Sahiba Arora : An Exclusive Interview with Bespoke Fashion Designer Sahiba Arora
THE GORGEOUS AND PHENOMENAL SAHIBA ARORA TALKS ABOUT HER JOURNEY FROM BEING AN ENGINEER TO THE BREATHTAKING FASHION DESIGNER & STYLIST
Today Gujarat Celebs got the multitalented amazing soul fashion designer and stylist Sahiba Arora, the founder of SAHIBA ARORA COUTURE. Her passion is styling, her profession is designing and her education says she is an engineer. From being an engineering student to starting her own fashion brand, Sahiba has come a long way. Relive her journey to success with us and get to know how Sahiba is making the world shine with her awe-inspiring designs!
Let’s begin with your early life and your education.
I was born and brought up in Ahmedabad. Right from the start, I am here in this city. I did my schooling at Mt. Carmel which was one of the most reputed convent schools at the time. After schooling, I went for engineering at Nirma University. I did engineering in computer science from there. Although I scored very good at it I realised it was not my passion. I studied and gave a lot of effort to earn good marks but somewhere I was not happy. I needed to do something for my happiness and you know for the satisfaction of my soul. So, I started freelancing as a stylist back then when I was still in college. I used to choreograph a lot of fashion shows and in fact, I have been a part of many fashion shows. That is when I realised my true calling is towards fashion and towards this industry.
So, after that, I joined NIFT in Gandhinagar and completed my course in designing.
So, how did you think of becoming a fashion designer and how long have you been in it?
Officially it has been four years now. Also, we have just celebrated the 4th anniversary of my label last month. But you know, being in this career, for me, it has been like a journey. I think I have been experiencing it since after my school days or I guess since college days. My mom has been a designer all her life. Even back in school just watching her doing all the staff, helping her out here and there, somehow polished me off for joining this career. Back in college again, when I was doing my engineering, I would ask my mom to create outfits with my designing with her team. I would sometimes go to her and say let’s create this. So, I think I have been in the field right there and it was waiting right there. All I had to do was to identify that this is really what I want to do for the rest of my life.
But I think it has been a journey for me like right from designing to stylish to choreographing shows to being a part of these pageants; I have been connected to the industry for too many years now.
What according to you are your career highlights?
Well, I think every day is a journey in itself and every work and project of the day is a highlight itself. I really believe in finding joy in the smallest of moments, in the smallest of victories. Each happy client for me is a highlight.
Everyone’s life goes through ups and downs. How do you deal with the customers who you know have their own idea of fashion and their different kinds of demands…? How do you handle all of that?
There are multiple ways of going about it. This is something that right from the start every designer faces; not only designers but all professionals who are directly in the consumer-related field face these problems. You might have something in kind but the client has absolutely opposite one. It is a bit of a struggle to fall on the same page. But I think over the years you learn how to deal with and tackle such situations. The first thing to follow is that you have to be true to yourself, to your identity; you need to be true to your choice of aesthetics. As I am speaking about my field, you should not be the person who questions your own aesthetics. If a client is liking your choice or your aesthetics, you cannot neglect your aesthetics. In these cases, you have to look for ways how you can incorporate the client’s idea into your design. You kind of have to find a balance between the two. Apart from that, a lot of times we end up creating something that may not be what I would like it to be but the client is happy with it, then I think there is nothing not to like about it. I think it is a beautiful thing that you can leave your idea on one side and still be able to adapt the client’s requirements to create something that stays true to their style.
How do balance your personal and professional life – your family and friends and your life as a stylist-designer?
I think all of us are doing that; it just is in us to balance it out. It is something we have been doing since our childhood and will keep doing it all our life. I guess it is a little easier for me as I have a very supportive family – both sides. Even my in-laws are very supportive of my profession. My family, in-laws, my siblings, all are equally happy for my success as I am. When I was setting up my label, I was at the very first step; so I did not want to spend a lot. But my brother, my husband, they came and gave me hands. They would say, let us help you set up the items of furniture and this and that and these trivial things. My mother in law would make breakfast and tell me that I have to eat and then I go as I might have had a busy day ahead. I think growth comes automatically when the family around you is happy for your career choices; when they are happy to see you, groom. A lot of my friends have been so supportive. I feel truly blessed.
Is there someone whom you look at as your motivation or your idol?
