At 24 Arshiya Naina is a fashion designer with her own signature label. How is she any different from the host of young entrepreneurs who have flooded the market today? She designs baby clothes, a market that is still nascent and has not been much ventured into. “Nobody has entered this market and while it is very exciting, it is also quite difficult and challenging to design for kids,” says the designer.In an age when Crocs are considered the ultimate in baby fashion, Arshiya has taken over and made it about cuts, fabric and frills. “I was interested in fashion ever since I can remember and I always knew I was going to go into a creative field,” says the graduate of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology who launched her label with a fashion show three months back.
After graduating from Srishti, Arshiya went to Pearl Academy of Fashion where she strengthened her technical skills and studied the market. “I worked with Manoviraj Khosla for a while, and it was very difficult to get a break there. I just walked in with my portfolio and although I heard a flat no before anything else after he went through my portfolio, he was interested,” says the designer who was part of the team that designed the Bangalore Royal Challenger uniforms.
Feel like stars
But how important is it to have designer clothes for babies? “Parents these days want their children to look good. Even the children are so happy when you create something especially for them. They feel important and like stars.”
While Arshiya has entered the market with her collection for children between zero to four years, she is now looking to expand by designing for teenagers. “Right now I have launched only in Bangalore, but I am looking at options,” says Arshiya.
Arshiya’s interest in fashion began when she was in school, “I used to create my own belts and try and make do with whatever little was available. Growing up in Cochin was very limiting and I used to follow the trends through TV; that was the only exposure I got,” she says.
She had no alternative to back her up, “I found out I was dyslexic in college and that limited my options. Fashion and design is what I do best, and I was never cut out for something that was rooted in academics.” Luckily for Arshiya her parents were liberal and supported her in her choice to be a fashion designer. “If my parents had any control over my career, I don’t know what I would have wound up doing.”
The main thing Arshiya takes into account when designing is comfort, “It is the most important factor, especially for children. And that has a lot to do with the fabric. It is only after this factor do secondary issues like colour and cut come.” With children, she tends to use only prints, although she admits that it does restrict the scope for design.
People are fashion conscious and it has trickled down to their children. If they don’t have the access to designer clothes, they order it over the Internet. But what is missing? “We have a large number of very good designers in the country, but because we are so rich in embroidery and crafts we don’t experiment too much with cuts.”
Arshiya customises her designs based on a theme, the place, and if the client has any specifications, she makes room for that as well. “As a designer you need to have foresight. You are going to dictate what people will wear for an entire season, right from the colour to the style and the accessories,” she concludes.