Creative Nomad: In Conversation With Sanchita Ajjampur

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BEING SANCHITA… Free-spirited, nomadic, energetic, artistic.

EARLIEST FASHION MEMORY I grew up with a keen awareness of tactility and colours. I chose toys based on how it felt to touch them; likewise my clothes had to feel good against my skin. Today, this feel-good factor is one of the pillars of my brand. My mother’s wardrobe was an endless source of entertainment for my friends and I, filled with dazzling saris, boho chic ensembles à la Talitha Getty, eveningwear, and accessories galore!

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ANIMAL INSTINCT The foundation of my design is colour, print, and texture—this autumn, I wanted texture to be the star. On a neutral colour canvas, animal print became a common theme in various guises. I focused on leopard spots in 3D on tonal jacquard, crystal and stone embellishment, appliqué, and a morphed, printed version that hints at Ikat and abstract florals. I love experimenting with pattern and sizing—the result can be completely unexpected.

EXTRA ACCESSORIES There must be a synergy between clothing and accessories to retain the brand vision. To continue the animal print theme in my AW15 footwear, we created leather sandals embellished with Plexiglass and stones shaped like leopard spots, and printed lynx on calf hair to achieve a tactile effect that echoed the clothing.
I have a great set-up, with dedicated artisans and craftspersons, to manufacture all our clothing and accessories in-house. We constantly incorporate new elements and styles. For SS16 we added wedge heels and flatforms, a first for us!

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BEST OF FASHION The people you work with! I’m lucky to have worked with some of the industry’s biggest names, including Issey Miyake and Romeo Gigli from whom I learnt an awful lot early in my career. For nearly 10 years, I had the pleasure of collaborating with Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, which has been an incredible journey.  I enjoy being surrounded by passionate, like-minded spirits—there’s nothing better than bouncing ideas off each other and seeing where the creative process leads.

PERSONAL STYLE I am not typically girly and often ‘borrow’ items from the men’s wardrobe—it’s also evident in my work. My style is eclectic with a smattering of sporty and androgynous elements. Fashion nowadays is less gender-specific and stereotypical, an aesthetic that particularly appeals to me.
I often mix designer pieces with one-off vintage finds picked on travels. When in Paris, I stop by Didier Ludot, a vintage dealer, from where I never seem to leave empty-handed. For designer collections, I head to Comme des Garcons, Prada, Lanvin, Dries van Noten, Martin Margiela, and AG jeans.

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PAINTERLY SS16 Art is a constant inspiration, I suppose, harking back to my upbringing in Europe. I spent years in Vienna, Milan, and Paris admiring masterpieces from every era and artist in world-class museums. One of the starting points for my SS16 collection was linear shapes and cubist elements—think Picasso, Modrian, and Braque. Hand-painted prints were reworked into micro and macro-sized patterns and transferred onto fabrics. I chose monochrome and neutral bases on which Mayan and African sculptural motifs offered a burst of colour.

LOOKING FORWARD Recent months have been rather hectic with our SS16 show and travel. We now have distribution in London, Milan, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, and Tokyo with some of the world’s most prestigious stores stocking my designs, including Harvey Nichols and Fenwick’s in London, and Saks Fifth Avenue Dubai and Bahrain. Having spent so long on the road, I look forward to a peaceful fortnight over Christmas and New Year with my mother and daughters on a Thai island.l 

Images: Sanchita Ajjampur

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