The Success and Styling behind Suman Nathwani
“Any woman who loves to sleep in her second skin, would wear Suman Nathwani.”
Suman Nathwani is a Lingerie, Sleepwear, Swim-wear and Resortwear desinger. She’s been in this industry for over 27 years now. A mother of two superbly talented children. Her husband, Dharmendra Nathvani runs his own lingerie Brand, La Lingerie. She resides out of Kolkata and all her products are manufactured at their factory in Kolkata. Her collection is uniquely handcrafted for luxury.
Designing, consultency, styling and providing comfort are her forte. She has been counseling women for the past 15 years on the right bras, their correct cup size, size changes during pregnancy, the importance of sports bras for sportswomen, adolescent girls etc. Suman Nathwani is no stranger to bedtime glamour; the brief and beautiful creations that are meant for bed and boudoir… are making a bold statement thanks to this modest designer
Whether intimate wear is a recipe for success behind closed doors or worn to evoke the feel-good factor, Suman Nathwani’s line offers a repertoire of seductive pieces. Suman works with the exquisite embroideries, fabrics and laces to create every woman’s irresistible dreams and fantasies come true.
Her forte is style and comfort which is the essential requirement for us practical Indian woman.
She says, “I really haven’t ever gotten any formal education in designing. Through trial and error I’ve learnt everything. Still keep on learning everyday. I love what I do. There is a lot of passion and dedication that goes into what I do. When I was 17 years old my cousin sister was getting married and she came to Kolkata for her wedding shopping. We were able to get whatever she wanted except of course some really good lingerie and sleepwear. My inspiration had always been Mills and Boons. Reading about negligees, babydoll sets and lacey lingerie always got my attention. Unable to find these in Kolkata back then, my sister asked me if I could make them for her. That’s when it just came to me and that’s how it started.”
What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer?
S: “It might sound a little cliché but creating and illustratring new collections have always been my favourite part about being a desinger. I also really love getting handmade laces made. An average work day usually consists of Designing, client appointments, counselling clients for the correct size of lingerie, planning and meetings. On an average 10-12 hours is a normal working day.”
What do you do in your non-work time?
S: “As such I do not have particular hobbies but like reading every now and then, listening to music and definetly visting places. When I am not working Im at yoga, cooking for my children and probably walking my 2 year old German Shepard.”
How did you select the materials you used?
S: “I always handpick the materials I use for my garments. Source them from Paris, Dubai, Hong-Kong and Sri Lanka. Picking materials on the basis of touch and feel is very vital for me.”
How do you advertise your products? Where are your boutiques located?
S: “We usually advertise by participating in Fashion Weeks. Solo fashion shows or Lakme Fashion Week where we debuted our Resortwear collection. Willslifestyle Fashion week which is now Amazon Fashion week where we only do exhibitions.
I have a flagship boutique located in Kolkata. ”
What hurdles did you encounter in claiming such a refined and clear position for your brand?
S: “To be honest I am still struggling. There isn’t much recognition still to a Lingerie Designer. Apart from that the unavailibility of fabrics, competition with MNC’s and customers not willing to pay the amount for handcrafted desinger lingerie’s and sleepwear.”
“Being loyal, patient and pasionate to your work, employees and customers defines a true entrepreneur. These qualities have helped me become a successful entepreneur.”
What has been your greatest achievements?
S: “Styling the likes of Amitach Bachan for the movie Last Lear, Shraddha Kapoor, John Abraham and Katrina Kaif walking the ramp for me and being a solo designer participating at Amazon Fashion week in the Lingerie Segment are a few things that I consider as an achievement for myself. Also the fact to support and help breast cancer patients and making mastectomy bras for them is sheer joy.”
What’s a quote you live by?
“Let go! Set yourself free!” – Master Minood
How do you generate new ideas?
S: “Fabrics and trims really motivate me. Just by looking at them I get a rush of ideas as to what type of nightwear or lingerie can be designed out of it. By looking at them I also get and idea as to what laces to be used and embroidery to be done. Hence it is right to say that fabrics and trims do motivate me. Also ofcourse there is a lot of reading and research that goes into generating new ideas.”
Do you have a specific research process when you start a new
S: “It has to be a through research of current market trends and a lot of surface development. Sampling is also very important. Finally the lining up of the handcrafted designs for production.”
“Work under some experienced designer before starting your own label.”- Suman Nathwani
How would you benchmark Indian fashion industry globally?
S: “Presently, there is tremendous change in our presence globally. We are visible to different set of eyes and are admired more than before.”
Who inspires you the most in fashion? Anyone who stands out?
S: “La Perla as a whole inspires me the most when it comes to fashion. Specially their hand stitched collection. I really think that when it comes to fashion, Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone really stand out.”
Do you feel there’s a significant interest for young designers at the moment?
S: “No, both young and old designers have their mark. Young are admired for their fresh minds and the old desingers are followed for their experience.”
Could you describe your collections. Tell us about your few favourite projects that you did?
S: “A few of my favourite projects would be The Last Lear, making lingerie for breast cancer patients and we recently had a Pajama Party at my boutique store where we called young women entreprenures from Kolkata for a fun filled evening.”
“Always fuses own sense of style with current trends. So that the signature essence of the brand stays intact.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
S: “Recently launched my Resort Wear Collection and Suman Nathwani Young. Hoping that these two projects flourish and get a recognition. In five years probably the taboo of showcasing Lingerie and Sleepwear at Fashion Weeks are removed and I get a proper platform to showcase my designs.”