Parama Ghosh on her label turning 8 and the road ahead
The label that’s grabbed eyeballs for its beautiful glass sleeve blouses grew from strength to strength each year by introducing more varieties of outfits in form of saris, and even dhotis for men.
Couturier Parama Ghosh’s eponymous label Parama is synonymous with all things traditional with a modern touch. The label that’s grabbed eyeballs for its beautiful glass sleeve blouses grew from strength to strength each year by introducing more varieties of outfits in form of saris, and even dhotis for men. As the label turned 8 last month, we talk to the gritty designer who left her job as a lawyer to pursue her passion in fashion.
Parama turns 8, how does it feel?
It still feels like a dream. If I have done anything in these eight years, it is learning every single day -- something new, sometimes life-changing and mostly through mistakes. Running this label has been like raising a child – full of happiness, anxiety, ecstasy, and doubts and yet in the end when I look at the eight-year-old, I feel insanely content and grateful.
How has Parama evolved and grown as a brand in the last 8 years?
From a single-woman show, literally growing out of our guest room, today we are a self-sufficient entity comprising a big team of girls, artistes, masterjis and tailoring units.
What are the lessons you have learned as a fashion entrepreneur?
I was a hard-core legal professional for 10 years and I don’t have a degree in fashion. I have learned every bit on the go -- from tailors, weavers, fashion professionals and books.
I also learned how incredibly important humans are in anything you do. It is never about garments alone, it is mostly about people.
In a city swelling with couture labels, what does it take to stand out in a crowd?
I can safely say that we were the first to come up with quirky back-embroidered blouses that had strong messages. What people wore on t-shirts became a part of blouses. There were many brands before us, doing embroidered blouses but making the mundane a part of our storytelling, celebrating Calcutta in everything was something fresh. We knew we were doing something right when copies flooded the market within six months.
What does it take to be a successful designer?
Discipline, honesty, originality and how you treat people. Colleges teach you fashion but the rest is either in-built or you have to practise every day.
What inspires you?
Everything mundane is more attractive to me because they don’t have “performance pressure.” I observe people and places endlessly and they inspire me.
Also, Shahrukh Khan, Swastika Mukherjee and my husband inspire me for their fearlessness and my mom for her ability to retain simplicity in a world so complicated.
Your message to other women?
Be true to your passion. Do not do anything because 100 others are doing it or it “sells”. Do it if you can lose sleep over it. Doing what you love is very monogamous and needs undivided attention.
A sound business runs when your finances are in the right place. Strike that balance between art and commerce and never give up!