'Every individual should define their own style by choosing a trend that boosts their confidence and amplifies their personality' - Diya John, chief designer and brand owner, Salt Studio

Diya John,the chief designer and brand owner of Salt Studio is passionate about dressing women in a style that lets their personality speak. Diya is now taking her Kochi-based brand pan-India, starting with Trunk Shows in a few cities of note and will soon look at retailing through multi-brand designer outlets and pop-up stores across the country.

Diya John in an interview with Suman Prasad spoke in length about her journey, about her brand, about the designs and the inspirations behind it, the initial challenges and other interesting details.

Excerpts from the interview.

About her journey

Right from a very young age, fashion was my forte. I loved dressing up, not just myself, but also my family members. As time went on and they appreciated my efforts, that led to my decision of pursuing studies in Fashion & Design. I went on to pursue my undergraduate degree in Fashion Designing. Soon I started working in the Media field. Largely, I worked as an anchor on various TV shows which showcased women and their expertise in different fields.

However, my lifelong ambition of launching my own fashion label was still waiting for me. That dream came true when I joined hands with John, my husband, an entrepreneur experienced in fashion retail. Together we conceptualized Salt Studio. It’s been 3 years now, and the journey has definitely been challenging, but also fruitful. Fruitful in the sense of finding the right team of people to work with, setting up production, building outreach, getting customers to try out our fresh style, and finally being change agents for the fashion scene in Kerala.

Diya and John

About the inspiration in the designs

Salt Studio is all about avant-garde fashion. Our designs exude contemporary styling blended with western patterns and cuts, fashioned into traditional Indian attires. We also experiment with Indian embroidery on Western silhouettes. Inspiration is drawn from nature, history, art & art forms.

On her definition of style

Every individual should define their own style by choosing a trend that boosts their confidence and amplifies their personality.

On keeping herself motivated at work

Definitely having the freedom to explore and express myself in a creative space keeps me motivated. Also, being appreciated and recognized for the same is highly motivating.

On keeping a balance between personal and professional life

I would like to say I strike a balance by making it a point to take time out from busy work hours to spend quality time with my family. It is nothing but a plus point that I share my work life with my husband.

On the idea to start this venture and the initial challenges

Fashion & Design being my strong suit, and having an educational background in the same, my life’s biggest dream was to launch my own label. The dream became reality when I collaborated with my husband, an entrepreneur in fashion retail who had a similar ambition. The biggest challenges we faced initially were setting up the production unit and finding the right team of people to work with.

On skills which are important to be a good leader

People management skills is essential to be a good leader. Being a people person is all the more important when it comes to an industry such as fashion. Also, I believe that one must be able to set a good example in order to lead.

On whether it is important to have an International Women's Day

Of course. International Women’s Day is a gentle reminder to acknowledge women’s contribution to society. It is not only a call to recognize successful women in our society, but also to support and empower women for the times that lie ahead of us.

Tips for women who want to be a successful fashion designer or entrepreneur

I would say be observant and understanding of life that plays out around you. Introspect and understand yourself as a person too. Be bold enough to dream, stand up for yourself and pursue your dream. It is the only way to turn your dream into reality.

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