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Driven by design

I grew up in Calcutta and have very fond memories of the city. I had great fun during Durga Puja and loved the trips to New Market with my mother. I think Calcutta triggered my interest in fashion.

While studying commerce at St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta, I was completely taken up by fashion. And despite no formal training in fashion designing, I began to design outfits for my friends. After a brief stint in the world of advertising, I left for Arizona State University in the US to pursue a course in communications. Back in Calcutta in 1992

I took up a job but continued to design clothes on the side.

A significant turning point in my life came a few years later. In 1994, Damania Airways (it doesn’t exist now) instituted a design award across five metros and I won the Best Fashion Designer award along with designer Anamika Khanna.

Life took a 360 turn and I launched my signature brand, Aki,

in 1997. Soon I began receiving orders from multi-brand

designer stores.

Being invited by the Fashion Development Council of India (FDCI) to participate in the first India Fashion Week in 2000 was a big boost to my career. This runway exposure landed me my first Bollywood assignment — designing some of the costumes for Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding. I was then commissioned to

design some looks for Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai. Shaad Ali’s Bunty Aur Babli in 2004 was my big Bollywood break. I have styled for over 16 films to date and up next is Anurag Basu’s

Barfi for which I have designed an offbeat collection.

My newest assignment is a TV show, What Not To Wear India. I love the show since I get to give style tips to women.