By Ruwa Shah
New Delhi– “We don’t need to be told we are empowered, we are born free,” says a journalist-turned-designpreneur from Jammu and Kashmir who feels being a woman is her strength, is impressed by the way Prime Minister Narendra Modi dresses and wants to style politico-fashion icons Priyanka Gandhi and Omar Abdullah.
Svelte, dusky Nafisa Rachel William, 29, with jet-black curly hair, self-models for her creations to send a message to “all the women out there that howsoever they look, they look fabulous”.
“You just need confidence to carry yourself well in what you are wearing. I connect with my clients when I tell them, look, this is designed by me, I am not a model, and this is how I look (wearing it),” the daughter of a former police officer told IANS here.
“I have never done photo-shoots at a glamorous location. I either chose a park at the back of my house or a busy street in Delhi and even my messy room.”
And the trick has worked for her. She has around a dozen employees working for her in various cities, including Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi. She sells her creations on different online platforms and also through her Instagram and Facebook pages.
The Jammu-born, Delhi-based designer said her “eternal love” for traditional Indian wear, particularly the saree, pushed her to start a label in her own name.
“I do not know why girls have stopped wearing sarees. Through my collections, I want to make them realise that wearing an ethnic dress won’t stop you from being a modern woman. You can wear a saree and drive a jeep,” William said.
She said her collections mostly revolve around the traditional wear as she wants to maintain the “raw form of our (Indian) culture”.
And whose dress-sense among Indian politicians carries the most attractive style statement?
“Narendra Modi. His dressing is very impressive,” she said promptly about the Prime Minister’s chudidars, flowing kurtas and Nehru jacket. “I just love what he (Modi) wears,” she said.
And who would she ideally dress up among politicians?
“I would want to style (former Kashmir Chief Minister) Omar Abdullah and Priyanka Gandhi,” she said.
“Abdullah is already a very well-dressed man. But it would be interesting to see him in a black achkan with white chudidar, instead of a pathan salwar (that he often wears to official functions), with a Kashmiri karakul (cap).
“For Priyanka, I would love to make a traditional sharara with a kurta and dupatta, something we have not seen her wearing in public. Also a floral chiffon saree with a string of pearls would be ideal,” the graduate from St. Stephens in Delhi said.
She said like every designer she wanted to create a niche for her label in the Indian fashion industry.
“But I would not compromise on my principles of designing. I will still design wearable clothes that do not have too much of bling.”
William said she also wanted to bring in the traditional Kashmiri embroidery and fabric designing in her creations to allow Kashmiri artisans into a new market.
Her journey so far has been smooth.
William got a job as a script writer at a news channel soon after her graduation. She could not rest her feet for long there.
“For two years, I tried to enjoy the work. But I couldn’t. I was also offered a stylist’s job there only on the basis of how I would dress. But I didn’t take it up.”
She said it took her long and a lot of courage before she recognised her “passion and dreams”.
It was in 2013, when she invested Rs 3,000 in designing three sarees. “I put the pictures online, and they sold out.”
And since then, she said, she has just looked forward to the future “that is only bright”. (IANS)