Today we’d like to introduce you to Sapana Amin.
Sapana, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in the US by my parents who were from India and migrated to the US a couple of years before I was born. We lived in Norfolk Virginia where my parents owned and ran a motel until I left for college to Richmond, Virginia, not too far from home. I decided to go to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) because it had a good pharmacy school and that was what I thought I wanted to be, a pharmacist. But after only one semester I realized this is not what I wanted to do my whole life, and fashion designing just came to me. I didn’t need to ask anyone because I knew this was going to be the path that I was going to follow.
Being an art major was not something Indian families were proud of or thought of it has a career path, but I was lucky enough to have a supportive family who let me follow my dreams and do what made me happy. Once I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer, I had a lot of work ahead of me! I had to take several art classes for a year to apply for the fashion design program, and that was very intimidating, but I pushed through and stepped out of my comfort zone and made it into the fashion program the following year. Now it was three years of all things fashion related!
A little side note… I had no technical skills and was not naturally a gifted artist and only took a couple art classes back in high school, so when I left my science major and stepped into the art world, it was all so new to me. I had never used a sewing machine until my first day of fashion school! But once again I pushed through, and it was the best decision I could have made for myself and my life. During my last year, I interned in NYC with Cynthia Rowley and went to a study abroad program at the London School of Fashion.
Through all I learned, I realized I wanted to start my own label, and I wanted to design indo-western clothing! Growing up in the US, I felt there was no way for us (Indian Americans) to be able to express our personal style when it came to dressing up in Indian clothes. The Indian outfits we used to wear were so gaudy and fit so badly! I saw that there was a huge gap for indo-western garments that had the perfect blend of east meets west. And that was when I decided that after graduating I would move to Mumbai, India for six months so I can learn about Indian fashion, textiles and embroidery. So I made the move in 2004 (one year after graduating), six months turned into almost 14 years, and it was an experience I will never forget!
I learned so much about my culture, my traditions that I was never truly exposed to growing up in the US. I made some lifelong friends who became my family in Mumbai, and I also found love along the way and got married in 2015. And last but not least I achieved what I set out to do from the beginning… I created my self-titled label Sapana Amin a little over nine years ago. Today I successfully run my business with clients from all over the world. And I will be continuing the same with my recent move to LA. I am so excited for this new chapter in our lives and can not wait to explore and fall in love with Los Angles as much as I did with Mumbai!
Has it been a smooth road?
Starting a business from scratch is definitely not an easy task, but I never got intimidated by that and focused on what I needed to do in the moment and took small steps to get where I needed to go.
My Mom and brother were the ones that helped me kick start my business and helped me financially when I first moved to Mumbai, India and for a few years down the line as well because initially, it’s all about money going out and little coming in.
I would have not been able to be where I am today if it was not for them believing in what I was doing and just being there for me in every way!
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am a fashion designer. I have a self-titled label, Sapana Amin and the label is for all women who want to stand apart from the crowd and want to have a little fun with fashion yet stay elegant and classy. The label is inspired by my Indian culture which is embellished with colors, traditions and has so much beautiful art and combine that with my western upbringing, you have indo-western clothing. It is the perfect blend of east meets west!
I am sure you will notice a lot of floral in many of my designs… floral was something I have always been attracted to even before it became so popular with Indian outfits and in our regular clothing as well. When I had to do a project in Fashion school, making a garment out of upholstery fabric, which mainly consisted of floral fabrics, I loved it so much. Even then, I mixed floral with polka dots! Something I still do, mix and match prints in my designs! I have always created what represents me as a person, so I have never looked around to see what others are doing and what is trending in the moment.
If it’s something I like, and it happens to be a trend, that’s fine, but I have always tried to stick to what I like and what works for me. I offer clients unique prints and combinations that have a hint of western elements to Indian outfits, and that is exactly what I came here to do. I am also quite particular, so that reflects in my outfits. I believe in good quality work using good fabrics and offering great customer service!
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Indian outfits are known to be very heavily embellished and heavy in weight as well! I believe women today want to be comfortable in what they are wearing in general, including Indian outfits!
So easy/comfortable to wear, made well and feels good is what will matter more in the coming years. It has already started, and it will get even bigger and more important.
Sustainable fabrics is another key trend and change in the fashion industry!
This is a trend I would definitely want to follow.
Key hashtags which sum up the future trend in fashion according to me:
-Feeling good is the new looking good
-Quality over quantity
- Anarkali/Kurta/indo-western ensemble – $550 USD to $850
- Lehenga (Skirt), Blouse (top), & Dupatta (stole) set- $650 USD to $950 USD
- Bridal outfits- $1200 to $4000 USD
- Website: www.sapanaamin.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
vmjphotography, nishi_munshi, makeupbysaniaa
Photographer: Sajna Sivan
INSTAGRAM – @sajnasivan
Makeup & Hair- Hardeep Arora