Shweta Kapur’s decade-old label 481-33 is eminently known for its modern allure with femininity. 431-88 by Shweta Kapur, the ready-to-wear apparel seamlessly transitions across moods, occasions and settings. Inspired by the comfort of women and driven by the cultural impact of fashion, Kapur created 431-88 in 2012. Through her vision, she quickly carved a name for the brand and herself, through consistency, unique fabric selection, silhouettes, unique cuts and more. Since the birth of her brand in 2012, Kapur has worked to redefine the Indian fashion industry with designs that are fashionable and practical.
The brand has now completed a glorious 10 years in the Indian fashion industry and her journey over the last decade has seen her develop a design aesthetic that honours individuality and self-expression. LuxeBook caught up with the designer to know more.
Tell us about your decade-long journey in the industry.
431-88 began its journey in 2012 in New Delhi. I always had an affinity towards design from an early age. I would say the whole journey started taking its shape when we started creating pre-draped saris. As a 24-year-old, I never wanted to wear the old-school wrap-around saris and due to this very reason, the idea to create pre-draped saris came into existence. The original 431-88 sari drape hasn’t changed but its appeal has. Over the years we have introduced different versions where we’ve added our signature fringe, a mini petticoat (a first in the country), and played around with fabrics and treatments. Every year we introduce a new drape. My only brief to myself is that it needs to be fuss-free, pre-draped and flattering to the body. The whole idea is to also treat the sari as our version of the little black dress: something you can mindlessly pick when you don’t know what to wear.
How did you work to carve your niche in the market and break through the competitive industry?
I think the audience in today’s time is smart enough to recognise a brand for what it is and that is the reason we at 431-88 keep it as real as it can get. Authentic storytelling via our clothes and communication is what helps us stay forward and upwards in the competitive industry.
What is the ethos behind 431-88 by Shweta Kapur and the significance of the name?
The brand ethos is simply to connect with each woman via a mutual love for functional and elevated essentials. 431-88 is for women who are on the go and prefer fuss-free clothing. The digits 431-88 have been personally special to me and hence it is the perfect fit to describe my brand.
Share some advice for those who want to start their own fashion label.
In my opinion, showing up every day and having a solid understanding of the business is what helps you sustain your business in the long run. So to all the young entrepreneurs, all I would like to say is creativity is good, to begin with, but understanding how to mould that creativity while simultaneously catering to the needs of the consumers is what you would want to understand to keep your scale booming.
What can we expect to see in your upcoming collection?
Our latest collection, 24-7 is designed for every woman. Being democratised in its very nature, 24-7 a comfortable yet stylish collection where one can get an outfit for each hour of the day. You can expect the timeless charm in each apparel which is worn at any time of day, regardless of the woman’s age. They can pass from mother to daughter and appear differently on each.
What are the key techniques you use while designing clothing?
Our clothes are mostly fuss-free, practical and give a sense of freedom. The key techniques include tailoring and structured drapes, our expertise lies in mixing the two.
Throw light on some new styles you’d like to experiment with at 431-88 by Shweta Kapur.
All-year-round many new styles come and go and there is always room for experimentation. I personally believe you can always explore more with your individual style as it’s really up a notch in the country. So definitely exploring and re-inventing our own voice of fashion is what I would prefer.
What, according to you, is more important for a brand today – participation in fashion weeks, exhibitions or social media engagement?
Traditionally, a label was recognised by its presence in fashion weeks and magazines. However, since the world has been introduced to social media, I think the narrative has changed much. Social Media has become a way to connect with the audience more organically and on a personal level as you can engage and get to know their opinions and preferences via engagement and insights. Having said that, I think in order to build a brand’s presence – both traditional and new-fangled means of communication are needed to create an efficient impact.