Five years ago in 2016, Saaksha— a law graduate, and Kinnari— a design student, came together to create the eponymous brand Saaksha & Kinni. With an aim to revive and globalise the Indian karigari, the duo created some exceptional collections featuring layered, enigmatic pieces that are playful yet comfortable.
LuxeBook speaks to the inspiring ladies about their fashion journey, inspiration and their latest collection— Pixel.
How was the brand Saaksha & Kinni conceived?
We always wanted to create a brand that was built around India in its roots but was global enough to be worn by anyone, anywhere. The idea was to celebrate Indian colours and prints in contemporary silhouettes. With Kinni’s knowledge in Indian textiles and embroideries, and me having grown up in Europe we felt like we could marry the two influences easily.
How did your partnership come to work considering that Saaksha studied and pursued Criminal Law in the past?
I don’t think having a fashion background is a requirement for this profession. Saaksha has a great eye for colour and style, so it was easy to collaborate.
What motifs and patterns do you fuse to incorporate the Indian tradition in your collections?
It is important for us to use Indian sourced fabrics like cotton silks, chanderis and also traditional prints. The prints we celebrate are Ikats, Leheriyas and Bandhanis. These three motifs are deep-rooted in Indian culture and are very easily identifiable, so much so that you find them in saris, anarkalis and more. But we wanted younger women to also be able to easily translate these prints into their own contemporary wardrobes. Placing these prints on a bustier or cape then helps make them much more accessible.
What was it like producing embroidery swatches for leading fashion houses like Balmain, Ellie Saab, etc?
Kinni: Working for such big fashion houses teaches you a lot of discipline. You quickly learn to put your head down and stay true to your work. It was also a huge creative outlet for me. Seeing Indian handwork being celebrated so well by foreign fashion houses made me much more certain about exploring it for an Indian brand.
How did you transition from criminal law to co-owning a fashion label?
Saaksha: The transition was unbelievable – night and day! The only reason I made this jump was to work with my sister-in-law to be very honest. Even before starting the label, we would make clothes together for our own wardrobes, weddings etc. And it was always a fun process to pick out the fabrics, choose the colours and watch Kinni working her magic, designing the embroidery on my clothes. It was also very natural to work with her, our ideas and tastes are quite in sync which makes working together seem effortless.
With so many new upcoming fashion labels, how does Saaksha & Kinni stand out?
I think India has so many designers that yes, it’s quite difficult to make a name for yourself. We try not to look too much into trends or what other designers are doing. That keeps us focused and we have a sort of tunnel vision – we don’t succumb to any external pressure.
We as a brand, hope to stand out by using a combination of traditional prints with global silhouettes. We try to incorporate traditional ikats and leheriya prints in everyday pieces like bustiers, trousers and jackets. Our brand aims to take our luxe-boho garments to the greater audience, all the while representing India and staying true to our heritage yet keeping in mind the needs of the modern global woman. It is an attempt that we are making for the modern Indian and global woman so that she can wear a little piece of India in whatever she wears, wherever she goes.
What are the different offerings by your brand, the kind of outfits/pieces? Where can the outfits be sported (occasion/daily wear)?
We love to provide smart casual resort pieces but also pieces that can easily translate from beachwear to cocktail. I think it’s important to make versatile pieces where styling makes all the difference.
What can you tell me about your latest collection ‘Pixiel’? The inspiration, silhouettes, patterns, colours/tones, etc.
Pixel was made to really focus on prints – the minute details and intricacy that lie within them. We focused on coats, sari dresses and co-ord sets – staples in all wardrobes. After a year of comfort dressing, we wanted the women wearing our garments to finally make a bold statement with their ensembles but in a very comfortable and chic way.
Do you have any physical stores? If yes, where? If not, do you plan on opening any physical stores?
We do not have physical stores – we focus on online and selling to boutiques. We do not have any plans to open any stores – it’s not something that makes sense for our model right now.