Interview of Ms VANDANA ROY, the designer and the businesswoman behind the 'Sentiments' range of India Ethnics wear, which is marketed exclusively by Seasons. The interview appeared in the latest issue of the magazine "In Touch With Fashions" Volume 2 Issue 1".
In the bewildering array of clothes, somewhere lies
the strangely enticing Salwar Kameez, as the contemporary
couture of a feminine body. Conforming to the body,
this mode of dressing has unleashed a widely imaginative
fashion interest in the Indian sentiment and mind
set. The endless possibilities of a salwar kameez
attire from being traditionally demure to ceaselessly
seductive have made it cross even the Indian frontiers.
From being a predictably casual wear to being non-ageist
couture; the salwar kameez with its unending possibilities
has definetely arrived... in your wardrobe.
glitterati in their endeavour to look great and feel
good place their faith in the hands of a few designers
and a price tag with endless nulls. Our mailbox had
a lot of enquires from women wanting the same feel
of the garment but at an affordable tag. Another dimentions
to it was the fact that this segment wanted wears
that were subtle as a casual wear yet trendy when
party borne. A survey through the shopping havens
across the terrians of our country led us in search
of the affordable yet elegant salwar kameez that would
do any women proud. The gaints in retail trade like
Modern Silk House in Lucknow, Sona's Favourite Shop
in Bangalore, Pralochna in Coimbatore, Sri Krishna
in Chennai, Nikhar in Jaipur, Seasons in Mumbai and
Asopalav in Ahmedabad were a few destinations that
compelled us to believe that ingenious ideas have
been plotted in making this dressing a branded product.
We narrowed the search and discovered a single brand
that has been visionary and a cult figure in dressing....Sentiments.
did the Sentiments brand of Salwar Kameez's
touch similar sentiments of an invigorating mix of
culture and people across the country, makes you wonder
what made it click. Was it the fashion genius creating
wearable attires or was it a marketing revolution?
Probably it was both. A few unanswered questions made
us search the history of Sentiments and we
discovered. ...a woman.
let me be low profile," she screams from behind her
desk in her design studio, wearing an elegant salwar
kameez which we presumed was nothing but Sentiment.
The name behind the desk was Vandana Roy, the designer
and the businesswoman of Sentiments. So in
this age of recession how has she managed to make
a success? "Give your client value for money and she
remains with you," replies Vandana Roy. However clinched
it may sound but then that is the reality in this
recession infiltrated season. Salwar Kameez is a necessity
in today's wardrobe but at the same time within a
given budget the woman wants to feel indulgent and
luxurious. "The focus is on the intelligent woman
who has more than just taste and is not looking for
cheap imitations of big designers," thinking 17s to
the mature 30s and rightfully so as we gather. So
then where is the compromise...if any?
cannot, I repeat, cannot compromise in the quality
of your garment even if you want to cut corners in
the pricing." comments Vandana. The fabrics are exquisite
and there is an exceptional attention to detail in
the making every garment even if it is mass-produced.
"Even if we are mass producing, we at Sentiments ensure
that not more than two to three pieces of a single
design in one colour reaches the retail outlet in
one city," beams the lady, proud to maintain exclusively
in spite of being a production house. "It is this
mass production that makes it physically and financially visible for me to travel to jaipur just for Bandhanis,
to Coimbatore for handloom cottons, get my jute linens
from Bhagalpur, Jamevars from Banaras and get Bagru
printing work done from Sanganer in Rajasthan," says
Vandana, explaining the intricacies of producing more
garments than one at a time. The quantities in question
make it possible for the brand to directly deal with
the craftsmen, weavers and artisans all around India
and extract quality work from them. A tight reign
on the prices by eliminating middle men is passed
on directly to the women who adore the garment for
its fit and style. So how does she design keeping
in mind the different choices of a consumer in coaching
to the one in Calcutta? "The choices may be different
but the bottom line is the same, every women wants
to feel beautiful." We agree with Vandana. The inspiration
for Vandana is colours.... beautiful colours.
arduous journey of creating acceptable designs begins
with fabrics and colours. "The fabrics ought to have
a character and the colours a charishma," the designer
proclaims. Their tie up with all the leading fabric
manufacturers in India and suppliers abroad ensures
that the same fabric is not dumped in the market for
a stipulated time. This gives them enough lead time
to introduce garments in the fabric that no one has
touched before. Vandana Roy did her two -year course
in Dress Making and Fashion Co-ordination from the
SNDT institite in Mumbai. Besides this, the designer
has a fabulous hand for art and painting, which she
uses to create soulful dressings for Sentiments.
She laments the fact that in spite of such talented
people coming out of fashion institutes, not one of
them looks towards mass production as a medium of
creating dressings. "Every one wants to be a top of
the line and media hyped designer," comments this
successful manufacturer of Salwar Kameezes. She believes
that if there are more players and competition in
this industry, it would eventually be prospering the
consumer and anything less than perfect would be a
passe. So are there any other players fishing in the
same grounds...of Sentiments? There are a few
more players in the branded segment but are far from
being a recognizable symbol like Sentiments.
There are nearly two hundred shops all over India
convincingly retailing the Sentiments brand.
"These retail outlets are personally selected by us
and we ensure that there are no more than one or two
outlets in a city." says Vandana while discussing
her marketing strategy. Sentiments do not intend
to increase the number of retail outlets any further
because they do not want to oversell and wish to retain
their characteristics aura in each city, is what we
there is an original, can the fakes be far behind
in a country that has shoab of pirates. Retail outlets
that could not get the coveted Sentiments brand
indulge in blatant piracy, creating 'Just-like-Sentiments'
designs. But a consumer so used to the insignia of
Sentiments at the nape of the garment, refuses to
be fettered by the fakes, but then can there be greater
accolades than having the losers ape your design to
make a living. "The fakes still cannot compete with
our brand because the moment they try to change the
fabric and compromise on the quality of the garment
which is a give away,"suggests Vandana. Sentiments
create 30 to 40 designs every month and before the
copiers get a whiff of it, the designs are changed
in the coming month. These not only ensure a variety,
but also translate into repeat purchases from feminine
genders, especially when there is so much... to choose
from. Sentiments has been creating these sophisticated
silhouettes that meld style with the couture look
to give a timeless and contemporary look within a
range of Rs.1200 to Rs.3000. Whether you float with
a pretty embroidery pattern or pack a punch with lycra,
you are always ready for a look which is all woman.
Be it the traditional Bandhani print or the
abstract batik print, the fashion is becoming
in nay garment that flaunts the Sentiment label.
It has been a decade of existence for this brand of
clothing which breaks away from predictability. "Good
things in life need not come for a scandalous price,"
a smile ensures from Vandana Roy who still prefers
to let her work speak....more than her image. Commercializing
a brand and yet satisfying all discerning clients
is no mean feat. Sentiments has managed to do just
that. Women will continue to succumb to the brand.
Sentiments through Vandana Roy will continue
to energize the gentry with their collections. The
future is endless. The Sentiments are endless.