Interviews by Akanksha Pandey. Photographs by Asad Sheikh. Styled by Sarah Rajkotwala.
Arshna Raj of Stoïque
Model: Shambhavi Dubey
Why “Stoïque” and what is your design philosophy?
Stoicism as a philosophy is centred around being unaffected, by emotions, possessions or stature. My clothing is a direct extension of my ideologies, which falls in line with the stoicism philosophy. With the brand name we are trying to convey the serenity that comes with being stoic. We create fuss-free clothing in which the wearer can feel relaxed and comfortable without compromising on luxury. We believe design should be simple and practical, and at the same time make you feel beautiful. We create silhouettes that are classic and minimalistic. Versatility and life of a garment are kept in mind while making any piece. We want the wearer to cherish the clothing for years to come.
How have you aimed to bring emotion, sensuality and versatility to minimalism which in your own words “is often perceived as cold and boring”?
Our clothing is designed for modern women who are self-assured, have a sense of style, and can make our clothes their own. For us, emotion lies at the basis of everything we do. Everything is derived from emotion. In particular, that of kindness. We choose our silhouettes and cuts with the objective of empowering women to own their bodies and wear what truly makes them feel good, and there is nothing more sensuous than that.
Tell us what stands out in this collection and why?
This line falls somewhere between dressy and casual, and that sweet spot is what we aimed for. It’s about the confidence the clothes give the wearer without taking away from their personalities. The clothes let you be who you are, and that’s the thing that stands out the most.
Do you have a particular direction in mind for your brand?
I believe we are trying to find our own genre. We want to be bold, experimental, versatile, and, most importantly, accessible. We are trying to create our own space in the market and within people’s lives and offer a very personal, heartfelt product that is inclusive, authentic and kind.
How has a degree in marketing contributed toward the making of your brand? Do you feel you have an advantage over others?
I think all five of us come with our own strengths. Studying business and marketing for three years definitely influences the way you think and, as a creative person trying to juggle design and business, that really helps a lot. There needs to be synergy between your craft and practicality, and I find immense joy in balancing both. My degree does help me a lot with accounts as well.
You lay stress on “Functional. Considered. Trans-seasonal. Clothing made with attention and intention”. What is your primary intention with this collection?
Functionality stands at the core of our brand. The clothing we make should stay with the wearer for many years to come and be worn trans-seasonally in multiple ways. We don’t believe in fashion and we want our clothing to signify the fact that it is supposed to be worn multiple times. That’s the intention that we talk about. Every piece of clothing has a reason for being there, which is why we produce fewer pieces in our collection. A lot of thought goes behind each garment. We think about who can wear this and why, and most importantly, where.
Why have you named this collection “Rising”?
Emotion and psychology are what inspire me to make clothing. I feel a lot and this creative expression is an outlet for me. The first collection we launched, which was Genesis, spoke a lot about roots and the quest of finding your own space. The current collection, Rising, is an extension and continuation of that. I am evolving and Stoïque is evolving with me. We are going places and growing each day. But we have just begun and have a long way to go. I believe, as humans, we must always strive to be better and push our boundaries.
How do you see Indian fashion evolving in the future? Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
The future of fashion is tied with inclusivity and authenticity. A world of kinder and loving beings. People form the core of Stoïque. I hope to see Stoïque touch many more lives, in terms of artisans and wearers.