A Law graduate, Vandana pursued fashion styling from the Fashion Institute of Technology, (F.I.T.), New York and has taken her aesthetic aspirations to soaring heights by styling for fashion glossies and Bollywood celebrities and now Jewellery Designing – with her ability to play, create and style with the not so common materials, Vandana has launched her jewellery line – ‘KARMIC KABIRA by Vandana Dewan’ – a perfect amalgamation of colors, design and drama! After launching her label in 2010, Vandana has shown her collections at various fashion weeks and has a long list of celebrity clientele.
How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Vandana Dewan I am a designer, actually, I am a law graduate, I am registered with bar council of India and I practiced for a while. After a point I realized that I wanted to do something creative, and you know the Indian Judiciary when you are in the university it is very idealistic you think that I will change this and that but you go to courtroom the harsh reality hits you and then you realize its nothing what is written in the books .You will start to realize that, especially in this profession, once you have experience and age backing you then only people will take seriously.
Why you went into law in the first place?
My grandfather was a lawyer I have looked up to him ever since I was a child, so he was a big inspiration for me pursue a career in law.
From where did you complete your schooling?
I completed my schooling from Springdale.
Why you joined fashion designing?
I always wanted to do something creative and I was waiting for the right opportunity but as they say there is nothing like right time or wrong time but when you make up your mind it’s the right time that I exactly what I did one fine day I just woke up and I thought that this is the day, either now or never.
Did you go for any formal training or course in fashion designing?
No, I haven’t done any formal course in designing. I am self-taught.
Ma`am, recently I was interviewing some personality from this field and they said that a formal training is necessary for this field. What is your opinion on this statement?
Yeah of course it is, but I also believe that what learn on the job no course can teach you that, that is why internships are so important because they stress on learning on the job. If take the example of Anju Modi, Anamika Khanna all these designers are self-taught, they didn’t go any fashion institute. I am not discouraging anyone it’s just that you are never too late in life. If you feel that you have the talent then nothing can stop you.
Did you go for any internship or job related to fashion designing?
I worked with lots of fashion magazine, I was working with Elle, I was working with Cosmopolitan, so while working there I learnt how industry works. I was also in touch with a lot of designers because I was styling for the magazine. I also did personal styling for Chitrangada Singh and in the meantime I also I started doing image makeover for the people. So what I am trying to convey here is if you are creative then it expands into lots of areas in your life it is not restricted to just jewelry or garments. Creativity tilts over everywhere in every sphere, for instance, I have started to do interiors of the house also.
How you applied in Elle magazine and Femina magazine?
So I just made a C.V. and I just walked in for the interview. I don’t know, I think it was my enthusiasm which caught their eyes because obviously I did not have any experience but I was eager to learn. I even met with the editor of Femina Magazine, but it is Mumbai-based and I am Delhi based and I wanted to be in Delhi only so it didn’t work out.
What did they ask you in the interview? Basically, they just want to see how passionate you are about fashion. They check if the passion is just on the surface or its genuinely within you. I remember very clearly that, the editor of Femina magazine gave me a practical assignment where she asked me to style a cover for the magazine which obviously they will not put on their cover but she just wanted me to do a shoot. At my end, it could be a very amateur shoot and then make a PDF file of it and send it across to her. She just wanted to see what my style aspects are. I did that and she liked and offered me to move to Mumbai which was not an option for me. But luckily Elle magazine came in my way and I started to work there. I have also been styling for brands like Pepsi and Reebok.
How much internships matters in this field?
Internships are definitely very important because that is the way you do all the learning, for me I have learned on the job as I have said I have never been to any fashion institute, I am self-taught. And learning is all about the hunger in you, if you don’t want to learn then no matter if you go to a top most fashion designer or go for the best internship, you won’t be able toMost. Mostly people think I am working with Elle magazine or I am interning here and there then it is all glamorous but actually there is nothing glamorous in it .Once you go behind the scene its all hard work and you have to be prepared to do that. If you are going in it thinking it is all easy all glamorous then you are going to be disappointed big time. So students should be prepared for lot of hard work and running around because that is how to going to learn and there is no shortcuts.
Most of the students from fashion designing after graduation plan to start their own label, so what is your advice to those students?
To do that I would tell the students to first have some work experience under their belt, only then they should go about launching their own label because there are lots of challenges that are going to be showered at you. So you have to be prepared. You need to work in design department, you need to work in production department, you need to work in merchandising department so you can know how the entire cycle works because if you think that you will just sit on your drawing table and you just make sketches and hundred of buyers will come flocking around to buy things then you are absolutely wrong. So all these practical things will only go into your head when will have some work experience . So don’t jump into starting label just after the graduation first learn then walk into the arena.
What are the essentials in starting ones own labels?
You have to have good capital with you because you need to be prepared for any eventuality, if you are newcomer then nobody is going to invest in your line straightaway and most of the time they take it from your consignment, so you have to prepared for that because whatever is sold the rest comes back to you, so you need to be smart enough to know what are the other channels where you can sell the remaining stock apart from that you need to absorb that law in terms of finances. So you just cant make two collection and then you just sit disappointed that nobody is buying from me and that is the reality. Unless you are couple of season old nobody is going to take you seriously they see that the person has come up with fifth or sixth collection that means he/she is serious about things. So these attributes are necessary for starting label.
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