Winner of the Grazia Young designer 2016 award and the most talked about designer in The Gen Next category at The Lakme Fashion Week, Sohaya Misra’s passion for fashion is contagious, abundantly evident in her label Chola.
Her line is all about cutting edge, easy silhouettes that can be styled in innumerable ways, classics that would remain in your wardrobe forever. I love the twist in every ensemble, be it in the fall of the garment, a detail or the way it’s cut.
Sohaya talks to us about stretching one’s imagination, styling bollywood celebrities, working with Channel V, launching a kids wear label and eventually launching her own clothing line Chola, making sure her world in fashion has been one roller coaster ride.
Your childhood dream…
Being an only child I spent a lot of time with my socially active and musically inclinedparents. Growing up as a single child I learnt to keep myself entertained, stretching my brain to be as imaginative as possible. Hence I grew in an enviornment that encouraged creativity and individuality. I wanted to achieve different things everyday.
My designs come from my state of mind and my heart . I love to travel. Places, people and quaint spaces are a big source of inspiration. I follow no rules or trends. The creative process is so satisfying with an aura of suspense. There is a a lot of trial and error and experimenting with random thoughts that might translate into something meaningful or have to be instantly trashed. And then it’s back to the drawing board.
I’ve been styling for the last 18 years now and have always loved experimenting with everything under the sun. I started with styling Manisha Koirala in bollywood films like Mann and Champion but it was my work with channel V really made me see the levels in which one could stretch their creativity if given the leeway, epecially since back then search engines like google and pinterest were things of science fiction. I had to come up with out of the box ideas that were exciting and relevant to the bigger picture. That’s when I knew I had found my calling.
This adventure led me to the world of advertising where working with some of the best production houses in the country for the last 18 years developed my taste for experimental and unusual styles. However, I also put emphasis on clothes that are wearable and comfortable.
I graduated in psychology but design has always been by true passion. I started a kids line with my sister called “Baccha(kids) party” which was great fun because kids are so much more sartorially adventurous than adults.
I have also been styling Neha Dhupia for the past 7 years, who has gone on to become a Bollywood fashion icon and as for me, helped me to keep up with the ever changing world of fashion and shape my own journey forward.
Where does your label get it’s name Chola from?
Chola is a nick name I gave myself when I just started talking and couldn’t pronounce my real name – Sohaya. It’s a name I have now grown up and come to be identified with.
The evolution of Chola. How did it come into being?
My label was born out of a little experiment I did 7 months ago where I walked into a fabric shop and I felt I was in a treasure trove, and before you know it i had walked out with a truck load of fabrics. I set up a little workshop and had my first exhibition at the vintage garden in Mumbai and since then CHOLA the label has just taken a life of it’s own and I am trying to keep up with the pace. I was accepted into the Lakme Gen Next programme for the summer resort 2016 fashion week where my work was given super reviews and I went on to win the Grazia young designer 2016 award in the label alert category.
What is your line for Lakme Fashion Week called?
I’ts called the Pyjama Tribe.
How does the stylist in you influence your design process?
I consider my clothes as my art and putting myself out there. I like working with simple, raw and comfortable fabrics. I want to cross barriers and have a large spectrum of people no matter what their size, age or gender to be comfortable and look great in my clothes and I have achieved that to a large extent.
As cliched as it sounds less is more, is the mantra I live and love by. Clean lines with a lot of detailing and a little edge and hopefully something that can be worn a hundred different ways to look completely different. I guess that’s where the stylist in me influences my design process.
Your aspirations as a designer…
I have just been taking it one step at a time and will continue to do so. It’s been an organic growth process and I want it to continue that way. But having said that, I am working very hard and giving it all I’ve got.
The tribe you design for…
My tribe is always on the lookout for a new experience as a way to get their hearts racing and to feed their souls. The tribe shows a great tendency to seek out adventure, new sights and sounds, and on occasions, even danger. The people seem to be fearless, occasionally even reckless but, are kind and charming and most essentially they are ageless.
Where does your inspiration stem from?
Like I said before my designs are an expression of me. My clothes are easy, comfortable but at the same time they do make a statement and are fashion forward. I am inspired by Japanese designers where the fabric, fold and cuts add another dimension to the wearer and it make the look more interesting.
Your style icon …
Madonna. She expresses herself beautifully and is always evolving.
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