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Touch of love

THE ASIAN AGE. | ELIZABETH THOMAS
Published : Mar 8, 2018, 6:56 am IST
Updated : Mar 8, 2018, 6:57 am IST

Manjulakshmi, a native of Thrissur, Kerela, is delighted to have presented her designs based on love at the prestigious New York Fashion Week.

Designs presented at New York Fashion Week
 Designs presented at New York Fashion Week

Manjulakshmi’s stint with fashion began at a very young age. Thanks to her mother who designed unique patterns for her daughter as a child. Though Manju opted for engineering after school, she later shifted her focus to fashion designing. “It was during that time a fashion institute started in Kozhikode. I joined there and after that went abroad for post graduation,” recalls Manju.

Then, there was no looking back. After the studies, she got a teacher’s job in the fashion designing department of Virginia Commonwealth University. Manju, who is settled in Qatar, kicked off her journey as a designer in 2013 by designing clothes for a royal wedding in Qatar. The next year, she launched it as a business and then happened her first ramp show — IWED (International Wedding And Fashion Show 2014). She started her boutiques in India, Qatar and Dubai in 2015. In the next two years, she became a part of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2016 and Shop Qatar Fashion Show 2017.

Latest on the list is New York Fashion Week held on February 11. For New York Fashion Week, Manju presented three collections consisting of 40 garments, based on the theme love. According to her, she is the first designer from South India to take part in the show. “I am the first designer from Qatar too,” she says.

Manju started working on the designs in October. Intricate handworks and special leather brought from London were the key features of her works displayed there. “There were three collections — ‘Sun to moon all the things I love’, ‘I love the roses red’ and ‘My birds are humming your name’. The show began with an off-white dress, giving the feeling of sun rise. It ended with a black dress indicating sun set. The other two collections were interwoven with this,” explains Manju, a native of Thrissur. A teacher, she is also a fashion consultant.

Quiz her about choosing love, she replies, “You could find the element of love in almost all my designs. I am a follower of that concept. The New York Fashion Week, coincidentally, was held during the month of love. Hence, I highlighted that. Also, my mother had told me that love conquers all.” Her mother’s contribution to her works is immense and hence, she labeled her brand as Gills Manjulakshmi, in which the ‘Gills’ comes her mother’s name Gilsa Bharatan. “She is the main designer,” says Manju, who is also doing a research in organic linen and runs the movement ‘Think Pink, Wear Green’. “I have been doing it for three years. I started the campaign when I began my research. During the course, I have found that organic linen has healing properties. I named the campaign so because pink is the colour related to fashion and health and green indicates being eco-friendly,” says Manju.

Her journey has been good so far and she is grateful to her family, especially to her little son, for being a pillar of support.

Ask her about her future plans, she says, “I have to complete my research and I am looking forward to the Paris Fashion Week.”

Tags: new york fashion week