My fashionistas, Varija- a name needs no introduction for Indian fashion connoisseurs. Awarded with Women Achievers Award in the field of fashion, Varija Bajaj is ”an artist living out her own experience through her label VARIJA- which means Lotus in Sanskrit, known for her kitsch art and heirloom craft.” While hundreds of newspapers, fashion magazines, TV channels are re-adjusting their schedules to have her on their show or make her say few words on Indian wedding-fashion trends and tricks, I consider myself one of the few fortunate ones as we share an alma mater-Miranda house, I had the privilege to share the same roof with her in the hostel of the ”IT” college of Delhi university for a year.
Two ex-Mirandians talk and you get to eavesdrop.
One Time Fashionista: What is your philosophy about the ART of fashion?
Varija Bajaj: If I was an artist I would be a painter. If you treat Fahion purely as an ART, you might risk being a pauper;) So I’d rather talk about BUSSINESS of Fashion. For me, my inspiration comes from my customer needs. As they say “if your customer wants rotten apples- give them rotten apples- for they don’t value fine apples”. Though not in literal terms , but we try to creatively and aesthetically define our customer requirements. We don’t have a blanket definition of “whats in” this season. Each body is different, some are tall while others are short. Even more some have very long legs while others have a longer torso. Some find their broad shoulders the problem area while others find heavy biceps a sore point. Our definition of fashion changes with each individual-and that is what we call the real ART and also the real BUSSINESS of Fashion.
One Time Fashionista: What are the three most commonly seen lines, cuts, motifs in your creation?
Varija Bajaj: I would rather say-the only repetition are the colours. My Fetish is for Pinks and bright Olives. Since we cater to young brides I feel pink is a more refereshing option than a mature red while bright olives and greens are ideal for sangeet and mehendi functions. My all time favourites have not found any replacements in last 9 years.
One Time Fashionista: Your collections are primarily focusing on wedding trousseau. What is your strategy, if you have any, to promote your collection during off-season?
Varija Bajaj: Weddings are very big in India, we all know, over years there is no more an off season. Lot of people prefer off-season weddings because the bookings for venues and caterers are available at a cheaper rate. Besides all NRI weddings are during summers which is an off-season for Indian wedding market. So no real off season exists for us.
One Time Fashionista: Have you thought of creating more widely wearable collection or in another words, clothes that one can wear on daily basis? With this answer, I am willing to find out your future plans for expansion both creativity wise and profitability wise.
Varija Bajaj: At our store we have re-launched our prêt line- relatively casual line on popular demand which we had stopped few years ago. However, I see myself doing bridal for very long, since there is lot to learn and explore still. Our next step would be to open more stores both in India and abroad with similar services and product line.
One Time Fashionista: What is the most challenging part of being a designer specialized in festival clothing?
Varija Bajaj: Time. One needs to have an excellent supply chain for quick order deliveries. We deal in festive and bridal clothing which falls in the luxury segment. They are mostly expensive outfits where perfect fitting and client requirement has to be met in terms of design. Most often fresh orders are taken with changes and exact client measurements and have to be delivered in a very short time. So there are times that we have delivered a heavily ornate bridal lehenga within two days because the client wanted to change the base colour and had a short notice wedding. Besides most wedding fall around Eid and Diwali (Two major religious festivals in India) where the labour is also short due to their own festival celeberations.
One Time Fashionista: Does your work reflect your personal fashion taste? Can you describe your style?
Varija Bajaj: Mix and Match is my personal style. I prefer effortless styling than a pastry look;) And these obviously reflect not in my creations but also the interiors of the store, that we recently launched.
One Time Fashionista: We are just 4 months away from the next wedding season to start in India. What is going to be your inspiration for the next season’s collection?
Varija Bajaj: Ah…let that be a secret. But there will be 4 lines based on colours with different treatment primarily Neon, English, brocades and browns.
One Time Fashionista: What is the effect of recession on fashion world, in particular for a luxury couture collection like yours?
Varija Bajaj: People are very emotional about their wedding or their childrens wedding in India, therefore, fortunately, no recession hits the Indian wedding market and US market.
One Time Fashionista: What’s the positioning of Indian fashion in global scenario? Where do u see Indian fashion heading with so many fashion shows coming up? Should India have so many fashion weeks? In your opinion what’s the response of the buyers to the fashion weeks in general?
Varija Bajaj: With India shining on the global map, Indian fashion is also getting exposed to international tourists and buyers. An obvious observation is the adaptation of Indian saris on international ramps by foreign designers. It’s a long way to go but atleast it has begun. Competition of any sort is always healthy and is good for the growth of the market. Therefore, multiple fashion weeks are beneficial for everyone however I wished the new ones should be more organised. Similarly FDI in Indian retail , as and when it happen will give immense boost to Indian fashion industry.
One Time Fashionista: So if you had the choice of all designers in the world to work with in collaboration, would that person be your choice?
Varija Bajaj: Guess i started it all alone, formulating my own independent design philosophy which is different from any other designer. I am yet to come across a designer that truly and wholly inspires me.
I need an entire day to spend with her at her new showroom, I need another day to see her working with her workers, how she plans her creations, designs them, challenges she faces on day to day, I need to be in Delhi to do all these, one day for sure! Till then…enjoy this converstaion, devour her collection and if you or any of your family members and friends are getting hitched, take a look at
or contact her on her Facebook page here-