9 Inspirations for Budding Fashion Designers from Sabyasachi and His Work

Almost every bride has the dream to wear Sabyasachi’s outfit!

Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the man who started as a local fashion tag with a team of just three people in 1999, is now winning the hearts of people around the globe with his iconic Khadi, cotton, and silk handcrafted outfits.

Sabyasachi’s journey so far

SabyasachiBorn in a middle-class Bengali family, Sabyasachi was interested in handicrafts and craftsmanship right from his childhood. His inspiration was Rohit Khosla, a pioneer of the contemporary fashion industry in India.

He decided to go for NIFT exam and take fashion as his career. But his family didn’t have the resources for his further studies. He worked as a waiter in Goa, sold his books, and paid for studies.

He graduated from NIFT in 1999. After borrowing Rs. 20k from his sister, he started his own fashion store with three team members. For the next few years, he kept working on his designs, sometimes throughout the night.

In 2002, he made the debut at Indian Fashion Week, where the Women’s Wear Daily called him the future of Indian Fashion. This worked as an encouragement for Sabyasachi to keep on chasing his dreams.

In 2003, he debuted at the Mercedes Benz New Asia Fashion Week in Singapore, where he won the Grand Winner Award. This was just the beginning.

Sabyasachi kept progressing and participating in events related to his industry.

2006 turned out to be the defining point of his career, when he got a chance to showcase his collection (The Nair Sisters) at Oxford University’s annual black-tie charity dinner fashion show. His work caught the attention, and people around the world recognized him.

Then there was no stopping for him.

He went on to showcase his design and collections at the New York Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Bridal Asia, Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week, Miami Fashion Week, to name a few.

Virat and Anushka designed by Sabyasachi

Top inspirations from Sabyasachi and his work

1. Work for a cause

Although he is one of the most popular and successful fashion designers in India, he works for a cause as well. A few years back, he started working on an initiative called ‘Save the Saree’.

Under this initiative, he is working with local weavers of Murshidabad to weave Indian sarees with hand. These sarees are sold on a non-profit basis at prices starting at just Rs. 1,800.

Well-known Bollywood actresses including Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Vidya Balan, are supporting Sabyasachi’s Save the Saree initiative.

The aim of this initiative is to keep the art of weaving and India’s saree tradition alive despite the other fashion trends. This encourages the budding fashion designers in India to work not only for recognition and personal profits, but also for a cause.

save the saree initiative by Sabyasachi

2. Add a bit of local flavour to your designs

India is an art and craft country and its fashion will always remain craft-based. Sabyasachi believes that if you don’t add craft to your work, you will end up imitating other people and their work. Successful designers from all around the world cultivate the identity of their nation into their work.

neeta ambani in Sabyasachi outfit

Image source: Sabyasachi

In an interview with Border&Fall, Sabyasachi said “Whether it is film making, architecture, music or food, incorporating a little bit of local flavour in one’s roots is important for global growth. And that is why craft is going to be so important.”

3. Leave your ego at the door

The budding fashion designers who aspire to become a renowned one someday, must prepare themselves to work harder, without any break. In an interview, Sabyasachi said that fashion designers can’t afford to take breaks in the initial phase of their career.

Plus, the most important thing during the initial phase is to leave the ego at the door, be open to learning, accepting new challenges, and everything that comes along the way.

4. Keep traditional fashion alive

traditional fashion designs by SabyasachiSabyasachi defines his creations and collections as “an international styling with an Indian soul”. He keeps himself updated with the latest trends in the fashion industry, but always focuses on keeping the traditional fashion alive.

He chooses to use fabrics, textures, style fusions, and patch-work that are not very common. He mixes them with vibrant colours to add a bit of fashion that is related to ancient and medieval ages.

5. Dream higher, but be a realist

Of course, every fashion designer has his/her dreams which they want to fulfil someday. Sabyasachi says that every designer must go with his/her dreams, but they also need to be a realist. It’s because they will also have to sell their designs and work.

The results of chasing dreams can be wonderful, but the budding designers must keep themselves ready for trials and troubles.

6. Keep yourself up-to-date with latest trends in fashion

In the morning when Sabyasachi takes his tea, he reads the newspapers. The aim of his reading newspapers is to keep himself informed about the latest trends, and understand where the society is heading and what it is expecting.

7. See fashion as a piece of art rather than investment

piece of artImage source: Sabyasachi

In the jewellery market, jewellery is nowadays seen as an investment, instead of a piece of art. The jewellery designers look at it as a product and focus on creating mass products.

On the other hand, Sabyasachi works with karigars in India to implement the ancient principles of jewellery designing. He believes that craftsmanship might take time, but the outcomes are exceptional.

8. Don’t try to design like others

More people nowadays choose to wear western clothing and designs, which is driving the need for such fashion. Hence, designers in India nowadays are adopting western culture in their work. But Sabyasachi believes in being yourself. He says that when you are who you are, people will feel attracted to you. People around the world will like to talk to you because you are unique and not copying others.

For example, when women put on sarees or Indian textiles when they go abroad, the reaction they get from people there is, “That’s enthralling! Where did you get it from?”

Further, the budding designers are either taught or are in a false belief that the use of 4 different colours on a saree or any other clothing might not look good. However, Sabyasachi often tries it and make others believe that anything is achievable with the right vision and creativity.

unique designs by Sabyasachi
Image source: Sabyasachi

9. Don’t give up

Last, but not least, aspiring fashion designers should never give up when things become difficult.

There might be a phase where you might not sell a single design, or your designs will be trolled by critics, but that’s part of the way. Some of your designs might not please everyone, but others can help you achieve new heights in the fashion industry.


Wrapping up:

Sabyasachi Mukherjee is an inspiration for a massive number of fashion designers in India and around the world. If you are a budding designer, then you should learn from him and his work, and get the things going.

What do you like the most about his work? Let us know via the comments below.

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