"Fashion Is the Armor to Survive the Reality of Everyday Life." - Meenakshi Ajay

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1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I don't think i really wanted to be a fashion designer. I think the art chose me. I love challenges and I love to create. Since design is creativity with an added challenge problem solving twist, J found the perfect solution to be happy everyday. During my school days I wasn't aware of design colleges and I never knew there was a degree in fashion. Later on I started reading a lot about design and fashion field. And I finally  figured out top  fashion colleges like NIFT, NID, Pearl etc, and started preparing for the same after my 12th grade and i cracked the entrance exam for the same.

I did my graduation from National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore. Thereafter, I started my career working as a freelance designer and stylist- worked with several brands like Zara, Imara, Royal oak etc. I worked as print designer for Mysore silks for a while. Currently I work as Western women's wear deagner for MAX fashion, Landmark group. 

2. Fashion industry is often considered women centric and stereotypes men? What's your opinion?

I don't agree to this statement that that fashion industry is gender biased. From my exposure in this field I believe in that saying "fashion is for all".If you look into our India brands its easily recognizable that there is no inequality there. But fashion as a career, there are more female designers as compared to males. And there is no such stereotypes because it depends on one's passion or interest in  choosing a career. 

3. How can one become a successful fashion designer according to you?

Well, Harsha.. patience and passion are the key elements that have got me this far in this field.  For becoming a successful fashion designer I would recommend these elements; the two P's aforementioned for all. Also I'd say be in love with what you do.

4. What are some of the top colleges for studying fashion in India and the world?

I would go with NIFT, NID and Pearl on a National level.Fashion Institute of Technology, New York Parsons: Fashion, Art and Design School, New York; Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Philadelphia are the internationally recognised fashion schools.

5. Who is your favourite fashion designer and why?

Ritu Kumar anytime!!!

Ritu Kumar is the largest & most respected designer-wear brand in India today.  She has developed a unique style of her own, reflecting the ancient traditions of Indian craftsmanship in a contemporary vocabulary. This is what I adore about her and I hope I'll get to work with her someday #fingerscrossed.

6. Do you have any tips for people who want to join this field?

I'd say don't let the course be your entire life. It's hard work but don't forget to have fun.  Always love what you do. Also do learn to take criticism(s) and learn which criticism to take notice of.

7. Which is your favourite book and why?

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is an all time favourite of mine. This book revolves around the things which she discovered during her travels. Me being a travel enthusiast, love how she has portrayed each and every situation, places and her memories. A real treat !!!

- Meenakshi Ajay

Interviewed by- Harsha

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