Two Halves and One Whole: Our Favorite Women’s Fashion Partnerships

Sisters, sisters-in-law or strangers on the Internet, partnerships in fashion are born of places expected or not. We chat with the co-founders of four female-led companies who are awesome halves who make exceptional sets

Shivangini Padhiyar and Rekha Datla

Shivangini Padhiyar and Rekha Datla
Co-founders of The Summer House

Our journey together has been written in the stars,” quips Shivangini Padhiyar. Forget finding love on the internet, she met her partner Rekha Datla on the web when the latter sought her out and approached her for a design project. “During a very random conversation, we talked about working together and, next thing you know, The Summer House has become an e-commerce fashion brand.” Known for its clean silhouettes, sophisticated color palette, ease of wear and sustainable approach to fashion, The Summer House is a repository of conscious feminine styles handcrafted by artisans from vulnerable artisan communities. “Initially, we did everything together; then, over time, we found our individual strengths and focused on that part of the business,” says Rekha, who navigates the tricky minefield of the business side of things with her people skills and his troubleshooting abilities, while Shivangini brings his decade-long creative brand building experience to the table. “I manage everything behind the scenes and Shivangini oversees everything related to clients,” says Rekha. For them, sharing the same value system goal – the well-being of those who create the brand’s apparel – and minimizing fashion’s impact on our already strained ecosystem trumps other tangible business metrics.

Saaksha Bhat & Kinnari (Kinni) Kamat

Saaksha Bhat & Kinnari (Kinni) Kamat
Co-founders of Saaksha & Kinni

Since its debut in 2016 during Lakmé Fashion Week, Saaksha & Kinni has become the destination brand for luxury-bohemian fashion conscious. Having created embroidery designs for fashion houses such as Balmain, Armani and Elie Saab, Saaksha Bhat and Kinnari Kamat’s own garments stand out as a unique juxtaposition of contemporary silhouettes with Indian fabrics, weaves, prints and traditional craft techniques. It was Kinnari’s father who suggested that the two, who are also sisters-in-law, unite their passion for fashion and start a brand. “Kinni is very disciplined and methodical, and I’m spontaneous and vocal,” Saaksha says, adding, “I feel like we bring out the best in each other and also compensate for each other’s weaknesses.” When they’re not thinking about new collections, they manage different aspects of the brand and rarely interfere in each other’s work. “I take care of the production and the rest is taken care of by Saaksha,” reveals Kinnari. Although they admit they are on opposite sides of the personality spectrum, the two have their goals aligned when it comes to etiquette. The fact that they are family only makes the process even better. “What’s better than sharing your ups and downs with someone you call family?” Kinnari asks, and Saaksha can’t help but agree.

Sasha and Kaabia Grewal

Sasha and Kaabia Grewal
Outhouse Co-Founders

When it comes to jewelry, most see little beyond diamonds, pearls and gemstones. Given our cultural conditioning, they’re often seen as more of an investment than an accessory, and it’s hard to find designs that are both everyday and starkly distinct from the overwhelming bridal jewelry industry. Or, at least, that was until Outhouse – created in 2012 by sisters Sasha and Kaabia Grewal – cut through the noise with its whimsical designs. The ubiquitous hardware has been metamorphosed into pendants and earrings; simple flowers have been mechanized and placed on chunky cuffs, and pearls and beads have undergone a grunge metamorphosis to become embellishments in cozy chokers – such is the sisters’ maverick approach to accessories. “We accompanied our mother on her jewelry shopping and tried on every piece in the store,” Kaabia recalls, thanking their mother for passing on her love for jewelry to them. After studying jewelry design and making at the Indian Institute of Gems & Jewellery, the next step was to start Outhouse. Today, Sasha oversees the creative and production side of the business while Kaabia is responsible for marketing, development and brand expansion. By fusing their aesthetics – Kaabia’s is eccentric and edgy, and Saasha’s dramatic yet elegant – they create designs that redefine fashion jewelry. When it comes to the partnership, Saasha is in no doubt that they are the ‘dream team’.

Gauri and Nainika Karan

Gauri and Nainika Karan
Co-founders of Gauri & Nainika

Sisters Gauri and Nainika Karan launched their namesake label in 2002 when they were just 23 and 22 out of sheer necessity. “We couldn’t get good western clothes in India at the time, so we started making these corsets that we would wear with long skirts, inspired by the glamor of old Hollywood movies that we grew up watching,” says Nainika. The NIFT, Delhi graduates were motivated to start their label by their father, who thought it was the best career choice for the two who were clearly obsessed with fashion. In India, where lehengas and saris dominate designer wear, Gauri and Nainika created a market for timeless, timeless feminine dresses, dresses and skirts. The dress-wearing trend first spread to Bollywood and then to wedding wear after Bipasha Basu and Aishwarya Rai wore the duo’s designs to international award shows. “We never sought to change the way people dress,” says Nainika. “We didn’t really think about it. We were so young when we started that we were just having fun. Nainika for breaking the barrier when it comes to fashion. They admit to never having creative differences and having the same design sensibilities. “Nainika is an artist; she’s brilliant at drawing and brings everything she draws to life” Gauri explains, “Her understanding of garment construction and draping is impeccable. If I visualize a design, she will know exactly how to do it. She understands the female form and how to work around a figure to make it flattering on the body.” body.”We love what we do and we have fun doing it together,” Nainika enthuses.One look at their clothes and you know it’s true.

Also read: Perfect match: Monica Shah and Karishma Swali

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