Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Revolutionizing the Runway: A Candid Conversation with Fashion Maverick Anjali Phougat

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Anjali Phougat is a Central Ohio-based Exclusive world record holder and fashion designer, wardrobe & celebrity stylist, entrepreneur and founder of Designer Dream Collection, a luxury brand in the fashion industry. She specialized in wedding styling & customization of jewelry and outfits and gained national attention through her work with celebrities and contributions in the fashion world, beauty pageants, New York Fashion Week and Cannes film festival by showcasing her mesmerizing jewelry and red-carpet collection.  Here is the interview of Mrs Anjali Phougat,

  1. What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion design, and who are some of your biggest influences in the industry?

My passion for design, my mother is the biggest influence and inspiration for me I feel, “I am born to be an artist and I saw my mother’s inspirational designs not only that, I grew up consuming designs and detailing, and I knew that I would want to pursue fashion as my passion at some point in my life.”

  1. What is the craziest or most outlandish piece of clothing you’ve ever designed, and what was the inspiration behind it?

I designed a lehnga for Miss Universe, the first Indian dress video for Miss Universe official handle to talk about national flag day. We added thousands of mirror embellishments and peacock Resham hand embroidery, peacock being national bird of India to represent our culture and Indian flag colors on global platform.

  1. How do you incorporate cultural influences into your designs, and what cultural elements have you found particularly inspiring?

Simplicity, inclusion and love for colors in our culture are a few major influences that I like to incorporate in my designs. Wherever I go I observe details. Fashion is constantly evolving, and I am always working on highlighting social causes through my designs. As a designer you must be aware of the value of recycling, Sustainability in the fashion industry, various arts, cinema, museums, culture and geography to be a successful and recognized brand.

  1. How do you balance the need to create unique, original designs with the practicality of making clothing that people will want to wear?

I feel less is more and I love simple and clean cuts. Along with the fact that I don’t follow trends, I believe in creating trends by being true to my art and vision. 

  1. Can you tell us about a particularly challenging project you’ve worked on, and how you overcame any obstacles you faced during the design process?

There have been several challenging projects and there is no fun without challenges. Most recent challenge was to create runway dresses out of old fabric and up-cycling heavily embroidered fabric for NEW YORK FASHION WEEK fall collection without losing the authenticity in our craft. But I truly enjoyed creating that collection. It takes a village to put together a fashion collection so none of what I do would be possible without the super talented people I work with. Our talented team of artisans, models, show producers, backstage teams, visual artists, HMU, Music team, videographers & photographers, clients and buyers, the list is huge! 

  1. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends and styles while still maintaining your own unique creative voice?

Honestly, I don’t follow trends and i believe in making my own trends and believe in my vision for designing and art. 

  1. How do you think technology is changing the fashion industry, and how are you incorporating new technologies into your design process?

Technology has a huge impact and it’s both positive and negative, but the most important aspect is how you perceive that impact. We are excited to launch our digital and phygital collection in our upcoming fashion weeks. 

  1. Can you describe a time when you had to take a big risk with a design or collection, and how it paid off (or didn’t)?

Recycling sustainable fashion is something that I always believed in, and my fashion line has always reflected that. My latest show at the New York Fashion Week, that took place in February 2023, we showcased sustainable fashion and Miss universe 2023 first runner up Amanda Dudamel, who is Miss Universe Venezuela and fashion designer herself joined hands with designer dream collection in my mission to promote sustainability on world’s largest runway. Leading Hollywood designer Charlie Lapson also joined our initiative and glammed up all the models in his sustainable jewelry along with my gown.

Apart from this 70% of cloth goes to landfill waste, which is a very hard and sad fact. And as a women representator of India across the globe, we try to focus on recycling. So, when we say recycling, there can be so many different ways we can promote sustainability and recycling, such as reusing old garments. I came up with this idea at my last New York Fashion Week collection launch. We gathered fabric from different old Sample dresses, and some worn by several notable clients, leftover fabric, which is waste and used non-toxic dyes to save environmental pollution and curated masterpieces to dress Miss universe delegates on the worlds most talked about famous runway and showcased the audience creativity has no boundary!

It was a huge risk, and we were not sure if our recycling collection would be accepted on such a big runway, but this risk was worth it. We got huge admiration and applauded from the audience.

  1. How do you think fashion can be used as a tool for social change, and have you ever designed clothing with a specific social or political message in mind?

I feel fashion has a purpose to communicate the story to the audience. Fashion shows are some of the most highly influential and anticipated events in the industry on an international level. The collection is used to portray or narrate the purpose of the show. The emotions and story when it’s narrated and showcased by designs and fashion helps the audience to connect visually & emotionally.

Art is powerful and it can speak when we can’t find the words. Through the fashion show we hope to engage our community in a unique and memorable way. We recently showcased our new collection in Ohio State University unchained fashion show. The Unchained Fashion Show provides a visual and poetic representation of a person who has gone from an innocent child to a victim of trafficking, and how such a thing could possibly happen. Many people are unaware that people are being trafficked all over the world, including just down the street, and anyone can become trapped in slavery. The main goal of the show is education. We hope that the audience leaves more educated about human trafficking, as well as local resources and ways to help. We believe that giving audiences the knowledge and resources to recognize and report trafficking will make an impact in preventing themselves or others from becoming entangled in trafficking. The fashion show also raises money for the Strategies for Success Scholarship, which is awarded to survivors of human trafficking who are improving their lives through higher education. When we tell people that we are an anti-human trafficking organization that puts on fashion shows, we often receive curiosity or looks of confusion about the connection between the two and how that works. The reason that we use fashion shows to talk about human trafficking is that the topic of human trafficking is complicated and heavy. It is often difficult to find the words for such a horrible thing.

We created designs for the water segment of the show and used many water elements such as seashells, pearls, blue lights, crystals and liquid sateen fabrics to translate the emotions into the clothing and atmosphere. As the runway progressed the darker coral tones begin to lighten. Clothing becomes more joyful, and models adorned crystal accessories and light in the dresses is if light emerges from darkness.

  1. Can you show us a piece of clothing from your personal wardrobe that you particularly love, and tell us what makes it special to you?

White is my fav color, and it has to be simple white and black jumpsuit or plain white shirt gifted by my mother, which can be styled in many different ways. I love keeping only a few staple pieces in my closet and reusing and restyling them in different ways. The sustainability of high-quality garments makes them special to me. 

  1. We always talk about increasing diversity and inclusivity. How do you think your shows, clothes and models depict that diversity?

We design for woman of all age, shape and race and we feel beauty has no age or shape. If you look at our shows you will be amazed to see the diversity of models and collection in the looks. Beauty lies in the eye of beholder. My film diversity through inclusion winning in Cannes global short film festival, motivated many brands to focus on inclusion.

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