Made in Mohali: ‘Traditional Punjabi suits are my calling’
A computer professional who turned to fashion designing, Kiren Sandhu says her label is a success due to sheer hard work and perseverance.punjab Updated: Feb 10, 2018 13:02 IST
There are a lot of minds that work together on an ensemble you see your favourite actor or singer togged in both onscreen and off it. Most celebrities have stylists and all stylists have favourite designers. When it comes to the Punjabi entertainment industry, a young designer from Mohali seems to be emerging as a favourite. Her designs have been spotted on Punjabi singers and actors like Sara Gurpal, Himanshi Khurana, Nimrat Khaira, Oshin Brar, Kanika Mann, Anmol Gagan .Maan, Ankita Sharma and lately Jasmine Sandlas. So how did a 24-year-old fashion designer from Mohali become so popular in a short span of time, we find out.
Young and restless
Just four years ago, Kiren Sandhu was an assistant professor teaching computer engineering at the Rayat Bahra University in Kharar. Coming from a family of educationists, pursuing a career in education was expected of her. But Sandhu’s family and friends were well aware of her passion for fashion design. “Back in Hoshiarpur where I studied, we only wore Punjabi suits. I was always designing my own outfits,” Sandhu tells us. And it didn’t go unnoticed. “My relatives and friends would ask me to design for them too,” Sandhu smiles. So she began drawing sketches and approaching tailors to stitch them for her. “It was really exhausting. I would come back from college and then make rounds to the market to buy fabric and embellishments and then head to the tailor.”
Keen to help girls open their own boutiques, Kiren Sandhu decided to start her own training centre.
Traditional as USP
“I love colour and I love traditional Punjabi suits and that became my USP,” admits Sandhu who spent a couple of years building her portfolio. The attention from NRI clients was very welcoming. “I think the fact that I designed traditional suits with a hint of contemporary styling appealed to most of them,” says the designer who continued to deliver orders without having a permanent staff of workers.
Buoyed by the response to her creations, Sandhu decided to launch her eponymous label via social media. “I would put up photos of my work and get responses. Initially, it was very slow. There would be a lot of likes but that didn’t always materialise into orders,” informs Sandhu. But those were early days. Today, her Instagram and Facebook accounts have a sizeable following. “It was when celebrities starting posting their photos on social media wearing my outfits that I truly got noticed,” admits the designer. She remembers the day popular singer Jasmine Sandlas called her and asked for four outfits for the shoot of her song ‘Laddu’.
Graduating to a studio
Ask any struggling fashion design student what they dream of and you realise they all aspire to start a successful label and studio of their own. For Sandhu it was no different. “I was overwhelmed with work especially from the Punjabi entertainment industry. I realised I needed to have my own space and team. I needed to go professional,” says Sandhu who is now based in Phase 3A in Mohali. While setting up shop, Sandhu realised that it was important to have her own workshop. “I never realised that at such an early age I would be able to offer employment to someone else,” she beams.
Keen to help girls open their own boutiques, Sandhu decided to start her own training centre. “The training is designed like an internship programme,” says Sandhu who is looking to open her studio in Jalandhar and Ludhiana soon. “Given the response from overseas, I should be able to open my store in Toronto, Canada in the next two years,” says the young entrepreneur who is raring to go.