Shades of Summer Chic

CE talks to her about her new collection and offers a peek at what’s available for the fashion enthusiasts in the city.
With the inauguration of her newly expanded boutique ‘Nidhis’, this one-woman powerhouse is all geared up to unleash her avant-garde creations onto the fashion scene, promising a vogue revolution like never before.
With the inauguration of her newly expanded boutique ‘Nidhis’, this one-woman powerhouse is all geared up to unleash her avant-garde creations onto the fashion scene, promising a vogue revolution like never before.

CHENNAI: Stepping out and making a fashion statement is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially for us Chennaiites who value both style and comfort in the scorching summer heat. Meet Nidhi Chordia, a homegrown fashion designer whose exquisite line of hot weather-friendly outfits is causing a stir in the city. True to her roots, Nidhi understands the pulse of Chennai and has curated a collection that resonates with every denizen, offering not just fashion but also functionality. From breezy ensembles perfect for a casual outing with friends to well-tailored attire ideal for a business meeting, Nidhi’s designs cater to every occasion. With the inauguration of her newly expanded boutique ‘Nidhis’, this one-woman powerhouse is all geared up to unleash her avant-garde creations onto the fashion scene, promising a vogue revolution like never before. CE talks to her about her new collection and offers a peek at what’s available for the fashion enthusiasts in the city.

Excerpts:

Give us an overview of your new collection.

What’s being showcased here is a sneak peek from our upcoming website collection. It’s all about hot-weather adaptability; I hesitate to say summer-friendly. Chennai’s heat lasts almost 10 months now. I’ve carefully selected materials that are gentle on the skin and perfect for the climate, while infusing them with a touch of fashion flair. Think beiges, creams, peaches, black, and off-white — I’ve styled this collection with those hues in mind to add that extra dash of chic.

From being an MCom graduate to a fashion designer — Did you face any hurdles along the way?

From a young age, I’ve been drawn to art and creativity. Despite this, I pursued a BA Corporate degree at Ethiraj, guided by my father. Later, I went to the UK for my fashion design degree 18 years ago. Starting from scratch upon my return, I went through the streets of Royapettah, visiting tailor shops and seeking assistance. Procuring materials myself from markets like Sowcarpet and Mumbai, I assembled a team without prior connections. Initially lacking knowledge of materials and techniques suited for Indian tailoring, I learned through trial and error. Without any formal training on boutique management or presentation, the initial years were chaotic, but within three years, I found my footing.

Talking about hurdles, from disbelief to self-belief, it’s been a journey. I’ve encountered people, events, and relationships that have both nurtured and challenged me. Through it all, I’ve learned the importance of respecting others’ journeys and not undermining their potential. Shut-downs and openings have been part of my path, but it’s best to focus on one’s own journey. You never know who will rise, so why bring others down? It’s about mutual growth, not gain or loss.

What’s your designing process?

For anyone crafting a look, it typically starts with a mood board, colour palette, and envisioned styles. We define our vision for the clothes, create cuts, styles, and patterns, which then evolve into designs. As we progress, we refine through samples, tweaking details like sleeve length or variations. But now I have changed my way or pattern of working a little bit. I have pushed myself to create looks that I have never created so that I can grow from within and understand my own limitations.

Photos: Ashwin Prasath
Photos: Ashwin Prasath

Are there any unique outfits that you’ve incorporated into your new line?

I ensured that alongside this range of beige, greens, white, or black and white, I also included denims. I recognised that people don’t readily opt for soft cotton denim in warm weather, but it’s actually a great choice because it doesn’t easily crease or wrinkle, making it reusable and low-maintenance. Therefore, I’ve made it a point to always feature a soft denim line in my store, offering denim in cream and blue variations.

What reasons would you give for recommending people to visit your store? What’s in store for them?

Design, aesthetics, and on-time delivery are the three main reasons why I’ve strived ahead for the past 18 years of being a designer and owning a label. I always ensure that a personal touch of mine is added to each piece of my clothing. I hand-hold them through their wardrobes, allowing their money instinct to dive into the right clothing as to what they actually need, what they actually have, and what they might not need. In fact, when clients come to me, I even suggest they go pick up certain things from certain other designers, and I tell them, “You have enough of this.”

To shop, visit Nidhis, A-4 Gems Court, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai: 600008

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