GETTING TO KNOW LOTUS EYE
A few months ago, I attended the launch of a fashion magazine, where Lotus Eye showcased a few pieces. I was instantly in love! The combination of Indian and Westernized fabrics, colours and pieces of clothing were insatiable. In the next few days I sent a few emails and followed my trail to the extremely creative, forward-thinker and designer behind Lotus Eye, Mita Naidu.
A few Facebook messages and a short interview later, I was enjoying Mita’s company over a glass of wine, yummy nibbles and swapping stories. What a wonderfully down-to-earth and positive person whose work and determination I find extremely inspiring.
A little more about the lovely lady herself…
Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your educational background? What are your general interests?
I was born in Kolkata, India. Raised in Canada- the prairies, the East and finally the Westcoast. I went to Canterbury Highschool (performing arts highschool for ballet), went to Tisch School of the Arts (New York University) for ballet. Finished up my BA at UBC in Anthropology and Asian Studies. Then completed a MA in Human Kinetics and an MHA in Health Administration both from UBC. My graduate work was conducted through a South Asian feminist lens. Afterwards I also managed research projects that dealt with women’s status in healthcare. I tell you about the subjects I studied in school because they still greatly influence my design aesthetic. Being a dancer- influenced my love of movement and a classic underpinning in my designs. And my studies affected my affinity for the rich and diverse fashion histories of various cultures. I have been drawn to fashion my entire life… stemming from my mom’s heritage collection of sari’s. to my work in high-end retail. And my heart STILL lie in the arts. I was recently recognized by the Vancouver Parks Board as one of 12 “Remarkable Women in 2012″ for my work in fashion and the arts. Dance has always been and will continue to be a strong component in my life and work. And my educational background most definitely makes its way into my collection as I hope to expand fashion borders and boundaries.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion = art. My family is an academic one but also an artistic one. I have great respect and admiration for traditional artisans in the villages as I do for the young avante garde designer graduating from St. Martins. So to me fashion means: style, sensibility, salience and subversiveness.
How would you define Vancouver’s fashion?
Vancouver’s fashion scene is simple, casual and utilitarian. This style attitude also filters down to the Indian fashion scene, which is predictable, and unadventurous. I must admit this is changing slowly though. LE clients are a little more fashion forward and experimental.
How would you describe your collection?
My collection is contemporary with an air of luxury, Indian glamour and elegance. Rather than defining it as “fusion” (which is a term I hate)- I refer to it as a globally eclectic and adventurous. Classic LE examples: a caucasian woman wearing a contemporary sari with an obi belt and Westcoast jewelry designs; and an Indian bride wearing an LE lengha skirt with a crisp white oxford shirt and adorned with Indian gold. These examples reflect the cultural ease with global trends, that I desire for all my clients.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
A. Felicity Brown, Anamika Khanna, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Haider Ackerman, Dries Van Noten, Thakoon, Rodarte, Tom Ford, Gareth Pugh, Marni, Hussein Chalayan, Naeem Khan, Helmut Lang, Marchesa, vintage Dior, vintage YSL, vintage Halstan, vintage Issey Miyake, . These are just SOME…
You recently hosted a very successful fashion show – how did you prepare for it and what was the cause behind it?
I chose to make this event a non-profit one, as I hoped to draw attention to contemporary South Asian arts though music, food and fashion. It took months of planning… I chose not to be a part of Vancouver Fashion Week and Eco-Fashion week, so producing a show from the ground up was EXTREMELY difficult. Raising the funds, dealing with sponsors, creating the short film, sourcing the right location, creating the custom desserts, creating the outfits, sourcing models, hair and MUA, the jewelry, the guest list, scheduling and planning the afterparty- were all on my plate. I gave all the tech production to Visual Noise Type, the marketing and PR was done by Manjot Bains and my husband was the show manager. PHEW… And even with all this planning- behind the scenes, things still went awry. I realize that many things were out of our control… venue issues mostly, but the stress was immense! Plus I’m a perfectionist freak, which didn’t help! All in all- I hope the audience did not see the chaos and enjoyed the end product.
What are your favorite colors and why?
A. I honestly don’t have favorite colors. I am drawn to a neutral earthy palette reminiscent of my Bengali heritage, as well as bright jewel tones reflected in the Mediterranean, Mexican Hawaiian and Indian palettes. I don’t necessarily buy into colors of the moment either.
Where can readers buy your clothes? And where can readers find out more about you and your work?
I have a small showroom in my home, where I make private client appointments. Its my intention to make each client feel like they are having a wonderful exclusive luxury experience. So a glass of wine and some personal styling (whether a purchase is made or not) always makes for a fun experience. The website is within weeks of completion, but so far, Facebook has been the main vehicle for LE: http://facebook.com/lotuseye1
What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing?
Fabrics, finishing, and thought.
What are your fashion pet hates?
A closed mind!!! The attitude that quality can come cheap. Fashion niches. Oh… and uggs. UGH.
How would you define your personal style?
Timeless, yet experimental. Trendier pieces in my wardrobe are never worn like the mannequin.