapali Singh

IMAGE: Amrapali's designs are meant for women who are strong and graceful.

Who inspires you?

Well, cliché answer -- my mom.

She's the strongest, yet most gentle person I know.

I learned from her to always do your part and let the rest be.

A celebrity you dream to dress up...

I would have loved to dress (the late Hollywood actress and later Princess of Monaco) Grace Kelly. To me, she was truly graceful.

What are the mistakes Indians make while dressing up?

Not limited to Indians, but people are always aping others, which is useless since we all are different. NO one thing can look the same on everyone.

Your fashion tip would be...

Let elegance rule.

Amrapali Singh

IMAGE: Queen of Hearts, Amrapali's collection for LFW, is inspired by the game of cards.

What next?

My future plan is to grow organically so I can give my best to everything I do in life, both in my career and in my personal life.

I do wish, hopefully someday, to have my own little boutique in a beach town somewhere on the globe.

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Divya Nair / Rediff.com