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Fanciful fabricator: Felix Bendish Label: Felix Bendish Your material of the moment? Lots of fabric textures. How do you distinguish your pieces from other ‘embroidered’ jewellery? My love for fashion has resulted in an innate ability to predict seasonal trends, sourcing skilled staff and employing the finest quality craftsmanship. All that’s there in every piece. Current inspirations? The inner complexities of a human being.

Route: Expertise of couture embroideries and export experience led Bendish to extend his work into an accessories’ label. Collaborations with Indian and European design houses, customising pieces for projects and a stint of costume design for Bollywood are part of the label’s portfolio. Signature: Fabric textures and hand embroideries using thread and 3-d elements. Asian techniques mix with European costume features to create collar neckpieces, brooches, head-bands and shoulder ornaments.

Will you venture into other materials/ techniques in future? Yes, I want to explore various aspects of Indian art forms and textures, and create 100 percent hand-ornamented pieces. Fashion Weeks – Delhi or Mumbai? Both. If your product is good, then it doesn’t matter where. Past and current collaborations? Have worked with a lot of Japanese and American designers. At present I’m working with some European houses for couture embroideries. Jewellery/ accessory houses that you admire? Marni – young, fresh and very trendy. Your fashion soul-city? Paris – city of high fashion, experimentation, design innovation and superb creativity. Immediate plans? Locally speaking, the aim now is to enter the retail sector and stock at the larger departmental store chains across the country.

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Plan long-term? In the past few months, my designs have been very well

received by clients, the media and the fashion fraternity here. My goal is to take my brand to a larger international market and strive for bigger turnovers, hopefully. The scope for concept jewellery in India? Because of the growing earning and spending capacity of the Indian customer, demand is greater. Indians love to accessorise – be it with gold, diamonds or fashion jewellery. An Indian face for your brand could be… Sonam Kapoor.

wanderlust woman: Eina Ahluwalia Label: Breathing Space Route: With a marketing and design background and projects with the likes of Aigner, Nina Ricci, Porsche Design and more such names, Ahluwalia ventured into creating her own brand of jewellery. Over the last six years, the very niche label has built up a loyal client base in India, as well as retail points in 13 countries. The brand made its Indian runway debut at Lakmé Fashion Week, March 2010. Ahluwalia is now partnered by her sister, Atikaa, who handles business and marketing. Signature: Concept-based, each piece is a derivation from history, world culture and art genres – like Ottoman, Bauhaus or Post Modern – with a story to tell. Texturing and melding silver with a medley of materials is the brand’s strength. Organic to Zen, tribal to punk-Goth, the essence is ‘transformation’. Your material of the moment? Currently we are working on a felt-based collection. But silver is a material that remains a steady part of all our collections. Now that you’re all over the scene, how much breathing space are you getting? It’s a constant struggle not to react to the madness around in terms of all that needs to be done, but if we’re doing what we love, living what we feel, then we have our breathing space. The scope for concept jewellery in India… It will take some time to educate the Indian market about conceptual art jewellery, and create a context where our work is understood. We want to create an awareness here about looking at jewellery at an emotive level. And your concepts abroad? In Europe, our parallel area of focus outside India, concept jewellery is an established art form, where ornaments are evaluated, like fine art, for their ideas, inventions, intuitions and content. We’re looking at placing our work in a way that’s relevant. Tell us about your Amsterdam connections… I identify most with the Dutch conceptual jewellery style, which

is thought-driven and everything is minimal; nothing shouts. I love the way Gijs Bakker, Ruudt Peters and Ted Noten challenge luxury jewels, as though regular gold and diamonds are almost an intellectual offense! Hence Amsterdam is the first stop to taking our jewellery where it needs to go. More from Dutch-land? I’ll be attending pioneering Dutch conceptual jewellery artist Ruudt Peters’ workshop Move Now in Amsterdam, in August. I’m also really excited about us being selected for Sieraad, Art Fair in November this year, again in Amsterdam. It’s the first time that an Indian brand has been selected for this art jewellery show. Ongoing collaboration/s? Currently working with felt artist Beatrice Waanders on a series of jewellery called ‘How I Felt…’, using silver and stones with felt. How do you react to cheaper knock-offs in the market? Cheap knock-offs don’t bother us at all – they’re a sign of a successful collection. But when designers do the same (replicate), then we just ‘breathe in, breathe out’, and pray that God grants them with some more creativity.

How was your first runway show received? It got us a lot of visibility from buyers, individual clients, stores and press. We’ve also received a lot of interest from people who wish to represent us outside India. And now, we’re supplying to a lot more stores within the country. We hope to be able to keep creating… About your backpacking bug… It’s turning into a ‘suitcasing’ bug because I end up shopping! I travel because I must – it stretches my thoughts and ideas. It broadens my perspective on the human race and more importantly, on my own self. Sisters in business – how’s that working out? Atikaa left her job as a buyer in a multi-national house last year and joined me. The fact that we’re different in many ways, works well since we define our areas of operation. But our similarities help us understand each other without having to say much. That kind of trust and wordless synchronicity can only happen with siblings.

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