Ashish Soniat 22 (inset) and at 50 (above)
Ashish Soniat 22 (inset) and at 50 (above)

“When I was 22, it was the ‘90s and tough for someone like me, who didn’t make Indian clothes!,” says Ashish Soni

The designer talks about starting his label at that age, not having any bank balance, being focused on fitness and hoping to get on the international arena
PUBLISHED ON JUN 06, 2021 07:53 AM IST

Where were you career-wise?

I had just launched my label. There were just a handful of us and we had to create it from scratch. Unlike the young designers today, we didn’t have readymade platforms. Design, PR, Marketing — we handled them all!

Ashish Soni (left) with Rohit Bal (right) when he was interning with Rohit
Ashish Soni (left) with Rohit Bal (right) when he was interning with Rohit

And your bank balance was?

Non-existent. The ‘90s were tough for someone like me, who didn’t make Indian clothes.

Any romance in life?

I was in a serious relationship.

Ashish with his then girlfriend and now wife, Misha
Ashish with his then girlfriend and now wife, Misha

What was your focus in life?

To carve out a niche for myself in the world of fashion and be recognised and appreciated for what I do.

And your frame of mind?

I was extremely ambitious and hungry for success. It’s perhaps why I am where I am in life today.

Ashish spotted at a fashion show
Ashish spotted at a fashion show

Did you live with family?

I lived with my mom and my sister, as dad was still abroad.

What was your fashion sense like?

It was completely governed by trends and what was in vogue. When I look back now, I’m like “why???”!

Ashish spotted at a fashion show
Ashish spotted at a fashion show

Any fitness regime?

I was super fit as I was obsessed with working out and playing football.

Your most prized possession at the time?

A Breitling watch! Something I’d wanted for many years.

Ashish (right) with friend and restaurateur (left) Marut Sikka
Ashish (right) with friend and restaurateur (left) Marut Sikka

And your biggest dream back then?

To make it to the international arena one day. Thankfully, God gave me that opportunity.

The biggest life lesson you’ve learnt?

One thing I would advise youngsters to do differently is avoid distractions. Serious relationships, random partying and excessive spending should be put on the back burner.

Ashish Soni at the NIFT Lab with a fellow student
Ashish Soni at the NIFT Lab with a fellow student

If you could change one thing, it would be?

Irrespective of how much clarity I had, I was naive and easily distracted. It took me 10 years to figure out my groove. I wish I had been a little more aggressive. Being focused is one thing and staying focused is another!

From HT Brunch, June 6, 2021

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