Across 12 cities, 50 institutes, and from over a hundred fashion designing students, Tamil Nadu found two promising finalists in the hunt for the top national designer at the first edition of Liva Protege 2015. They may not have won, but both received a special recognition award for their collections.
We caught up with the two girls from Namma Chennai, Manasa Sundravadhanam and Gayatri J just before they flew to Mumbai. Due to the December 2015 floods, they had only a couple of weeks to design their final collections. “I couldn’t afford to miss our mentoring sessions. It used to take me hours to reach during those rains. Due to the weak network, we received our results late and had less time to prepare,” said Gayatri.
Manasa added, “When we complained to our mentor Chaitanya Rao, he said we need to get used to working under pressure. And we actually did finish our designs on time.”
While Gayatri is from Pearl Academy, Manasa is from Raffles Millennium International. Both the final year students didn’t expect to make it to the finals. Talking about the initial rounds, Gayatri said, “The concept I chose was dark romance. I used deep purple with romantic floral patches on the liva fabric. It was a figure hugging collection, subtle, intense colours. I wasn’t even serious initially and now I can say that in four years, this is the first time I’ve spent so much time working in college,” she laughed.
Both girls had found their passion for designing by chance. While Gayatri wanted to do something creative and realised that she was good at choosing clothes, Manasa owes it to her aunt, who is an artist. “This was never my dream. I was supposed to study medicine. But after my dad passed away when I was in class 12, I went to live with my aunt for a while. She is an artist — very creative — and I guess she inspired me,” she smiles.
Both girls aspire to work in Chennai. Manasa wishes to join the film industry and hopes to design clothes for Jothika or Nayanthara, while Gayatri says that though she is interested in fashion designing, she prefers the export houses. “I would like to join the design team at an export house. In the long run, I will certainly launch my own label, but only after I earn a name for myself,” she said. After the grand finale, the girls said that though they didn’t win, they had an amazing experience.