Known for her contemporary Indian clothing that’s found favour with the likes of Dia Mirza, Soha Ali Khan, Parineeti Chopra, Neha Dhupia, and Diana Penty, the 41-year-old fashion designer is a self-made success story. Here, she talks about her start in fashion, how female fashion designers have come of age, and what inspires her – along with what she loves to indulge in!
When and how did you start your fashion journey?
I grew up in a house ensconced in art, film and fashion, where my grandfather was a famous artist and film photographer and my parents were in the garment business. It was never forced upon me, but I was always inclined towards fashion [from a young age]. I launched my label in 1999 with a store in Altamount Road in Mumbai. The rest, as they say, is history. This year, we celebrate 20 years of Payal Singhal.
Was it difficult being a woman entrepreneur when you started out?
When I started out 20 years ago, there was a vacuum in the space for modern Indian clothes for the younger generation. The majority of the designers during that time were men; few female designers were successful, because in the ‘90s the entrepreneurship drive was still new in the country. Having said that, though, except for not being taken seriously because I was a bit too young, I never really faced any challenges as an entrepreneur because I was a woman. And even if I did, I didn’t bother about it.
Any advice you’d like to give budding female fashion designers?
Young designers today are in a hurry to make it big. Social media and our culture of instant gratification make it easier to launch yourself immediately. But I think it’s imperative to get the right work experience and training by working with a designer or production house. There are things you learn on the job that a school just can’t teach you. Twenty years in the industry has taught me that nothing is permanent, and you are only as good as your last collection. So, keep your head down and keep making fabulous clothes.
What’s next on your plate?
It’s an exciting year for our brand — since it’s our 20th anniversary, we have a lot of exciting little projects for the whole year. We are also revamping our online store for a more enhanced experience and will continue to work on our quarterly in-house magazine called PS Diary. We’re also launching our PS menswear, PS kidswear and prêt online and offline in a more structured way.
What inspires you?
Mughal art and cultural exchanges inspire me the most. There’s a revelation in every motif and technique that still continues to intrigue me. The history of international fashion and technological developments is interesting, and it is this East-meets-West confluence that fuels my desire to create.
Do you use Scootsy?
We use Scootsy almost every day! We order from China Garden, Lemon Leaf, Pack-A-Pav… I could go on and on! I think my favourite thing to order on Scootsy is the Chicken Seekh Pav from Pack a Pav – it’s quick, easy and a perfect in-between meal.