Carving a niche for herself

There is no formula for being a fashion designer and especially a successful at that one too. But in a rare case of a blend between science and fashion, a former chemical engineer has not just

Published: 16th January 2012 04:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:15 PM   |  A+A-


There is no formula for being a fashion designer and especially a successful at that one too. But in a rare case of a blend between science and fashion, a former chemical engineer has not just found solace in the glam world, but has also become one of the few to be invited by the lycra of the fashion industry, Paul Smith to retail out of his store in London. All this within a year of the debut collection of Rachana Reddy.

The Indian designer, who will be the first to do so, will display her signature work with one of the bigger names in world fashion. “Doing engineering was the norm for the day and I got sucked into it. But a year into it and I realised that I was wasting my time there. I was not cut out for it,” she reveals. So she left her college and decided to study at Cordwainer’s - London

College of Fashion.

The designer who now has freed her self from ‘clutches of engineering has found her new love in making clutches’. Post her college she interned with footwear designer Rina Shah. But footwear was not where her passion lied, it was clutches.

Reddy designs limited edition clutches made of Teak, pure Indian silks and the highest grade of leather, each piece is hand made with a signature engraving on the back for authenticity. “I always had a flare for art. I would re-work all my accessories. However, I had never really decided to venture in that direction,” says the designer when asked about her vertical change in professions.

Explaining her patent choice of material for her clutches, Reddy says, “I want my products to last and what better medium than wood? Wood is a very durable material that can last longer than any other fabric or material.” No, the clutches do not weigh a tonne. Their average weight is about 350gm and if taken care of, it can last for years to come, vouches the designer. While the lotus has become her signature style, she has also dared with other motifs like the peacock feather and geometric designs to adorn her clutches with. “Each clutch is hand crafted. After the frame is done, it is then carved and filled with embroidery or embellished using quilting. As a result, the entire process to make one piece is very time consuming and could take anywhere up to a day or two,” she says. Her cuts are clean, and her materials rich, bringing to the “contemporary, elegant woman”, avant-garde fashion accessories and artful concepts that are a rarity. Each piece comes with a detachable chain/sling, stylishly packaged in a suede box, or velvet pouch, making it an exceptional collector’s item. She informs that though wood may be her first preference, she also crafts fine pieces using Indian silks and the highest grade of leather.

“I do not believe in following trends,” says the designer, “I prefer doing something that I enjoy rather than conforming to what is in and out.” The beauty of the geometric shaped her clutches are exemplified by the simplicity of her motifs and designs. “I love colour. The base line for all the products is either natural finish or walnut finish teak with bright and vibrant embellishments. The collection I am working on currently is also based on the same principle but this time I am playing with other techniques, metallic and acrylic colours along with different types of fabrics,” says the designer whose clutches have been adorned by celebrities like Rhea Kapoor (Sonam Kapoor’s sister), Minisha Lamba, Sarah Jane Dias,   Hasleen Kaur,

and Nicole Faria.

As far as the future is concerned, Reddy has big dreams in the pipeline. “Someday I will start a footwear and jewellery line as well. However, right now I am only focusing on clutches. Till now I have made 300 clutches in the last one year, and I plan to increase the number multi-fold. I also plan to retail out of more stores,” she says. Though she does not have a store in the city, her clutches can be bought online at detectable.

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