New Delhi: "I wanted to encourage women to accept and love themselves the way they are without being afraid of the measuring tape," says designer Sonal Agrawal who recently launched her label House of PinkPepperCorn, catering to women of all sizes.
The blogger-turned-designer speaks to IANSlife about her brand, the plus size market, sustainability and more. Read excerpts:
What is your brand all about?
House of PinkPepperCorn is a slow fashion label, started with the vision to create ethical, thoughtful and thought provoking pieces of clothing, that stand out by making a statement, and are yet very inclusive and wearable by everyone. Our designs portray sensitive topics which aren't spoken about.
Why did you think of serving the plus size market?
In India today, standards of beauty are being defined by the perfectly retouched and reshaped bodies that we see on Instagram. Through House of PinkPepperCorn, I wanted to encourage women to accept and love themselves the way they are without being afraid of the measuring tape. My brand is not only about plus size women, it caters to every size - right from xxs to plus sizes.
What challenges do you face while catering to the plus size market?
Not everyone is open to wearing designs of all sorts. Every woman believes that she has her own problem areas and all bodies are very different. Hence, one of the biggest challenges I face as a designer is to create ready to wear clothing that suits every body type.
How do you see the market?
The market currently has a huge potential for brands and clothes that actually mean something and stand for something. There is a section of discerning audience that is looking for fashion which is a form of expression and which actually makes a statement.
Do you think there's a change that the market has seen when it comes to being inclusive?
There is definitely a change in the mindset... It's still at a nascent stage... But it's happening. People now, don't just want to see fashion on the ramp or in Bollywood. They want to see it the same stuff on the streets and they want to be able to wear it - no matter their age, gender or body type.
In India, there's been an amazingly positive growth in this space. With Lakme Fashion Week introducing the entire sustainabe and ï¿½Make Fashion Good' initiative, one of the key things that's being addressed by several designers is inclusivity.
Tell us about your collection 'Unafraid'
Unafraid stands to encourage body positivity and to make a statement that we wear our measurements with pride. However, I don't want to be seen as an altruistic, flag bearing social worker... Because I am not that. I like my fashion, vanity and glamour too. Hence even in my version of sustainable fashion and sustainability, I keep the style quotient very high and maintain a balance.
The most noticeable detail in this collection is the measuring tape. I have used actual, high quality measuring tapes as a signature to highlight my philosophy of body positivity. The fabrics are all 100 per cent pure linen in very unique colours.
There is a lot of talk going on sustainability. What are your views on this?
Sustainability isn't and shouldn't just be a statement or an option. It needs to be a way of life and is the need of the hour. Sustainability can be anything... cultural, social or environmental... But at the core, it's about being good for the society and for lives. Making and adopting fashion that follows sustainable practices is essential for a better tomorrow, and that too, a tomorrow that is not too far away.
The house of PinkPepperCorn is an alternate to fast fashion which is the second largest pollutant across the globe. When we talk about ethical fashion, it fills all the pockets in order to preserve the environment. We believe in imparting fair wages to our workers. It's all hand stitched so we do try to focus on the issue of reducing unemployment.
What is your idea of fashion?
Fashion for me is a form of expression. What I wear needs to tell a story... It needs to communicate a mood or a statement even before the person wearing it does.
What next are you working on?
My next collection is an extension of ï¿½Unafraid', but with an upcycling angle to it. It's still in the ideation stage and hopefully I shall be able to speak more about it soon.
Any fashion tip?
Always believe that you are beautiful. Don't doubt yourself because of your body because according to the conventions of the world, no body is perfect. But if you think that you are perfect and beautiful, no matter what you wear it'll always look gorgeous on you.