Geethika Kanumilli is proof that age need not stop you from grabbing opportunities that come your way, and that it’s never too early to follow your heart and your dreams. The 22-year-old is fresh off her graduation from NIFT, Hyderabad, and ready to conquer the world. This month we spoke with the young designer from Chennai, who’s been happy to make Hyderabad her home.
First things first, tell us a bit about your work.
I stared designing professionally a year ago, mainly designing for family and friends who were always appreciative of my style. I studied biology during my junior college in Hyderabad, and since I was a great student with high marks, my parents were keen on me becoming a doctor. But I was set on following my passion for design, so I took a break for a year and then joined NIFT. I am a Chennai girl who moved to Hyderabad for studies, but now I’ve become a full-fledged Hyderabadi. Fashion has always been an innate passion, but my course at NIFT helped me gain a better perspective on the whole design process, particularly on how to handle the pressure. It has enhanced how I view my creative process.
How did you start you own label?
I created the label when I was in my third year of college; I didn’t work for anybody or assist anyone previously. It was a bold move, but with the encouragement of friends and family the dream became reality. My father has been very supportive from the start, and has helped me set up everything from scratch. He made sure I was viewing it as a self-sustaining business in addition to it being a passion. My mother too encouraged me to start off early; it wouldn’t have been possible without her.
How do you manage your design career and family business?
I am really passionate about designing, so I am not doing it to gain any sort of commercial prosperity. I truly enjoy dressing people up, and seeing a smile on a client’s face is a high I thoroughly enjoy. With regards to my family business, I attend meetings and help my dad. The support I get from my family and my love for designing help me strike a perfect balance between the two.
Who does your clientele consist of?
Most of my clients are from the US. They get to know of my designs through my Facebook page and also through word-of-mouth. We have a huge following on social media thanks to family and friends.
What inspires you?
I love Indian architecture and I am thoroughly inspired by it. It can be absolutely anything, from temples to forts and the smallest details that go into making these brilliant structures.
What are your bestsellers?
My best-selling pieces are crop-tops with high waist skirts and short capes. These are very popular among young girls in the age group of 15-25 who like to experiment and try new looks.
Who is the ideal woman you would like to dress?
I don’t have anyone particular in mind. It can be anybody; even if they’re a plus-sized person, I want to make them feel good and comfortable. I like designing clothes made to measure for each person, so all body types can look and feel great in my clothes.
What are your personal favourite pieces to wear for the festive and wedding season?
For weddings I like proper ethnic lehengas and for weddings I enjoy wearing high waist skirts and short capes; they are really light and great to wear.
What are some of the elements you incorporate into your creative process?
I love experimenting with embroidery and handwork; I’m not a fan of machine work. I also like keeping my designs simple and elegant and prefer them more understated than loud; I would rather go for bold colours, colour combinations and simple embroidery.
Any favourite Indian designers?
I like everybody’s work because everyone has a different style. But my favourite is Sabyasachi.
When you’re not working, what do you like doing for fun?
I love to sketch and I am a huge travel buff.
What’s next for you?
I am doing an exhibition in Singapore next, and look forward to participating in more exhibitions across the world, particularly in the US since we have a huge fan following there. I am also thinking of getting into handbag design. The ultimate dream would be to be part of Lakme Fashion Week next year.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
My work is fresh, simple and experimental. I love playing stylist and advising people on how to put together their whole look – not only on which clothes suit them, but also on hair, makeup, jewellery, and accessories. I absolutely love dressing people up, which is why I love what I do. – as told to Suneela