She is the youngest Indian designer to showcase at the Lakme India Fashion Week and at 24 was appointed the creative director of Satya Paul, the youngest in the history of the fashion house. Her designs, like her, are bold and edgy, yet easily wearable and a lot more affordable when compared to other labels. And while there is a lot riding on her, Masaba Gupta seems to be carrying it all of with élan.
“I still have a lot of ‘Oh My God’ moments when I think of how Satya Paul happened. Being chosen to head a brand that is older than me is overwhelming and although it has been over a year since I was appointed, I still wonder how it did happen,” says the designer, who was in the city to showcase her designs at a recent exhibition. “It is very easy to be a part of a crop of emerging designers. But to cross that bridge and actually becoming the next big thing is what matters; I could do that because of Satya Paul,” she adds.
Given that she made her debut on the fashion circuit at the age of 19, it was but natural for her to be looked upon as a baby in an industry of veterans. “Being appointed the creative director of Satya Paul did make people sit up and take notice. In an industry where seniority is gauged by the number of years a designer has put in, this helped. I believe young designers are more enterprising, willing to do more and defy the rules of conventional selling.”
The designer, who is known for her quirky prints and use of natural fabrics, is also one of the most copied in the industry. Unfazed by the rip-offs, Masaba, who tried her hand at music, dance and acting before making it big in the fashion industry, says her biggest style icon is her mother, Neena Gupta. “I remember growing up in a bucket of clothes. My mother would pick up outfits from different stores and then create something new. She never wore anything in its original form. I think that influenced me a lot. She taught me the importance of character in clothes and also organic fabrics. How a person dresses speaks volumes of who he/she is. Which is why, I believe that style is an extension of oneself. Style is not something that can be borrowed.
It is something you have to develop for yourself,” she says. Organic fabrics have played a huge role in her career as well. “I use a lot of muslins, hand woven ikats and pure silks in my designs. I think it has a lot to do with how my mother raised me to use organic products. Till date we use Margo soap at home. Until sometime back I never threaded my eyebrows. My mother never has in all her life. In fact she would comb mine after I washed my face. She completely believes in all things natural and I carry a lot of it with me. Of late I’ve begun experimenting with lycra, but that is more due to the need of the market.”
With her designs being endorsed by various celebrities, brand Masaba has been growing exponentially. The designer has a couple of new stores being launched in Mumbai and Kolkata soon and a surprise label coming up. Quiz her on her plans to set up a store in the city and she says, “I think I need some more time to gauge what Hyderabad likes.
At the moment it is difficult to decide what works here. Maybe a couple of more exhibitions and I will have a better understanding of what works here.”