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Design diaries

I spent my childhood in many parts of the country and studied in as many as 10 schools as my father was in the army and we moved frequently. I enjoyed my nomadic childhood. My interest in textiles and designing grew when I was in my teens and I would work on entire collections for my friends — though not professionally.

After completing a post-graduate certificate course in general management from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, I eventually settled in Delhi.

Designing comes to me as naturally as breathing. But, I took off professionally only after the birth of my second child. I launched my label, Anupamaa, in 2004.

My business took a turn for the better when I sent my creations — a collection of 12 kurtas — to Mumbai’s Melange fashion store. Sangita Kathiwada of Melange called to compliment me on my work and told me that my kurtas had sold out. Hugely encouraged I started retailing in Delhi’s Ensemble where my line was very well received. There has been no looking back since and today my label is available in over 20 countries.

Meeting Danielle Almeida Araujo, one of our European buyers, marked a turning point in my career. She was our first buyer and is now a very close friend. The experience of taking a product — from start to finish — with her was a great learning experience.

Right now I’m busy with my first store that was inaugurated on August 1.

It’s been a good season. I’m back from Paris and will return to Paris in October for Tranoi, an upscale fashion event. Next month I’ll be going to New York for a trade show and to meet buyers there. October will see me at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week that is important for me — both for the show and the business.

(As told to Lubna Salim)