EXCL: '2023 will be the year of magenta,' designer Masaba Gupta reveals trends to rage this year

She also opens up on how she rises above all challenges, the inspiration behind launching her new brand Lovechild, and the story behind her much-hyped ‘Where is the Masaba print?’ saree
Masaba Gupta
Masaba Gupta

Hot pink is the colour that comes to our minds when we think of designer Masaba Gupta. From successfully running one of the largest fashion labels in the country to bringing forth the less-talked-about struggles behind being a girl boss through her show – Masaba Gupta has become the epitome of feminine power and resilience for millennials in India.

Beverage brand Budweiser collaborated with her for their FIFA campaign #TheWorldIsYoursToTake. We caught up with the designer for a quick chat, where she let us in on how she rises above all challenges, the inspiration behind launching her beauty and wellness brand Lovechild, and the story behind her much-hyped ‘Where is the Masaba print?’ ensemble. She also predicted the fashion trend she thinks would become the rage in 2023! Here’s an excerpt from our conversation.

You shared your experience of spending 72 hours in Doha on social media during the FIFA World Cup. Tell us a bit more about how was this trip for you.
It was way different than what I expected. Because despite being a sports enthusiast, I have never actively followed football. Of course, I stay glued to the TV when there's a big match. But I didn't know what the experience would be to be physically present at the stadium because I'd never seen a football game live. This was the first time I was watching a match live, which is why I was very taken in by the atmosphere and the energy. I've always been a cricket lover. Now, I think football is definitely right up there on my list of favourite sports.

<strong>Masaba in Doha for FIFA World Cup 2022</strong>
Masaba in Doha for FIFA World Cup 2022

#TheWorldIsYoursToTake focuses on how people rise above all limits to achieve greatness. What has been the toughest challenge you have had to rise above in life till now?
The last two years have been tough for the whole world but it's been particularly tough for brands. The big moment for me was probably in July of 2020 when things weren't looking good for my brand (House of Masaba). We were shutting down stores, cutting our losses… a lot was happening. But the turning point was when I said to myself, “I want to believe that we can still bounce back from whatever has happened and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.” So, the pandemic has taught me how to deal with setbacks.

Is there any way the pandemic has influenced the entrepreneur in you in a positive way?
Yes, absolutely. When you're running a business, you're more in touch with the marketing and the creative aspects, which, in my case, is design. But during the pandemic, I learned to handle the other parts as well. When you're running a business for 12 years, you pretty much autopilot it. But ever since the pandemic, I have started to go out and achieve things more actively.

...and then in 2022, you launched Lovechild. What was your inspiration behind it?
Firstly, launching a beauty and wellness brand had been on my mind for a long time. We had done collaborations in the past but this was something I wanted to do on my own.  Secondly, House of Masaba, the apparel brand, is more of an ‘affordable luxury’. But I wanted the younger followers of the brand, who couldn’t afford it, to get their hands on something. That was the idea behind Lovechild – to provide easily accessible and super-affordable price finds.

Also, beauty, makeup, and skincare products are mood uplifters.  I wanted to bring that through a brand as well. Lastly, there aren't enough brands that understand the diversity of skin colours in India. It hurts me to see that because I’m a very India-proud person – I really like homegrown brands. So, I thought it was high time I looked inwards and create a community that, essentially, knows India. 

<strong>The much-hyped ‘Where is the Masaba print?’ saree</strong>
The much-hyped ‘Where is the Masaba print?’ saree

Are you planning to launch any collection based on your ‘Where is the Masaba print?’ saree on a big scale anytime soon?
(Laughs) I don’t have an answer to this right away because it’s also something that I’m trying to process! Anna Wintour (chief editor of a leading fashion magazine) was coming to town. There was an event in her honour that I was attending. I was not going to wear a dress because I wanted to show Anna that we Indians don’t just do glitter and shimmer. There’s a very cool side of Indian fashion she might not have seen by then and so, I decided to wear a cotton Chanderi saree. I didn’t know what (print) was going to be on it but my team said that they had assumed I am going to wear a quintessential Masaba print. I said, “Rather, let’s put that idea as the print on the saree – the fact that we’re so gauged and boxed in by the kind of aesthetic we created for ourselves!”

Apart from that, what's next for you as a designer? 
My plan for 2023 is to expand our retail presence offline because people have started coming back to physical stores, wanting to have the experience of shopping again. You'll see a lot more focus on occasion wear, festive wear, and bridal wear from the House of Masaba in 2023. With respect to Lovechild – it will now be present at all the House of Masaba stores. There are going to be about 15 touchpoints by February. 

Lastly, tell us one fashion trend you've loved in 2022,  one fashion trend you think is sure to become a rage in 2023, and one fashion trend you want to become popular.
A 2022 trend I loved is how comfort became the new luxury. Now, I see a lot of people wearing sneakers. In general, sportswear has become a huge thing. While 2022 was the year of hot pink, 2023 will be the year of magenta. I’m waiting to see how Pantone — the shade of the year — plays out on both runways and in stores. Also, I’m happy to see how bright colours are making a comeback now. 

And the one trend I would like to see become more popular is more conscious spending on bridal wear. Of course, you want to look your best at your wedding but you kind of need to think before spending a huge amount of money on an outfit that you might never repeat. 

Email: prattusa@newindianexpress.com
Twitter: @MallikPrattusa

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