Wholesome Fashion! - Reshma Merchant

Reshma Merchant, the co-founder of House of Milk, has been a trendsetter in all areas of lifestyle, fashion and design. With her business acumen and creative sensibility, she has set the bar high in the world of fashion with the unique concept of all-white collections and garments. Even before this idea made its mark among the fashionistas, their Healing Garments collection had revolutionised the way people perceived clothing. She talks with us about her work and more.

What prompted you to venture into fashion design?
When I graduated, a career in design wasn’t a viable option. So I took the corporate route and later ran my own successful consultancy. But once I got pregnant, I took a sabbatical and was ready for motherhood. I was balancing the two roles of mother and wife. When my daughter grew older I felt that I could do something I’ve always loved and wanted to do. And designing was right up my alley.

Tell us a bit about House of Milk and its aesthetics.
House of Milk is a responsible luxury lifestyle brand that imbibes holistic methods in creating fashion lines that pamperyour soul. They’re in all shades of white in rich fabrics. Its sophisticated silhouettes with varied patterns will leave you wanting more.

We have an additional line called Healing Garments, which is aimed at healing the wearer with the fabric that’s created, using ancient techniques of Ayurveda. We collaborate with experts of this practice to customise bolts of silk, linen and cotton spun with hand-picked natural ingredients derived from herbs, flowers, seeds, roots, leaves, pulp, fruits, and gums. The fabrics are processed without the use of toxins and are 100% chemical-free. The result is a collection of fabrics that is therapeutic to the mind, body and spirit. 

How do you go about your work while designing a particular collection?
Designing a collection comes with its challenges, especially if it’s creating collections of only white and adding the magic of Ayurveda to it. You’re straddling the two worlds of traditional artisans and their ways of working, where timelines, communication and quick couriers can be challenging. The other issue is the new age world, where the brand must be available in the palm of your hand while having a 360-degree existence. Also, it’s not easy to change perceptions; until now, wellness was about services and pharma, but with our Healing Garments line, we’re introducing a new category in wellness, which is fashion!

What are your future plans?
In a world of clever design and creativity, I’m blessed to be the creator for House of Milk, where miracles are happening at multiple levels and you help it multiply! It’s a fluid space with no boundaries, yet many wonderful things. We try to appeal to people with hearts as wide as the ocean and a well-travelled sense of style. I hope to create one collection a year to keep this brand alive and exclusive for our patrons.

What is a must-have accessory for wedding outfits?
Wear your personality! It’s the most distinct thing about you! For this season, add an interesting beaten metal belt, fringe metal bag, and mix up your old jewellery with strings of coloured stones.

And for party wear?
I love an androgynous, stylish piece thrown on to a classic look. You can add an interesting/‘bling’ blazer to your black-tie wedding, or a shorts and T-shirt look.        – as told to Sumana