If you’re as keen as we are about Sachin & Babi Ahluwalia then we’re pleased to meet you! One of our hottest finds at NYFW a few seasons ago, the duo have gone from strength to strength and it has been a pleasure to watch. The Indian-born husband and wife duo have taken the world by storm with their unique take on evening wear. A favorite of Taylor Swift, Vanessa Hudgens, and Helen Mirren, CIIN’s got the deets on this hot brand from the designers themselves…enjoy!
1 || Can you tell us a little about how you two met in college?
We met during the first semester in college at FIT, in the fall of 1994. I was Sachin’s fit model, back in the days when I was a size 2! We started off as good friends and then the relationship blossomed.
2 || Being from a place highly immersed in culture and history, how were you able to integrate that legacy into New York’s fashion scene?
You know honestly I didn’t think about it, I came from a culture that was very diverse, rich in color, texture and history, but then you look at American culture you see what’s appreciated here and you kind of evolve as a human being. It’s an organic process, as a creative you evolve and adapt to a new environment almost subconsciously. I took traditional Indian techniques and applied them to a western palette. I enjoy dressing up, be it a cocktail dress or a gown and Sachin and I realized that is where our strengths lie. Bold color and rich texture is instilled in us and always will be subconsciously applied to everything we do.
3 || Some say it was Oscar de la Renta that gave you your big break; can you tell us about that period?
Oscar was my first mentor, I owe a lot to him. He changed a big part of our lives and we did the same for him. He was going through a metamorphosis in his own career and he met two young creatives who could provide a different perspective and rich textural embroideries while still sharing a similar taste palette.
4 || Can you tell us a little bit about your early life back in India?
I come from simple humble beginnings, my mother was a kids-wear designer. We had a good life, my mother had a beautiful boutique and a pretty robust wholesale business, isn’t it strange that I’m doing that now? I was always surrounded by fashionable women with amazing style- my mother and my aunts. The turning point for me, when I began to take fashion more seriously was when I worked with a local designer ‘Rohit Khosla’ he was considered the Alexander Mc Queen of India. I was his apprentice at the tender age of 20, he had just graduated from Central Saint Martins in London. He had a love for Indian textiles, hand block printing and silks but he had a western flare and a western palette similar to myself. I worked very closely with him, so really I had a unique birds eye view of this beautiful chaos and I embraced it. I then applied to school here in New York in 1994.
5 || What do you think sets your label apart from the other brands on the market?
My own point of view, its highly unique. We really look at our woman, how is she going to wear this. Every piece is one of a kind piece and tailor-made in Mumbai.
6 || You design for the strong, successful, inspiring woman, tell us who inspires Sachin & Babi?
Today’s modern woman, she’s busy- married or not. She’s tackling her day-to-day life, and her philanthropic life. Today’s modern gal who enjoys fashion, they are not afraid to explore and have fun with it. They take these high fashion pieces and turn fashion on its head. The more diversity in fashion the better, I love dressing women of every creed, color and size. Women who own their body and own their style. The more diverse the group, the more fun.
7 || Tell us about your decision to cast Maye Musk in your Fall 18 collection?
She’s fearless, she’s ever evolving, she’s changing the face of fashion in a very interesting way. We adore Maye!
8 || Do you have any plans to expand on daywear collections?
Not day-wear as such but we are adding really fun, chic separates that you can dress up or down.
9 || Are you able to leave the job behind when you go home at the end of a working day?
This is the bane of my existence, yes and no- it’s hard.
10 || A typical question, but where do you see your label in five years?
I see my label getting stronger and stronger, moving a little more in the direction of direct-to-consumer. We can’t abandon wholesale but we are going to try and introduce a little more balance. E-commerce is becoming a huge focus for us. Pop-ups and other interesting collaborations are in the works for us also. We are also putting a lot of energy into our earrings and accessories.
11 || How does the Middle Eastern market play into your label and designs?
OMG they love us, it is such a sweet love story. The Middle Eastern woman is similar to me in the way that we love color, we love texture. We are exposed to western high fashion but still have a flare for traditional bold colors and textures. I was in Dubai a month ago and the women are drawn to us and our brand really resonates with them and their life.