Subhendu Maity, in conversation with Gyanika Thakkar, the face behind Gyanika Thakkar fashion boutique in Navi Mumbai.

(1) Could you tell us a little about yourself and what got you to becoming a designer?

Born at Nagpur, I have completed my graduation from Kaushalya Devi Maheshwari Mahavidyalaya. As a student, my inclination has always been towards fashion designing as compared to academics. My undying love for fashion has encouraged me to complete my Fashion Designing from Cadence Academy – IGNOU (Indira Gandhi University) successfully as a second topper.  I can recall those days when I found myself torn between getting into the family business, casting my passion for design aside for good. I was told by my family that if I didn’t make it with flying colours through graduation, I would have to join the family business.
For one last time I gave it my all! As soon as my grades were out, I was elated, and I found myself packing my bags and making my way to Navi Mumbai. I later signed up at the NIFT academy in Kharghar. I completed my 4 years Diploma in Fashion Fit & Style and joined as an intern at Seawoods, Navi Mumbai. After that there was no looking back. With my mom’s everlasting support I was able to able to set up my boutique that runs by the name of Gyanika Thakkar. 

(2) Considering you are primarily into wedding wear and Indian formals, how has the pandemic steered your ideas? How have the present happenings changed the way people view weddings today? 

The pandemic has severely curtailed the business. People are barely going out now. My clientele has gone down, but I don’t shy from taking orders and delivering the same. My clients are happy with my deliverance, and quality certainly takes precedence over quantity at Gyanika Thakkar.

India is better known for its elaborate weddings. This season weddings are at its all-time low, but yet there is a demand for bridal wear. The demands for bridal wear aren’t down and seemed to have hit the plateau phase. 

(3) Who inspired me to become a designer? 

Even this day and in the years to follow, I seek inspiration from my mother, Mrs. Rekha Thakkar (daughter of Pradyuman Mashru from Hyderabad). Her undying belief in my talent has motivated me to become a Fashion Designer. Right from raising me to become a grown independent woman to helping me start my boutique, my mom has been my backbone. She has played an important part at helping me create the right ambiance at the boutique and has also been exceptionally supportive with my work. I’m very glad that I was the one chosen by destiny to fulfil my mother’s dream.

Gyanika Thakkar, ( Mother) Rekha Thakkar and ( Father) Rajesh Thakkar

I would also like to add that thankfully I come from a progressive background, unlike my mother, who received little support from her family to fulfil her dreams.

(4) You have mentioned Sruti Mashru as your Personality Developer. Can you Elaborate?

Yes, Sruti Mashru, she’s an International Personality Developer.  I would like to extend my heart-warming acknowledgements to her who has encouraged me throughout my career. She has taught me how to make the best of waste.  From the scratch how to develop a brand and she’s the one who developed my personality. Just because of her today I am a successful achiever.

Sruti Mashru ; International Personality Developer

She has hone my skills and motivated them to rise to position constantly focused on my talent and developed them to be functional to meet the current market strategy, making a difference and acting as a drive force to my efforts to achieve my goal.

(5) Could you enlist some of your achievements as a designer?

  • Participated in FCL Fashion Show, Nagpur 
  • I’ve also participated at the Chandigarh Fashion Show, were i bagged the award in the, ‘Best Women’s Wear’ category.  
  • 2017 – I’ve received an Award in the ‘Emerging Fashion Wear’ category from Rohit Verma, at the Banglore Fashion Show
  • 2018 – Tricity Fashion Week for Best Women’s Wear Collection of the day Award at Chandigarh
  • 2019 – I’ve received an award from the Bollywood fashionista, Raveena Tandon, at the Delhi Fashion Show, for showcasing the best ‘Ethno Bridal Wear Collection’ 
  • 2020 – Battle of Beauty Wizard for Bridal and Jewellery Wear

(6) As a Designer or a creator you have been through your lowest ebb to make your mark in the Industry! Could you throw some light on the same? ( this could mean anything from creative blocks to heartbreaks to a certain roadblock that you have overcome to make it to where you are at today ) 

It’s been five years since I’ve been part of this industry. I cannot thank BNI enough to give me the platform and the impetus to grow. Over the years I’ve experienced a bumpy ride with few customers, who in turn taught me a lesson on how to run my business successfully enough. In my journey I’ve also learnt that it is not only essential to look forward, but also rightful to take a look back in time, to learn from your mistakes. The industry isn’t so kind to newcomers, if they’re not grounded. I’ve also learn that quality is the mainstay, and one has to change and adapt with times. Considering we are nearing the third wave of the pandemic, the virtue of adapting becomes just as important.

(7) Your most defining moment as a designer?

As a designer my most defining moment was, when Gyanika Thakkar was making a whopping turnover of 1.35 crores. BNI as a business networking platform has given me a tremendous platform at expanding my business. The platform has given me enough recognition. Soon after, I’ve joined hands with some prominent celebrities like, Aarti Joshi a serial actress and Pooja Shetty. I’ve also earned recognition from INFD (International Institute of Fashion Design) as a designer.

(8) Gyanika 5 years hence….. where do you picture yourself at! 

As I designer, I’d like to venture into kids wear. This aspect of fashion has a lot of potential. Considering we are in times where both parents are working, they usually have the kind of income to spend for their kids. They also like to see their kids wearing brands and designer clothes.

I’m also looking forward developing a line of lingerie, by the brand name ‘Love Bolic’. After being part of the industry I’ve come to realize that women need to be one with them. A woman exuberates confidence by wearing the right kind of inner-wear. Designing the right kind coupled with the correct fit to suit the Indian body type for starters, will prove to be challenging, but I’m happy to take up the same.

(9) What are the current and ongoing fabric trends? 

Cotton wear this never goes out of fashion. Ikkat makes for a timeless print, Kalankari and Linen Fabric will also never go out of fashion.

(10) What is the flavour of the season? 

Considering it is the summer season, mulmul and kalamkari cotton printed collections will never go out of fashion.