Meet the award-winning fashion designer who is a favourite of celebrities like Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor and Ayushmann Khurrana

Nivedita Saboo, whose designs are worn by the likes of Kareena Kapoor Khan and Priyanka Chopra, says glamour in the fashion industry is the best 15 minutes on the runway after six months of hard work.

Nivedita Saboo is living her childhood dream every day as she works on designing various outfits, some of which are worn by celebs like Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra.  The fashion designer and entrepreneur believes her path was guided by passion, diligence and hard work. Her story is one every fashion enthusiast dreams of.

Graduating from National Institute of Fashion Technology, (NIFT) Delhi at the age of 19,  she was offered the position of head designer at Arvind Brands. After two years of work where she learnt many aspects of fashion including technology in garment manufacturing, she returned to Pune in 2001 to start her own fashion label.

From a humble beginning with one sewing machine and a tailor, her label Nivedita Saboo Couture is now being worn by celebrities like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Karisma Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Rajkumar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana, Lisa Hayden, Raveena Tandon, and Neha Dhupia, among others.

Having built a factory in 2005, employing traditional crafts and textile artisans, Nivedita now has stores in Pune and Mumbai. Last year, the designer received the prestigious National Award and Bharat Gaurav for excellence in the field of fashion.

Design inspiration

Growing up in Pune, Nivedita says her childhood involved a lot of craft exploration and learning various art forms such as kathak and music. Even today, the designer is enthusiastic about learning new cultures and art during her travels.  

At the same time, the designer believes fashion does not equate to glamour. A lot of her inspiration comes from enhancing human lives.

Nivedita says, “Every problem and need inspires me to work towards a solution. I strongly believe design and fashion is when art and science come together to create beautiful solutions. That is why we are called designers and not artists. I think the drive to combine technology with craftsmanship is the key to my design ideas. So, it is important for me to find solutions to better human lives.”

Towards inclusivity

These are the guiding philosophies that also led her to work on designing garments for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  

“We dressed up some patients dealing with Parkinson’s disease, studied their lifestyle and movement, and noted what is comfortable as well as their challenges with clothing,” she says. 

Keeping in mind the movement difficulty and need to take medicine every four hours, the coats have utility features such as slip-in pockets and detachable sleeves. The clothing line was well-loved by the patients for whom dressing up has become lesss stressful and time to dress up has reduced considerably from 45 minutes to nine minutes. 

Nivedita has also designed clothing for acid attack survivors as well. “We looked at the fabrics that would be the best mix for their skin and the colours they would enjoy wearing, so that they can be confident.  

Nivedita has also made visually challenged children from The Poona Blind School part of her work. “They worked on beautiful paintings by using rice, dal, sand, to represent colours and we converted them into prints,” she says.

These works of art were presented at the London Fashion Week as part of the Spring collection Unlearn in 2016.

For Nivedita, it is her way of giving back to society through her craft. However, she advises youngsters not to enter the fashion world solely for glamour. 

“I feel glamour is the best 15 minutes on a show after six months of hard work. But I do encourage them to come to find for the love of the craft and for the love of giving back to society, and doing something absolutely authentic,” she advises.

A designer’s response to COVID-19

Seeing that positive cases of COVID-19 were increasing every day, Nivedita stepped up and designed face masks through the humanitarian initiative Nivedita Saboo Cares. 

Nivedita shares that she retooled her production facilities to manufacture protective masks. According to the designer, her team has consulted scientific and healthcare professionals and designed technologically advanced masks, which are made from breathable fabrics that undergo steam sterilisation and sanitisation with 88.33 percent ethyl alcohol before packaging. 

“They are washable and each mask is packaged in a storage bag that can be reused. They are also available in different designs and colour options, allowing easy identification within family members,” she explains. 

Priced at Rs 240, Nivedita says the masks are sustainable as well, with one mask replacing the use of around 30 disposable masks. 

Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan


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