Fashion Designer talks Desi Weddings & Covid-19

From lockdown Zoom fittings to beautiful bridal gowns. DESIblitz talks to a Desi fashion designer about the wedding season amid Covid-19.

“The summer Desi season is the busiest part of the year."

The Desi wedding season is filled with laughter, joy, delicious food, and beautiful clothes. But, for a Desi fashion designer, this period can be very stressful.

As summer begins to approach, this only means one thing, everyone will have an invite to a fun-filled Desi wedding.

With this comes a flood of brides and wedding guests contacting designers to find original pieces.

Fashion designer Sharan has been working extra hard due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

DESIblitz caught up with the CEO of this boutique to discuss fashion trends and the highs and lows of the wedding season.

by.Sharan

by.Sharan was launched in 2020 with the aim of creating modern Indian clothing for the new generation.

Fashion designer Sharan, the founder of this brand, aspires to create versatile and unique gowns:

“With our heritage in the East and our homes here in the West we are an amalgamation of both, yet no clothing represents both parts of our identity.”

This young designer aspired to transcend this, with most of her pieces being interchangeable for a Desi wedding or a club night out.

Sharan studied textile design at university before working for various couture fashion houses in the embroidery departments.

This was where she developed her specialist embroidery skills and passion for designing bridal gowns.

Unfortunately, this brand fell victim to the devastating impact of Covid-19. Speaking of the challenges, Sharan explained:

“Covid has had a huge impact on my business.”

“I launched in May 2020 when we were at the height of the first lockdown with no foresight on what was to come.

“It was a tough time to launch a bridalwear business as so many brides had postponed or cancelled their weddings.

“The impacts of Covid on the wedding industry forced me to think outside the box and figure out what people needed during a pandemic.”

However, there was hope for the fashion designer to recover from this dreadful period.

“I launched my collection of accessories last November, and they’ve been so popular that I’ve sold out several times. Things have been slow to pick up.”

Sharan is already preparing for the chaotic Desi wedding season.

“The summer Desi season is the busiest part of the year.

“Even though it is the busiest season of the year, it is also the most exciting, as we get to see the final outfits all come together.

“We usually get photos back from our brides and wedding guest customers, and it is such a joy to see our outfits.”

Despite this season being stressful, it is clear there is no other job that Sharan would want to do.

Current Fashion Trends

Moreover, by.Sharan’s Instagram account is also growing by the day.

“Our Ruby Lengha set has been one of the most asked about designs since we launched last year.

“Most of our brides come to us from having seen this design on our website or Instagram.

“My personal favourite is the Veena Lengha, a beautiful dusty pink lengha embellished with glass beads.

“It is the perfect mix of East and West and something I can see for an Indian wedding reception or even a civil wedding ceremony.”

A favourite bridal trend is opting for prints.

“One of the bigger trends I have seen is printed lenghas.”

“We sold out of our bronze print lengha before we even launched our website.

“I love that customers are opting to consider printed fabrics for their outfits, especially during the summer months. Prints also photograph well!

“We have brides who have purchased outfits months in advance, but we also have brides who have last-minute changes and need outfits earlier than the 2-4months that we recommend for bridalwear.

“But we recommend allowing at least 3 months as your options decrease massively the less time you have left until your big day.”

To cope with the high demand, Sharan and her team keep their workshop organised for the summer rush.

Starting Out In The Fashion Industry

Starting out in any industry can be difficult. But Sharan believes that anyone can make their fashion designer dreams come true with passion and determination.

Speaking about her work ethic, Sharan says:

“Knowledge is the key to so many things in life, and working in fashion is no different. Study your craft, study the industry, intern if you can, and ask questions.

“Fashion is a hard industry to break into, and it can be a long road to working your way up.

“Do not give up, and it will be worth it in the end!”

Brides are usually stressed during this time and sometimes they are known for releasing their tension on those around them.

However, Sharan understands the pressure brides are under:

“A bridal outfit is an outfit that most people will splash out on for their wedding day.

“It is likely the most they will ever spend on a single outfit, so they expect absolute perfection.

“Organising a wedding can be a stressful time, so we try to ensure that the entire process from consultation right through to the final product is smooth.

“Generally, brides are lovely and are usually buzzing from all the excitement of their wedding. It is a nice energy to be around.”

Furthermore, Sharan enjoys working with brides and being a part of their special day.

“I used to work for white wedding dress companies, which were exciting, but lacked the variety you find with Indian clothing. Nothing beats it!

“Indian weddings are such a huge part of Indian culture.

“It is a day that parents and the bride or groom anticipate for many years, so it is always a pleasure to be a part of their journey into a new chapter.”

Sharan explains she has some exciting plans in store for her brand:

“We are hoping to launch a bridesmaid collection and a new bridal collection later this year.

Covid-19 might have paused Sharan’s plans for now, but she has many new ideas and designs in store.

Covid-19 and The Wedding Industry

In 2020 Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions brought the wedding industry to a standstill.

Wedding halls, food vendors and fashion designers, were left stranded.

Some brides chose to cancel their grand event and perform a small intimate wedding with family or virtually, while others postponed to a later date.

However, the world has begun adjusting to its new reality, following British government guidelines.

Desi fashion boutiques hold virtual fittings and communicate with brides online.

Although the pandemic has changed how people live, this has not altered people’s desire for a lavish Desi wedding.

Some Desi families will always hold on to these cultures and traditions no matter the circumstance.

They are determined to have the most lavish and impressive wedding

The Artistry of Bridal Gowns

Desi weddings are more than a celebration of love. It is an event, which comprises many unions including those of the couple, families and relatives.

This is the bride’s special day, and once she sees her true love, nothing else matters. Until, of course, she sees her multiple extravagant outfits.

For a Desi fashion designer, creating beautiful and unique bridal gowns is a form of art.

These designs must not be rushed. They take time, patience, and innovation, and Desi brides expect nothing less.

Brides are dressed in auspicious colours, with intricate beads draping these silk gowns.

Desi brides have moved past the traditional colours and designs and are often looking for something more modern and unique.

Moreover, every month there are different and fresh wedding collections launched by various designers.

Therefore, Desi fashion designers are often under a lot of stress during the summer, due to the high demand.

However, this hectic yet wonderful wedding season reignites the passion and drive of every fashion designer, as they are determined to make their brides dream come true.

Harpal is a journalism student. Her passions include beauty, culture and raising awareness on social justice issues. Her motto is: “You are stronger than you know.”

Images curtesy of by.Sharan