'Change is the only constant'

Payal Singhal says she believes in educating and reinventing herself through her work

Designer Payal Singhal is gearing up for her annual trunk show in New York, where she will showcase her collections from the recently concluded Amazon India Fashion Week and Lakme Fashion Week, apart from working on a few collaborations. We speak to the designer about her journey so far and what makes her one of the most sought-after young designers today. Excerpts from the interview:

Payal Singhal
Payal Singhal

Q. What is your favourite silhouette? What are the fabrics, colours you like to work with?
A. My favourite silhouette is the relaxed kurta like our mums used to wear in the ’70s. I love to work with silk tulle and the colours usually depend on my mood, but I’m partial to white and pale rose blush.

Q. What is the USP of your brand and who is your target clientele?
A. The Payal Singhal brand USP is easy-to-wear edgy and good quality, affordable clothing. Our target clientele includes women who like to experiment with their clothing, but have their own individual style.

Q. How different is it to design for NRI clients?
A. NRIs love to follow what India and Indian celebrities are wearing. We don’t have to design especially for them, but they prefer clothes that can be worn to even non-Indian events and that’s why they love our designs as these can be worn in every context.

Q. Recently, you collaborated with Bombay Shirt Company (BSC). What made you take up the project?
A. We have created a line of shirts for women that can be worn to work as well as outings. I wanted to make sure we did justice to both the brands. Hence, these are fun shirts, which are also very BSC. Keeping the aesthetic of BSC we have taken classic elements but added a bit of the Payal Singhal aesthetic by making them a bit more feminine and edgy. We made longer shirts with a longer back and mixed prints for that quirky, edgy feel. We have added pink buttons and French cuffs to make them more feminine. I took this up because it was challenging and I wanted to do something new and fun.

Q. Let’s rewind a bit. Even before joining SNDT, you won the Shoppers Stop Designer of the Year award at the age of 15. How did that happen?
A. I was in class 10 and just finished school. There was an ad in the paper announcing a nation-wide contest as a launch for Shoppers Stop. So, I sent in a sketch and they shortlisted me. Then, we had to make the garment and a month later I was invited to the show. I had no idea I had won!

Q. Why did you opt for a second degree from Parsons School of Design and Fashion Institutes of Technology?
A. I think one should never cease to educate and reinvent oneself. Change is the only constant. Both my stints at Parsons and FIT gave me a fresh perspective to my design philosophy and career path.

Q. How did New York impact on your fashion sensibilities?
A. I moved to New York in 2004 for six years. While I was there, I opened my own store in Gramercy Park and made a really special connection with the city and my clients there. The city gave me my design an identity. I knew what I really wanted to do only once I moved to New York.

Q. Tell us about your personal style sutra.
A. I love cool and comfortable clothes that have a sense of understated style on their own and don’t scream for attention. My comfort wear is low crotch pants with a shirt or tunic.

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