"Naturally, fashion is enormously powerful."
Pinkal Lad was born and raised in India and is a member of a multicultural society that values the preservation of international crafts.
The fashion designer is eager to create systems and designs that are based on social justice, equality, and environmental purity.
Her intercultural expertise and experience allow her to introduce ideas from many nations and cultures to the UK and other countries to achieve these goals.
Pinkal Lad was chosen from among thousands of applications to present her designs and concepts during Paris Fashion Week and will also do so during London Fashion Day in April 2023.
Both provide platforms for the industry, allowing designers to showcase their home countries and cultural identities while frequently fusing them with Western influences.
This promotes cultural diversity through the creative and social movement of fashion.
Pinkal Lad excels at visualising and connecting ideas to give her designs life.
Pinkal Lad’s dedication to sustainability drives her constant efforts to raise awareness of the moral and environmental problems that the fashion industry is experiencing, consequently fostering ideals and influence.
She primarily aims to support a decarbonized fashion sector, where creative manufacturing and packaging concepts can be used and where businesses also integrate ethical business practices into their compensation.
In an exclusive interview with DESIblitz, Pinkal Lad opens up about her journey as a designer and her upcoming collection.
How did your journey as a fashion designer begin?
I was born in Gujarat, a mecca of fabrics and materials, and a cradle of the most vibrant of colours and designs.
Starting as a fantasy and almost an escape, my passion for fashion soon grew as I explored the vibrancy of my cultural heritage.
I searched how the conventional or unconventional can turn fabric into treasure and how colour can be so energising and create so many different emotions, psychological effects and memories.
I continued to pursue my career in fashion in Mumbai and completed my Masters in Manchester where I developed my ideas and designs.
I was selected to present my brand at the Paris Fashion Week and have also been chosen to showcase my new Spring/Summer collection at the prestigious London Fashion Day in April.
I have always been passionate about sustainable fashion and want to encourage and inspire future generations.
My mantra is “Dress the world with style, but let sustainability be the fabric that holds it together.”
Which of your collections is your favourite?
My favourite collection is Faded as it pays homage to the 700-year-old Tangaliya weaving craft, native to the Dangashiya community of Surendranagar, Gujarat.
This collection is dear to me as it honours artisans, celebrates the richness of culture and identifies their beautiful contribution to humanity’s diversity.
Moreover, this collection breaks the stereotype of gender-specific garments, borders and of modern and orthodox design, yet remains both stylish, fashionable and trendy.
With this collection, I wanted the consumer to ask questions about crafts, and designs and about the artisans who, without any mechanical devices, create intricate, beautiful patterns and forms.
Tangaliya is a labour–intensive and tedious process, the artisans clearly have a high level of skill and an eye for accuracy.
I was so inspired and enamoured with this, I needed to incorporate the designs into my own collection.
How important is sustainability to you?
It is unacceptable that the fashion industry emits almost the same quantity of greenhouse gases as France, Germany and the UK put together.
It is unacceptable that textile workers, particularly women, in developing countries are often paid derisory wages, and work in appalling conditions and very long hours.
It is sad and disheartening that all the experimentation in the fashion industry over the last twenty-five years has failed to lessen its planetary impact.
My practice has always worked towards sustainability in fashion design, choice of fabric with increased durability and more importantly spreading awareness of fashion sustainability.
Humanity has both the power and the will to cause change.
We have the affinity for sustainability and the intent to act, but I believe we lack the knowledge to do so effectively.
I believe in innovation and awareness in fabric durability, design methods and simply raising questions, such as ‘Do I really need this?’ or ‘Can I get another wear from this?’ added to increased recycling will help considerably in transforming the linear lifeline of fashion into the circular fashion life cycle.
What can we expect from your upcoming Spring/Summer collection?
With my Spring/Summer collection, I want to promote hope, wonder and optimism.
My collection will be expressive and mood-lifting with a palette of serene Spring and bright Summer colours.
I have used Summer holiday silhouettes, mixing fabrics and shapes which will flatter all body styles.
With my commitment to sustainable fashion, my fabric of choice will be Khadi, first promoted by Mahatma Gandhi as ‘swadeshi’, or ‘of one’s own country’.
Khadi is an affordable, comfortable fabric which follows body contours, yet can also be loose-fitting giving sleek, classic and beautiful creations which give an air of confidence, grace and sophistication.
More importantly, because Khadi requires limited electricity and no energy in its manufacture, it has an extremely low footprint and is globally recognised for its sustainability and eco-friendliness.
My collection, which I will be promoting at the London Fashion Day, will be suitable for any time of the day, for any occasion and easily accessorised with additional items.
Are there any celebrities/figures that you would love to dress?
Not only would I love to dress Akshata Murthy, but I would love to learn from her.
Her passion for fashion design compelled her to give up an accomplished career in finance to launch her own clothing label.
Akshata’s respect for her culture and heritage mirrors my own, where she took inspiration from artisans in remote villages in India to create heritage pieces mixed with designer attire.
She told Vogue India in 2011: “It’s as cool to hang an original Gond painting in a New York penthouse as it is to own a creation by an established artist.
“I apply that same logic to clothing: Why not wear a hip summer frock inspired by cave paintings in India and team it with a Marc Jacobs scarf?”
Being a stalwart of sustainable fashion, Akshata also often wears fashion brands which empower vulnerable and trafficked women and brands which incorporate traditional crafts techniques such as hand-weaving and embroidery into their collections, similar to my Faded collection.
Where do you envision yourself in the future?
My aspirations for the future are multifold.
Firstly and most importantly, I would like to raise awareness of the ethical and sustainable issues permeating the fashion industry.
I believe social media is a massive instrument through which we can promote the circularity of clothing to increase the life span of the clothes we wear by recycling, reducing overproduction, and consumption and asking questions about how they were manufactured.
I would also like consumers to be mindful that all fashion has a human cost.
Naturally, fashion is enormously powerful.
When you dress well, you feel more confident, optimistic and simply more happy.
I would source fabrics manufactured in an ethical manner and would continue to work with artisans and craftspeople to give back to communities in need.
My hope is that my pieces will be durable, timeless, and sought after and that people would be proud to have them as part of their wardrobes.
I want my collections to be imaginative, creative and innovative and naturally I want my collections to be so successful that the most iconic fashion designers look at my work.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?
The key is to be patient and never give up, you will always get better and you can only learn from your mistakes.
Fashion designing can be overwhelming and challenging, but if you exchange ideas with your team from sourcing fabrics to designing and manufacturing, it will become a great deal easier.
Talk, talk, talk, share ideas, and be hopeful and optimistic!
Fashion designing requires a lot of rethinking and re-designing.
Don’t be afraid of that, don’t give up, reflect on where you went wrong, keep your spirits up and start over.
Also, perhaps most importantly, always try and contribute good to the world by ensuring your designs are sustainable and ethically manufactured.
Make sustainability your mission because our actions and choices, both as fashion designers and consumers, will decide the future of our planet.
Finally, I would also say that it is acceptable to be emotive and dream big and you will definitely achieve success and become a beacon of brilliance!
DESIblitz can’t wait to see what Pinkal Lad gets up to next.
To discover more, you can get in touch and visit Pinkal’s website here.