"We believe less is more and avoid designing garments that are "too busy" or "distracting."
The South Asian clothing label holiCHIC by Megha Rao features sophisticated, yet, simple aspects.
Born and raised in New York, Megha took regular trips to India while growing up, and from there began her passion for dress designing.
Picking up from the elements around her daily, she gained an in-depth understanding of fashion through her modelling career.
Megha says: “It’s hard to not be inspired on nearly any corner you turn.”
DESIblitz catches up with the designer & curator of the label holiCHIC about her fashion perspectives.
What made you go into Fashion?
I spent 10+ years modelling for South Asian designers here in the states. Through these experiences, I discovered the need to blend the fashion worlds of east & west and create a true indo-western label that speaks directly to modern South Asian women and represents their identity.
I partnered with two incredible individuals, Nidhish Varughese, our Operations Director & Pooja Desai Shah, our Creative Director who have played a vital role in getting holiCHIC off the ground and jumpstarting this label. Their determined support and a common vision have been instrumental in helping me fulfil this dream.
What does Fashion mean to you?
Fashion is a statement. It often serves as a medium for people to express their identity – who they are, and what they are passionate about.
Being a New York, native what are your challenges for South Asian women? Dress sense, style barriers etc.
Being a New Yorker, the one challenge I can think of is the abundance of style in this city which can at times be overwhelming. While it can absolutely be a positive for some, it also serves as a deterrent for others. People become afraid to take risks and often opt for “safe.”
“Safe” allows you to blend in versus stand out and that frequently inhibits women from maximising their style potential.
A key challenge for the South Asian woman in New York, or in the U.S for that matter is access to quality, fashion-forward and affordable Indian clothing.
The prospect of having to take a 14+ hour journey to India is daunting in itself, not including trying to find a designer or boutique that carries exactly what you’re looking for.
The local options stateside are often limited, both geographically and stylistically – thus making holiCHIC a logical and important option for the South Asian woman.
Tell us about holiCHIC – what makes it different?
holiCHIC is about inspiring and being inspired. We want women to feel that the clothes we design represent them…in turn leading to confidence.
Our designs often have a relatively simple aesthetic with one or two bold elements often inspired from western fashion. For example, we’ve incorporated spikes on a simple lengha, and fur on a sari.
We believe less is more and avoid designing garments that are “too busy” or “distracting.” Our designs are also affordable & highly versatile allowing our wearers to get multiple wears from each piece.
Do you think Fashion is no longer a statement? People wear what they are comfortable in?
Now more than ever, fashion is a statement. People feel the desire to express themselves in all that they do. They also are very prone to the idea of customization of garments.
We encourage our clients to be part of the design process with us as ultimately we want our clients to feel comfortable in what they wear.
How long does it take you to produce a collection- from concept to release?
It takes about 6 months, however, we never truly “take a break” from production. As soon as one collection launches my Creative Director, Pooja & I begin brainstorming our next.
We strive to evolve from one collection to the next, present something “fresh” with the overarching goal of staying true to our aesthetic.
What styles do you like most to wear yourself? Something you would never wear?
For formal events, I tend to always wear something unique, testing out a new way to wear a lengha or a sari by pairing with a different blouse for example. For day to day, casual chic with a pop of ethnic flair is my go to style.
I’ll never wear something that doesn’t make me feel confident, different and bold.
Do you think we are losing the culture of South Asian Fashion sense and moving more towards Western attire?
I think more and more women, including brides, crave a blend of east and west. People want to feel beautiful and comfortable.
With destination weddings on the rise, an emerging social media and blogger influence, and evolving mainstream fashion trends – there is inspiration everywhere. I’ve noticed an uptick of women who enjoy fusing that inspiration into their desi wardrobe.
What three qualities do you need to be a good fashionista?
- An open- mind.
- A good eye.
What are your ambitions with holiCHIC and your future projects?
Our short term project is our anticipated Spring 2017 collection launching this April. For the first time, we are launching our collection in conjunction with a campaign that we are super excited about! The eventual long-term goal is to be an internationally recognised label, and I firmly believe we are on our way to that lofty ambition.
In the meantime, we want to continue to use our platform to inspire women through our clothing.
In April 2017, Megha Rao looks forward to launching a Spring collection.
From a spark of passion to becoming a fashion icon, she continues to follow her fashion designing dream.
Visit the holiCHIC website to keep up-to-date with the latest fashion designs by Megha Rao.