Sandhya Garg | The Feel, Fabric, and Fashion
Confident, fierce, and artistic. Sandhya’s idea of self-empowerment embodies an approach in fashion. For her, having one’s self-styled and dressed to look powerful makes all the difference. To create textiles and clothing, she draws inspiration and research street styles to have a well-informed perspective. The London College of Fashion graduate has learned a wide range of crafts and techniques, from hand embroidery to vintage knitting-lace making. This has made delving into the scarce niche of making gorgeous conversational prints easier.
Sandhya was featured in the Project Runway Season 13 where she caught world attention. She refined her skills at International design studios at Alexander McQueen, Alice Temperley, and Izmaylova, learning the essentials of the industry. Consequently, her fashion is about glamour and unique personal style. She loves seeing the museum and walking the park with her toddler son. You can catch all her latest women fashion tips on her website where she also shares her experience and creativity.
I basically design dresses for vacation or traveling and they also transcend into special occasion dresses that you could wear to a wedding or to a baby shower or a party. And of course my clothing is inspired by travels to these exotic locations; it could be Caribbean or Mexican so it’s about encapsulating magic that itself, is contained within itself in terms of art, architecture, folklore. I also make my own textiles. So all the prints you see are my own. We work with custom embroideries, custom embellishment, and a lot of hand-maid stuff. I make my stuff in India, it’s all ethically produced by small factories. There’s a lot to the brand and I’m happy to answer any specific questions with regards to that.
In terms of being print-based fashion more result brand, I’ll say that there are a brands out there but no one is doing prints the way I do it at my price point. There is this need to do gorgeous conversational prints that have these stories behind them, these beautiful bold colors- there’s no one doing them and if someone is doing this pretty prints it’s a Dolce & Gabbana or Alexander McQueen where it’s a $2,000-$4,000 dress. Another thing is that, still people are scared of doing bold prints. They’ll put it on a scarf but no one is willing to put it on a dress and I know people who, like me, will love to wear a bold conversational print.
I spoke to a lot of people and in conversations with people into these bold conversation prints, but they say it’s so hard to find anything like this out there and that’s how I knew this is what people wanted because I was doing a lot of different things when I started. So that’s how came to print. It’s when I got the feedback from my customers.
My products have been received very well. I do sell a lot of products in my events and through my websites and people love the clothing, the feel, the fabric. It’s all designed after getting feedback and every time, it’s more refined to what the customer is looking for and what they want.
How it started
The very first time that I got interested in and passionate about fashion and style was when I was 10 years old. I always designed and stitched clothes for my dolls and when I saw a cousin work on her textile design project I was fascinated and knew this is what I wanted to do for life.
On personal style
My personal style is very casual for everyday living but for dressy occasions, I am a bit of a maximalist in terms of wearing a pattern and I love to include bold color accents with accessories if I am wearing a neutral toned dress. I love to dress up and look powerful in the way I style myself.
Heritage, crafts, and inspiration
I grew up in New Delhi, India. India has probably one of the largest and most complex textile histories in the world. We have so many weaves, regional crafts, embroideries, fiber techniques, dyeing techniques- the list goes on. It’s hard not to be inspired by the rich cultural craft history of being in India. My mother also inspired my life as she would knit, crochet and fascinatingly talk about textiles, silks, embroideries and heritage craft knitting of these drawstrings that truly stuck with me.
I am most proud of my design internship at Alexander McQueen studio, my stint on Project Runway season 13 and my journey of creating my namesake resort wear label in the US.
The most rewarding part of the journey
The most rewarding part of my journey so far has been connecting with people and being able to talk to women about their concerns and what speaks to them in terms of fashion, travel, and style.
I’ll say in terms of expressing my personal style I’m very passionate and artistic about my work the way I talk to people and tell them about it. When they listen to me they feel the energy of the story, the kind of magic- it really connects with them. I recently drew inspiration from Amalfi coast Austin and there were people had visited Amalfi coast Austin and they really couldn’t capture the magic of the travel with just buying souvenirs but through my print and dresses, they could wear what they merched to them. So I think the 20% is the inspiration and design, reaching out on social media which gives me the 80% impact and of course me talking about it and expressing the whole inspirational.
Discovering New Styles
I do a lot of research and look at street styles too. It’s how I discover new styles for each of my new collections.
Project Runway behind the scenes
I think what people don’t know about the Runway experience is that at the end of the day even we (contestants) don’t know what they’re going to show on TV. And sometimes a lot of it looks heavily edited even to us because in our heads there’s a different scenario so they basically cut, copy, edit, mix videos, and show clips that are probably not related to what the current show is going about. Say we say something we in the first episode, they’ll use that edited clip in the sixth episode. You know, there’s a lot of editing and they kind of create this whole story that sometimes the contestants aren’t even aware of.
Getting on the Project Runway show
It is not an easy process, to be honest. I was very confident when I applied that I was going to in, so I gave it a try because I felt I had nothing to lose and in my application I got a mail to move on to the next stage. All through the process, my idea was just to have a lot of fun and I was very honest of who I was. I had watched a few episodes of Project Runway but to be honest I didn’t follow it religiously season after season. So I was very unaware and I think that helped in being very authentic, and being who I was on the show and not being scared or intimidated by the gravity of how big the show is.
It’s like a 7-10 steps process of getting on the show and it’s not easy but if you have fun with it and if you’re the right applicant, all the best.
Project Runway lessons
I’d say you cannot take an opportunity for granted. I knew Project Runway, it’s such a huge opportunity and I gave it my best. Never take an opportunity for granted because Project Runway changed my life in a good way so I’ll say that the most valuable thing to not undermine the value of making strong connections or your fellow participants and judges. In addition, you should always create strong connections as a fashion designer.
I have my own special result boutique. There’s a massive experience when you enter to shop and having a great online presence and building this whole business. You can wear different dresses inside the hanger. That’s where I see myself.
Icons in the Fashion Industry
They are many! The industry is changing everywhere but what has remained constant is the impact that emerging fashion designers have on the industry. They bring in the fresh stuff. I would say that in terms of fashion, Alexander McQueen still has a lot of impacts and all other big brands. They are the icons, they’ve been in the business for so long and they have a strong identity. It takes a lot of decades to create a big brand and the fact that you can identify these brands with your eyes closed is the true mark of being a fashion design industry icon.
What are your Area/s of expertise?
I’d say I’m an expert on creating conversational fashion prints that make dresses stand out and incredibly unique.
Incorporating Color and Patterns
Life is too boring to wear dull clothes. I consider myself an expert in wearing color as well so I’d say I could give you a tutorial on how you could best incorporate color and pattern in your life. I know a lot of people who do not do a pattern or color because they think it’s too loud. For such people, you can start with a scarf around your shoulder or around the neck in a beautiful color. From there you can do a top and then do a jacket on top. Touch those areas and slowly build your confidence towards wearing colors and patterns so you don’t have to bold colors in big size, you can do a grey trouser and a grey or a black top and do a small colorful scarf or an accessory and that’s you can incorporate color and pattern in your every day style.