My first meeting with this multi-talented artist and entrepreneur was at Bangalore fashion week 2009. Eight years later with many enviable feathers in her pretty hat, this chubby, bubbly and talented designer who owns the Kolkata-based label XnY Chromosome India, shares her experience and all things fashion.
The brand -XnY Chromosome India
The idea birthed itself when Devipriya proud plus size herself would shop for clothes while travelling abroad. Back in the homeland however, it was a source of frustration. After completing her studies in marketing and brand promotion from UK, she took matter into her own hands and started her own label.
The brand embodies the ethos of instilling body confidence and customizing designs according to the customer’s body type.
Started in 2009 as a specialty serving line, the brand came up with a few categories- Plus size bridal blouses, lehengas and western gowns. The groom’s wear is their latest addition.
Expansion- Bridal and customized blouses
The staple saree wearers in Kolkata started pouring in numbers at the store, requesting blouses specific to their tastes and sizes. From small to big bosomed, anyone with a benarasi, baluchuri to a designer label knew they had found their solace in XnY Chromosome. So did the brides and grooms. The supply and demand led to an uninhibited and consistent clientele.
The blouses have gone virtual retailing on Flipkart, Amazon, Shopclues, Snapdeal and Ethnic roots.
Clientele – Challenging and Gratifying
Devipriya gets excited when she talks about her clients- “I have clients ranging from the age of 16 to as far as 82! The enormity of it humbles me.”
She puts them in a clean listing. Working women, business owners and housewives tops her list. The sweet sixteen birthday delights to school proms are her favourites. Mothers and grandmothers of the bride are the tough ones. A recent addition to her offerings is grooms and plus-size ethnic wear for kids.
She describes her challenges as a matter of fact-“I have to be very careful in my interaction with my clients. There are those who are style conscious and body aware. We go directly into a sit-down about the occasion and style of the garment. Then there are those who carry a picture of a Kareena kapoor airport look or a Deepika Padukone brunch look and want to look exactly the same! I go into my diplomat avatar and gently guide them towards silhouettes that work best for their body type and personality. It’s an intense but immensely satisfying experience.”
The brand has taken a step further tapping into the international market. When they are not designing dream blouses and custom-made ensembles for their ‘desi’ clientele, they are busy creating bridal gowns for Israeli clients and producing tweed skirts for a well known UK brand.
Market changes and social media impact
Devipriya emphasises on the importance and impact of social-media awareness on both side of the market-“The virtual platform has subtly but surely paved way to changing of mindsets by bridging the communication gap and increasing the global awareness. I see the intellectual hub of the country, Kolkata, dressing up! Yes, they did before, this time around though it’s with an understanding of the power of personal appearance. Also with individual-identity doing the rounds, it had become more about making a statement.”
She also mentions whether you have an online store or not, it’s become a mandatory language and medium for promotion-“Either you are there or nowhere”.
Quickies with Devipriya Guha
Travel and Reading.
Queen Latifah for her super swag and her body confidence.
Priyanka Chopra for showing off her legs and her hairdos
XnY Chromosomes, Louis Vuitton and Unicloi, a Japanese brand for their colour and soft fabrics, the traditional weave in sarees; customise my indo-westerns and junk jewellery from Thailand. I buy shoes for Aldo because they have my size.
When not working:
Our family is a part of many humanitarian projects. One of the recent ones is adopting a rural village in West Bengal, where we are teaching women to have a sustainable living. There is also an aspect of educating them on sanitisation. We have also started a school till standard 10th.
I am currently on a UN project in Vietnam, teaching a tribal group.
Comfort and more comfort. I love dressing up for occasions. Otherwise it’s a pair of denim and tee!
Take on the new-age indie brands:
Love them! It’s a welcome relief to see independent labels crop up everywhere. It’s as if everyone wants to celebrate personal style. The labels are inspiring and pushing the retail brands to alter their brand image.
What’s in your closet?
I own a saree from every part of the country, and of course my blouses to go with them. I think it can be worn for any occasion- a casual get together to big weddings.
Lots of tees. I am a shoe-addict. I have every style of footwear. I also indulge in my junk jewellery and have a separate closet for that!
Three things I don’t leave home without
Watch, my cell phone and co-ordinated bags and shoes.
One style tip
Be ‘comfortable’ in your own skin and always dress according to your body shape.
Describe XnY in one line:
That would be our tag line- “More curves to love.”You have it, you flaunt it!
139B Rashbehari Avenue
Call 9830243337 / 03340646267
Images courtesy Devipriya Guha