Source: Her World
1.Hi Namrata! Can you tell us a little bit about your background in fashion.
I did my Undergraduation in Media and Communications, then enrolled in fashion school, where I studied Fashion Business. Design, was of curse a component. That, along with my professional experience across retail and PR industries (Hugo Boss, Marie Claire Magazine, People) provided me the understanding of fashion on a grass roots level. Enabling me to start my own label - Ahikoza.
2.What was your inspiration behind starting Ahikoza?
I started collecting handbags since the age of 15! It’s my passion. Over the years, I started developing a real appreciation and eye for craftsmanship and fine leathers. After fashion school, I decided to follow my gut and delve into fashion. I always wanted to share my creations and knew I had a footing/something unique to offer the marketplace. I’m very grateful.
3.Why and how has geometry/architecture played a role in all your designs?
I have a real appreciation and passion for geometry. There is something so strong about the symmetry and composition of it all. I love contemporary artists like Donald Judd and Lucio Fontana as well. It’s the triangular accents and cut outs that I bring into my bags. That’s what makes it uniquely ‘ahikoza’
4.How long does it take to handcraft each bag?
Each bag is hand crafted to the millimeter! Exotic skins are a bit of a difficult material to work with as well. Done to precision, each piece takes about 3-4 weeks for completion.
5.Tell us about working with exotic skins, and the ethical considerations that come with it.
Working with exotic skins is definitely different, then working with traditional leathers. That, and also due to the ethical considerations it comes with. Very cognizant of the fact. However I do believe it’s a matter of perspective. Ahikoza provides job opportunities, takes care of our artisans and most importantly as a company we make sure to learn and minimize all forms of waste consumption. We source skins in the most ethical manner we can.
6.Whats your favorite Ahikoza product? What look goes with that bag perfectly?
My favorite Ahikoza product/bag is the Madison Minaudière! It goes with everything. Day to night, which is why I think it’s a red carpet favorite.
7.Ahikoza is known for its customizations. What has been the most unique/your favorite to date?
All customizations are so special! Also, one of my favorite aspects of the business. My favorite however would have to be a bridal Sierra bag we did in semi previous stones to match the brides outfit. Fact that she trusted me with her bridal piece, was an honor.
8.Do you have any tips or tricks on how to take care of exotic skins?
Exotic skin bags make for some of the most beautiful but fragile bags. However there are certainly ways to extend their longevity. 3 most important ones being
- Store in a cool dry place, away from sunlight or harsh lighting.
- Stuff that bag to avoid creasing and scales from lifting up.
- In an event of stains, use a damp cloth and move in the direction of the scales, without putting too much pressure.
9.What advice to you have for people and young designers who want to follow your footsteps
4 rules of thumb.
- Do your homework/research. Know the market
- Get your hands dirty with experience
- Know, that there are no shortcuts
- Be humble. Let your work do the talking.
10.Your bags are coveted on the red carpet in Hollywood and Bollywood. How is it like working with the industry and respective stylists?
Yes, it’s very cool and humbling. I never take it for granted. Definitely a tough industry to break into! However if you have a strong product, I believe that’s the main component. I’ve been very fortunate to have stylists and industry names support me in the industry. To name 3 in particular - Barbara Fialho, Lindsey Dupuis and the Kapoors. They’ve been my good luck charms. Be humble, be professional and most important of all patient. It takes time. Thank