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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sucheta & Vedika Merh Picture by Rashbehari Das

Did the mother influence the daughter’s career choice?

Sucheta: Not one bit. Though my career choice was definitely influenced by my mother who was into art and printing! I have been designing since Vedika was a little girl, my first consignment was shipped when she was around four. She used to doodle all the time, but I never actively encouraged her to take up fashion. I just let her be. And when she told me she wanted to join the industry, I was rather surprised — and pleasantly!

Vedika: I had never thought about fashion per se but I can’t deny that being around mamma and naani, somewhere the design exposure did help me make up my mind. But it was after school that I formally decided to take up fashion and decided to study the subject at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Singapore.

Sucheta: This is such a major different trend in today’s generation. They want to work after studying whereas we learnt while working. Vedika actually wanted to go to London to study, but we decided that she do the basic course in Singapore. She can always go to London to hone her skills later...

How do both your worlds of design meet?

Sucheta: Her work is completely different from mine. But I have one complaint — I could never get into her designs even if I wanted to!

Vedika: I can’t imagine my mom in my clothes! My label will not cater to my mother and her friends — all the aunties! It’s for people under 35. As for our worlds of design, we couldn’t be more different, like chalk and cheese. She does Indian, I stay away. Even her colours are different from mine. She does deeper tones. Her prints are floral and arty and mine are more geometric. So, I will need a different outlet eventually. I am thinking of an online store.

Sucheta: It is much tougher to make a mark these days. The advantage when I started way back in 1993 was that there were very few people in the trade. If your work was good, you would get noticed. People landed up at home to place orders!

Vedika: Well, now things are so different. You have to have a marketing strategy in place.

Vedika, do you think focusing on Western wear is going to be a plus or a minus?

Vedika: I don’t know about that yet, but I feel that the westernwear focus might limit my audience. There’s definitely a wider market for Indian clothes and I don’t even do Indo-westerns! Every time I try something loose or draped, it ends up looking like a kurta and goes away from my room into Mom’s!

Sucheta: It’s a complete black-and-white demarcation and in a way that’s good…. Let’s see how it goes. (Crosses fingers)

Shradha Agarwal