EXCLUSIVE: Monica Shah & Karishma Swali on how the pandemic affected their brand, latest collection & more

Updated on Oct 08, 2021 09:00 PM IST  |  45.3K
EXCLUSIVE: Monica Shah & Karishma Swali on how the pandemic affected their brand, latest collection & more
EXCLUSIVE: Monica Shah & Karishma Swali on how the pandemic affected their brand, latest collection & more

Fashion designers Monica Shah and Karishma Swali - of the label JADE - do not need an introduction, for they have spent almost a decade in the industry, having dressed the likes of Alia Bhatt, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kiara Advani, and others. They use innumerable Indian crafts and techniques to create every piece of their label. 

They keep it real, with uncompromised levels of perfection, using traditional fabrics and methods. Whipping them together to create pieces that speak to the discerning brides of today. The designer duo showcased their latest collection from their label, Bani Thani at the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week. Here they talk about the impact of social media on fashion, the pandemic, their latest collection, and a lot more! 


What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?

I do believe social media helps push awareness not only about fashion, but also the artisanal communities. The way information spreads on social media has made it possible for India’s artisanal legacy to gain global recognition and acknowledgement. 


Could you tell us a bit about your latest collection?

‘Bani Thani’ – Bridal Heirlooms is about diving inwards and fully, unconditionally embracing your true authentic self. To be Bani Thani means to acknowledge and indulge the divine beauty within you, for pure love and happiness. Using traditional techniques like Leheriya, this collection is an extension of a love affair with age-old wisdom and handicrafts with the modern-day, 21st-century bride. The collection represents that moment where time stops and all eyes are on the bride.




You relate a lot to old artisanal crafts, how was this affected in the pandemic?

Like everything else, the artisanal sector was affected too. However, our artisans are our top priority and we ensured they had all the support they needed to endure and sustain during these times. 


Congratulations on your flagship stores in Delhi and Los Angeles! How different are these 2 stores?

While both our stores are designed to offer the signature JADE luxury experience, they’re directed to different sets of audiences, in terms of location which plays a key role in selecting a bridal ensemble. Our Delhi store is likely to have more Indian-centric pieces, while the LA store will have pieces that are more modern and global. Having said that, all our garments are crafted with the same philosophy and carry the JADE DNA.

Your label has completed over 12 years in the fashion industry, how would you describe your growth and what are the significant changes that you have seen?

I think the brides today know what they want. They don’t just blindly follow trends or traditions. When we started 12 years ago, there was a demand for only a certain kind of ensemble – overtly traditional and heavy. And it was very deeply influenced by the magazines. Today, women are far more discerning. They want their bridal ensembles to tell their stories and help them feel empowered in their own skin rather than weighed down.


The pandemic was especially hard on the fashion industry and artisans. How did you do your bit with helping them out during these tough times?

We have been supporting our artisans since the beginning, and will continue to do so. With weddings back on the radar, we’re also back to crafting couture pieces. We also have The Chanakya School of Craft – our non-profit devoted to sustaining Indian arts and crafts while empowering women from underprivileged backgrounds to have viable careers. 


Which outfit of yours worn by a celebrity is your absolute favourite till date?

When Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wore an Ek Taar jacket during Katy Perry’s India tour. The look was so memorable, versatile and effortlessly balanced! 

What were your thoughts on JADE’s latest collection? Do let us know in the comments below. 


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