Threads of Success - Zara Umrigar talks with You & I

Zara Umrigar was captivated by fashion at a young age, after watching her mother design intricately hand-embroidered Indian wear. She began sketching at that impressionable age and has always felt drawn to her creative side. After pursuing higher studies from the London School of Economics, Zara decided it was time to pursue her love of fashion, and enrolled at the London College of Fashion to complete a detailed course on fashion design. Following that, she worked with and learned from her mother, Sabita Dhanrajgir Umrigar. Two years later, the designer launched her own label, Zara Umrigar.

Her classic silhouettes and bold hand embroidery are the perfect union of feminine and brave. The designer believes that every piece should be one that you can wear forever, and her timeless designs prove just that. Here she gets candid.

When did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in fashion design?
I knew early enough that I had a passion for fashion and embroidery. I watched my mother create intricate Indian wear from a young age, and was always enamoured by it. But it was only after university in London that I realised design was the only path for me. Nothing drives or inspires me more!

What’s your favourite part about being a designer?
I love being able to translate my thoughts and feelings into the pieces. It’s really like putting a part of myself out there. Also, knowing that I can be part of someone’s most special day is really beautiful.

What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
I think social media has a pretty big influence on the fashion industry today. It connects everyone, giving new designers and influencers a platform like never before, and gives rise to new trends. It also directly links consumers to the products they wish to purchase. There are downsides too: easy imitation and fast fashion.

How do you want women to feel when wearing your collection?
I want women to feel empowered, to feel like the best versions of themselves. My goal is to make a woman feel as confident, beautiful, and as glamorous as she possibly can.

Tell us about your new collection. And what’s next?
La Vie En Rose is all about intricate embroidery and classic styles. My next collection is going to be my most daring, bold, and glamorous so far. Inspired by Khaleesi from Game of Thrones, this collection is a tribute to the show that ends next year. It’s going to be all about strong silhouettes and statement-making pieces.

Is sustainability possible in the world of fashion?
I think sustainability is possible, and is a path that’s taken by a lot of fashion houses these days. A great deal of awareness has been raised over the years, and people are coming together to help the environment more than ever before. It won’t be an easy transition – especially for fast fashion – but it is necessary to take steps towards it.

Who’s the most stylish today?
There are so many that I love! Chiara Ferragni, Blake Lively, Shay Mitchell, and Kourtney Kardashian are amongst my new favourites.

A fashion mistake you always avoid…
Over accessorising! Less is always more.

What do you like most about Diwali, and how do you plan on celebrating this year?
I love the festive feel in the air. The cards, the music, and good food! I plan on celebrating it with family and friends, and a few fun parties, too! But definitely no crackers; I’m completely against them so it’s going to be a quiet Diwali for me!      - as told to Sumana