Behind The Brand: The Creative Genius Of Sonam And Paras Modi

Upholding the values of sustainability, reviving ancient Indian crafts, and making indigenous textiles relevant to today’s well-travelled and evolved style cognoscenti, SVA has been a beacon of mindful luxury with a strong conscience. The designers Sonam and Paras Modi share insights into their vision.

By Nichola Marie

SVA’s Summer ‘24 collection, Samsara, draws inspiration from the Pali and Sanskrit word meaning “wandering”. Tell us how this concept is reflected in the designs.

The wanderer, or the wandering person, is the inspiration for our tribal-inspired collection which has a strong boho aesthetic. Comfortable, breathable separates and sets in vibrant prints bring the collection to life. Samsara is a mix of the tribal boho aesthetic, hence the name. 

Sonam And Paras Modi

How would you say you have defined and redefined the Indian modern aesthetic in fashion design?

We love playing around with classic Indian silhouettes and adding layers and drapes to make them contemporary.  Our bold prints and bohemian aesthetic are what the modern Indian girl is attracted to. For saris, we have these fun pre-stitched high-low cascading fall saris, structured capes and trenches teamed with saris, dhoti skirts teamed with cape tops etc.

Known to blend ‘mindful luxury with a strong conscience’, what is the role played by ancient Indian crafts and sustainability in your creations?

Sonam And Paras Modi

We use a lot of old embellishing techniques, with a mix of metal accents and doris. Our skilled artisans use age-old techniques of knots, zardozi and pita work. As a brand deeply rooted in sustainable values and a circular economy, SVA has always believed in zero wastage, recycling and upcycling by intelligently using leftovers in trims and handmade potlis.

Do give us an insight into how the atelier’s craftsmen are empowered. 

Sonam And Paras Modi

Creating a healthy ecosystem with an unquestioning allegiance to its artisans and workers, SVA has ensured that its beating heart – the atelier’s craftsmen – are empowered and their creativity is valued by nurturing their talent and harnessing their craft in a great working environment. The craftsmen and artisans are a part of the SVA family. We provide all the required insurance and PF for their financial security. We celebrate all festivals together as a family. We provide an extremely clean and healthy environment for them to work.

Harking back to the beginning, how did the design journey begin for you both?

Sonam And Paras Modi

Sonam started her journey in 2008, and participated in the Lakmé Fashion Week gen next programme in 2009. I have a strong background in textiles and international business. We started the label together in 2013 after we got married in 2011.

How challenging has the process been of establishing your label, growing the brand etc. 

Sonam And Paras Modi

We have had a roller coaster of a journey throughout the last decade. We started in 2013, and did many shows from then on. We had our store and atelier in Lower Parel, Mumbai, back then, over the years we moved to Kala Ghoda. Our atelier is also now bigger as we needed space to accommodate the growing SVA family. The biggest hurdle we faced was during Covid and the lockdown. Business had come to a halt. Retail and fashion had taken a backseat. We gave up our flagship store at Marine Drive, at that point. But once the lockdown ended, we found a beautiful space in Kala Ghoda and that’s where we started building up again. Now we have a strong online presence and travel to many destinations for pop-ups to make SVA accessible.

Which are some of the milestones and achievements that fill you with a sense of pride?

Sonam And Paras Modi

Our first milestone was last year when we completed a decade of SVA – this filled us with a sense of achievement, and has only geared us up for many more to come.

What is your reading of the fashion scene in India today?

The fashion scene in India has changed a lot post Covid. The customer is looking for versatility and practicality without compromising on design. A price point, which is worth the value of the garment, is key.

Samsara Summer ’24

Samsara embodies a mesmerising blend of bohemian tribal vibes, intricately weaving together influences from the rich tapestry of tribal art, culture, and architecture.

Featuring a neutral minimal palette of beiges, browns, creams, greys, black, off-white, with hints of midnight blue and terracotta, each piece in this collection showcases intricate surface textures, trims, and details. These elements bring forth a bold summer energy through vivid prints and embellishments.

Sonam And Paras Modi

The collection boasts bold prints that harmonise effortlessly with signature drapes and jackets, creating silhouettes that echo the essence of tribal elegance. Our main muse, a captivating piece of tribal-inspired wall art, weaves its influence throughout this collection.

The selection of light summer silks, crepes, and self-woven Aztec-patterned georgettes, are all designed to evoke the spirit of tribal allure.

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