It came as a surprise when we learnt that fashion designer Swapnil Shinde was to participate in the American reality show, Project Runway. In an email interview, he speaks of his journey on the show until now
Q. What made you join the show?
A. Project Runway has been my dream for more than 10 years; I have been watching the show for eight seasons, and every season, I wished I could be on it. Having auditioned for it four times and seeing the response the judges gave me was a boost, almost like a validation. Meanwhile, I became a strong brand here and my clothes were being donned by celebrities all the time. It was a huge risk to participate, considering I am an established designer here, but that didn’t mean I would give up on my dream. Thus, I had to do the show when the opportunity came knocking on my doors, else I would have regretted it all my life.
Q. Was there any challenge that stumped you?
A. Considering I am a known name here, I had not stitched for a while. My team does the cutting and stitching. Before leaving for the show, I started prepping for it by revisiting my pattern-making books and getting back to the sewing machine, which I always enjoyed. To my amazement, I only had to brush up my skills as I was able to produce everything under the sun when I started practising. So, I didn’t have a tough time in any challenge. On the contrary, I was super excited about each one!
Q. The show is known to get several fashion icons together. Could you share an interesting experience with any one?
A. The show brought together some amazing celebrity judges but meeting them wasn’t the highlight of the show. For me, it was the mentorship of Mr Tim Gunn that was extra special and of course, seeing Heidi Klum in the most amazing outfits in each challenge.
Q. We have seen you rework Indian fabrics such as the Paithani. Did you have a chance to introduce India with any of your designs?
A. I wanted to ensure the fact that I am from India was a highlight but I didn’t want the clothes to scream out loud that they are from India. I tried to make sure I showcased modern India.