I don’t really have an idol or any role model because I believe everyone, be it you or me or any celebrity or even the rickets man in the world, all we have flaws. Of course, there are absolutely beautiful things to learn from. How I like to live my life is when I see something or someone inspiring, I try to incorporate that goodness in my life. You try to learn different things from each and every person I meet. Having a role model or one single person to look up to has ever been my thing. I look up to multiple people you know; be it in my family or outside. So speaking about one single person is not really possible. But if you ask me to name who motivates me, for me it is my mother; right from day one. I have always been an introverted child; I have been such a tomboy you won’t believe if you look at school pictures. But she was the one who always gave me confidence. She has always pushed me to do better; try new things. She made me take part in almost every activity so I get to explore and understand those things. Even now, if she is not there everything goes haywire. She has always been a constant source of motivation for me.
As you know fashion changes every day nowadays through social media, new trends, and whatnot. So how do you manage to be on-trend all the time?
See it is difficult to keep trending all the time. In that case, you have to keep up with all the trends. But I believe rather than being on trend, I would love to be classic. You have to be someone who is endless. You have to pick up something which is an amalgamation of both trendy and timelessness. I always have pieces in my wardrobe that are 70-80% belong to the timeless theme and 20-30% trendy. I assess if I would wear a piece 4 or 5 years from now or if it is something that I am buying to wear just once. And then I put it into that category and I decide to pick and buy for myself.
Now, if I talk in my work language, again when I create my designs I like to understand what my client is looking for. If they are looking for an investment, a classic piece or if it is for just one time to look trendy. So the key is to understand your client’s requirements and then putting them all together.
What is the speciality of the brand Sahiba Arora?
You know when I was starting off I wanted to do anything and everything. There was nothing like a USP or a speciality for the brand. But now over the past few years, I think I have found my speciality and so have my clients. I generally love to design gowns that possess lots of drama and a lot of volumes. You see the couture gowns. Nowadays if you see the market is so open that fashion is globally dominating. A girl not just looks up a Sabyasachi piece on Instagram but she will really go there and search for Alexander McQueen or Valentino or Marchesa Fashion or a Dior creation. And those are the things that I am trying to incorporate here where you can actually wear designs and dress up like that. You get to look fashionable yet not having to break your bank account; that’s where I come in.
Does Sahiba Arora Couture ship and customize globally?
Yes, we do. We are available all over the world.
What do you intend to do and inspire others through your profession?
Inspiration and profession are two different things. I do what I love to do through my profession. I love to design, do styling. I love the way people come to me and get me to design their outfits; the way they put their trust in me. If they are coming to me for taking advice and getting their outfits designed which is going to turn out looking very gorgeous for the occasion. If you talk about it personally, I want all the girls out there to believe that you can have both your personal life and professional life; you can have it all. There is no need to choose one thing and let go of the other. You can actually manage your day along with your skills and the sky is the limit.
Is there any message you would like to give to young girls who wish to go to your profession?
My first suggestion would be to find the key factor that you have which differentiates you from the rest of the others. Because we know there are millions of designers that are graduating every year. There are numerous people in the same profession. So there is a tight competition in the market. There are designers who are offering designs similar to yours at competitive prices. So you have to find that one thing that clicks; that one thing which you think is going to make you stand out from the crowd. I think that thought structure is going to help you form your own brand.
Is there any achievement of yours that is very close to your heart that you want to share with us?
As I said, you know, every achievement is so special. Every single I am waking up, making it to work, fighting the day off, all of it contribute to my achievement. But if you ask about the mainstream achievement, well I guess, this should count; I have been a gold medallist engineer. I have topped the examinations throughout my life. Also, I won so many extempore and debates all throughout college. And I got selected among the top 40 for Miss India back in 2014. I was the only one from Gujarat to make it to the round that year. But back then, I realised modelling and that field is not really for me. I wanted to come back to my old life and start my own label. So, I guess these are the achievements that have given me a lot of exposure in life.
Is there any of your upcoming projects that you may wish to reveal to us?
There is no such thing as that. I always believe in waiting for things to happen and then unfold them. I like to keep the projects under wrap until it is out and about.
And do you have any message for us, Gujarat Celebs?
I have been following Gujarat Celebs’ page for quite some time. And I really love the contents you post. Today’s interview was fabulous. The way you covered it, you have been such a sweetheart (to Monika). I had a really nice time talking to you. And I am totally looking forward to being featured on this page.
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