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Sheena Trivedi’s NY Fashion Banjaras
That Indian sensibilities of style can merge seamlessly into the Western vocabulary of fashion has been proven by many international designers – but new Indian-American designer Sheena Trivedi puts her own stamp on this east-west marriage – and has tremendous fun doing it.
Trivedi presented her Fall/Winter 2014 Collection at the Empire Hotel Rooftop to a packed hall with models ensconced on top of light boxes, dressed in a collection which could be described as edgy New York with tribal Banjara touches – suitable for both Soho and the Rajasthani desert. Lots of leather, metallic embroidery with touches of brocade and silk. You got to go up real close to examine the models, almost like the mannequins in a department store; the fashionistas and the papparazzi milled around, swirling cocktails, flashing cameras and the ubiquitous phone cameras too.
This was a tongue-in-cheek, eye-wink kind of a show, with fun pop culture references. The striking makeup and accessories brought India into the room – tattoos, noserings or naaths, silver jewelry, and even a necklace strung across the face, almost like a veil. Tellingly, even a male model wore this veil-like jeweled accessory. Equality of the sexes?
Photographs by www.srdjankalinic.com
Indeed, what I loved were the gender-bending touches that Trivedi had introduced into her new men’s collection too. I particularly liked a hathani or hand ornament on the male model – something usually worn by an Indian bride at her wedding! Again, a winter scarf laden with glitter opens up the whole realm of possibilities for males. Yes, Trivedi has widened the parameters for Western male fashion with long kurta like tops and churidar-type of silhouettes.
Trivedi writes in her notes that the inspiration for her men’s collection came from personal events and lessons that were learned through the men in her life: “The male Sheena Trivedi Warrior is a strong, elegant, detail oriented man with innate sense of style who is not afraid to show his contemporary masculinity but still fulfilled with traditional details.”
Trivedi who sells to several stores in the US including Jeffries in NYC and Atlanta, Maxfields in LA. Welcome to the world of New York’s Fashion Banjaras!
10 Questions for Sheena Trivedi
1. What was the inspiration behind the collection?
The inspiration comes from the Banjara tribe in India. I’ve always been a big fan of the Mad Max character and I wanted to make a story about girl from the Banjara tribe who meets the Mad Max man deep in the forests of Bengal where they create their own sense of environment.
I started mixing eastern, futuristic, and contemporary details, allowing every piece to be able to tell a story by itself.
Then I really started thinking about menswear as Mad max inspired me a lot, and I did a capsule men’s collection and added it into to my FW14/15 collection.
Sheena Trivedi Fall Collection
2. Could you elaborate on the designing process for men and women?
This is a collection incorporating a lot of futuristic components as well as traditional elements, and the boundary between the men’s and women’s clothing starts fading – I wasn’t afraid to put more feminine details on my men’s line and more masculine details on my women’s pieces. I really enjoyed creating this collection as experimenting with embroidery, details, cuts, and forms/patterns.
Of course, venturing into men’s apparel from women’s apparel is not necessarily simple but I was determined to have both lines done for this season, FW14. Overall, the process was almost the same…It was fun in both cases.
3. I’d like some details about the fabrics and detailing on the outfits – they look very New York but with subtle Indian sensibilities.
All of the embroidery in my collections is hand done, and every silk brocade fabric is hand-made. I really love that moment when you realize that the piece that you are wearing has around 50-100 hours of work on it, and that feels so good.
I want people to feel different which is why I’ve used Indian crafts but making the styles more contemporary for other markets.
4. Did you have the collection produced here or in India and do you go back often?
All of my collections are produced in New Delhi, India. All the fabrics are bought and produced there. On average, I travel to India at least 2-3 times a year.
5. Who do you see as the wearers of this collection?
Whenever I talk about people wearing my clothes – I always think about strong, independent individuals who really have a distinctive and fearless sense of style. The man and woman I am dressing think outside of the box… age-wise, ideally people in between the ages of 25-45 years old although I have dressed people below the ages of 25 and above the ages of 45, for private clients.
6. I liked the gender-bending hand ornaments for the men, even the longish kurtas and silhouettes of the churidar. What was the thinking behind them?
The futurism of Mad Max and the traditionality and inspiring details of the Banjara tribe inspired me and provided me with the details without boundaries. I am always going for something unique … fashion is where you see there is a void and you do your best to fill it in.
7. Tell me about the dramatic makeup – who did it and the thoughts behind it?
I worked with my creative consultant as well as my makeup team and we produced the idea of the makeup, how would we want it to be presented, and we had the amazing Clarissa Malek who made it come to life. Main inspiration = Tribal design with a “futuristic gang” feel.
8. Where do you sell?
Right now I am really happy that I have started selling in some of the most fashionable stores across the US. Webster in Miami, Jeffries in NYC and Atlanta, Maxfields in LA, House of Style in Chicago, and Engle Shop in Englewood, NJ.
9. What’s been the best part of doing this collection?
Creating embroidery and the whole look with makeup, jewelry, and details on clothes in addition to creating my first men’s line in conjunction to my women’s line.
10. Any thoughts of showing it in India during the fashion week there?
I am still focused on NYC and European markets but I cannot express enough as to how excited I am for the moment to come when I will present my collections to the Indian market. The Indian market is booming and I feel as if not only will I create a niche for myself but my collections would do very well there. As I do not consider myself an India-based Designer but a NY based designer, I think that I would do my own show/presentation, not being a part of the Fashion Weeks there when I do launch in India.