A pioneer in the field of eco-friendly designing, hand-woven indigenous fabrics and impactful muted colours, Neeru Kumar displays marvels through simplicity. After a breakthrough in fashion nearly 30 years ago and despite being a member with FDCI for nearly a decade, she opened the Wills India Fashion Week 2011 with her A/W collection and floored the audience. The only question in the minds of the full house that witnessed the show was – where had she been hiding all this while. In addition to working with designer labels Maki textile Studio, Japan, and Jack Larsen, USA, Neeru Kumar has had her hands full supplying to international leading stores such as Selfridges, and Bloomingdales. Neeru Kumar bares it all in an exclusive interview with SK...
How did u get into fashion design?
Well I was and will be always a textile person, I got into fashion design by default. I have always have had a passion for weaving and exploring diff facets of Indian culture through their weaves and embroidery. I got into fashion design only to exploit this part. I wanted the youth to wear garments that was intrinsically inspired from our native culture and give our textile weavers a boost, getting into mainstream fashion design was one of the ways.
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I am from the NID, Ahmedabad. It was the natural choice for me to make since I consider it to be the Mecca for textile upliftment and research and development work.
Did you train or apprentice under some other designer?
No, I really did not train under someone but what I did learn was all due to knack of wanting to do something different. My first job though I must mention was with William Bissell, the owner of Fabindia.
How old is label NK?
Neeru Kumar as a label is about twenty years old and it is utterly devoted to revival and enhancing of Indian textile and also women empowerment through the different looms that I employ all over India.
What inspires your creativity?
I am inspired by anything that is truly Indian. I am an organist; I get inspired by organic environments, different weavers and fabrics. Out country is a storehouse of textile stories that have become myths. I wish to revive those. The mighty loom has always been my inspiration for creating something new within my parameters.
You recently showcased your collection at Wills India Fashion Week. How was the experience?
For me WIFW was an overwhelming experience. It was the first time I was showcasing my collection in front of a million people and media. My team along with me did our best and I was honoured with the response I received. I am looking forward to more seasons where I can showcase all the skills of India. It has been very positive and thanks to all of u guys who have helped me getting here.
You’ve been entwined with fashion for the last 32 years. Ever wondered what you would have been if not a fashion designer?
Well you know I have been working round the clock for the past twenty five years, I really don't know what I would have done. But yes this is a profession that I adore and I hope I have a lot more productive years ahead. I identify myself as a fashion designer cum textile revivalist and that is the only identity I wish to carry forward.
A celebrity/socialite/public figure whose fashion aesthetics you admire the most?
As a designer, I feel that all my clients have a very different sense of style. They are all oriented towards ethnic chic, but if I have to name I would go for Kiron Kher, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, Sonam Kapoor, she has a young sense of putting things together and making it work and one classic style icon for me is always Sonia Gandhi.