Anupriya DG is the youthful entrepreneurial mind behind the quirky fashion label Howrah Bridge, based out of Kolkata. She explores various fashion styles, trends, products and places and keeps us updated about the same in her enlightening fashion and lifestyle blog Chappals Vs Stilletoes. So without wasting any time lets read about Kolkata’s upcoming fashion designer & proprietor- Anupriya DG. You may refer her as DG like I do, easy to remember and simple to pronounce
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself? About your family, your hometown and your childhood?
A – I was born & brought up in our very own City of Joy Kolkata. Since my dad used to stay away from home due to work commitments throughout most of my childhood, I grew very close to my mom. When I was 10 years of age, my life changed with the advent of my baby sister and of course, after that, I couldn’t think of life without her.
Kolkata’s sights & sounds are embedded deep in my soul and I can’t imagine having to grow up anywhere else! The good ol’ days used to be so lovely – what with zero addiction to technology, impromptu-only-to-be-played-outdoor games, favourite now-extinct candies & innocent friendships. *sigh* Those were the days!
2. You run an amazing brand- Howrah Bridge. How did you get introduced to the idea of starting up your own brand?
A – Thank you!
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. During a wild brooch-wearing phase of mine a few years back, I realised the dearth of good brooches in the local as well as online market. I got myself a couple from international portals like Etsy, but I was so not ready to pay more for shipping than for the actual product! That’s when I decided to make my own brooches out of fabrics & trims and slowly the results of my efforts turned into my first ever Howrah Bridge products!!!
3. What do you find the most challenging thing while running your brand?
A – Well…as far as Howrah Bridge is concerned, it’s majorly a one-woman show! I do have a team of 2 workers, but apart from that, I have to take care of everything – right from conceptualising to designing to sourcing the materials to explaining new things to workers to handling clients to marketing the brand et all. Yes, my mom does help out a bit sometimes, but of course it’s not possible for her to handle it with the technical expertise that I have. So, yes, doing it all alone does pose as a challenge sometimes! But it’s all a great learning experience and I would not have it any other way at the end of the day!
4. From where do you source raw materials for the brand?
A – I do my sourcing majorly in Kolkata – at various places ranging from the ubiquitous New Market to the huge fabric stores in Park Street. Sometimes, if I’m travelling to other cities like Delhi or Bombay, I do pick up fabrics & trims from there too!
5. Apart from Kolkata where else have you thought of setting up your store?
A – If I ever want to set up store outside my own city, my first preference would be Bombay, simply coz I love that city almost as much as I love Kolkata! Also, my stuff does move well from a store I stock with in Bangalore, so maybe I can think of Bangalore too!
7. Howrah Bridge’s USP?
Funky & chic HOWRAH BRIDGE sarees
A – Every artist has his/her personal style. Hence, even my products have a distinct sensibility to them which make them stand out as Howrah Bridge products. Be it the strong link to the roots, the amalgamation of the modern & the traditional or putting colours from all over the place next to each other – there’s something in each piece of Howrah Bridge that one won’t find anywhere else!
8. What is Howrah Bridge’s target clientele?
A – We make clothes for the woman who believes in herself. Since we customize, a certain style/design can be flaunted by a teen as well as by an old woman if each of them can individually carry it off!
Howrah Bridge is a brand that so many women from different places all over the world coming from different backgrounds & leading different lifestyles all like & want to wear. These women all find confidence & comfort in our clothes that are contemporary but have their roots in tradition.
9. What are your favourite items from your brand?
Flaunting a HOWRAH BRIDGE quirky jacket at a fashion event
A – We, bloggers, love our art of mixing & matching! Hence, a few versatile pieces in our closet are always more precious to us than the others. Hence, my picks from my brand would be my lovely Howrah Bridge maxi dresses, the quirky yet universally stylish Howrah Bridge printed jackets, the contemporary-chic & vibrant Howrah Bridge sarees and some of the sexy Howrah Bridge blouses!
10. What do you do when you are not working on your brand?
Indulging in my other passion – Photography
A – I am a pretty good multi-tasker and I like to have my fingers in many pies at the same time.
Apart from running my own brand, I run my own fashion & lifestyle blog (to which I can dedicate only my owl hours), I go on photo-walks with the photography group that I’m a part of, I teach as a guest faculty at fashion institutions NIFT (my alma mater) and iNIFD, I freelance as a stylist, I do content writing for other blogs/websites (again during night hours) and when I’m not doing any of these, I either curl up with a good book or go on movie dates with the guy!
11. What are you favourite films for fashion inspiration?
A – Everything around me inspires my fashion sensibility. But if you ask about films, they have to be Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Gone With The Wind, The Devil Wears Prada, Umrao Jaan & Guzaarish.
12. Favourite designers?
A – Alexander McQueen & Sabyasachi Mukherjee have been my idols since the day I started to learn about & love this world of fashion. Apart from them, a few other favourites are Chanel, Pucci, Wendell Rodricks, Sneha Arora, Amalraj Sengupta, Manish Arora & Ragini Ahuja.
A – As I live & breathe in the world of fashion, I never fall short of inspirations.
Since I like to dress-up, my own sartorial choices become the major content for my blog. Apart from that, I share about my brand, my photographic pursuits, new brands/websites, anything from the world of fashion/art/decor/food/lifestyle that catches my fancy and so on & so forth on the blog.
14. A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. Do you look towards your blog as another possible source of income?
A – Not really. I had started my blog simply because I had a passion for fashion which I wanted to share with like-minded individuals from across the world. It was never an important mode of earning for me and I don’t think it ever will be.
Yes, with popularity comes the responsibility of letting my readers know about what’s new and hence I do collaborate with websites/companies/brands to review their products or write about them on the blog so that I can promote other entrepreneurships along with sharing about new & exciting ventures with my readers. Sometimes, I get sent stuff to review and sometimes I get paid – but that’s because the brand/website has faith in the fact that I’m rendering them successful service in marketing their brand. But I select all collaborations with care & only because I want to share about a certain thing with my readers and not just because someone’s paying me to do it. So it can never become a source of income for me.
15. Name some bloggers whom you look up to and why?
Blogger pals Smrithi & Ruhi whom I met on met recent trip to Bangalore
A – The blogging world has given me some of the sweetest & dearest friends till date. Be it virtually or in reality, I have connected to quite a few wonderful souls from all over the world who’ve been great sources of inspiration for me.
Some of my favourite bloggers whom I look up to because of their effortless sense of style & their appealing individuality would be Tanvi from Tanvii.com, Bella from Citizen Rosebud, Dusk Devi from The Dusk Zone, Vix from Vintage Vixen, Karishma from Purple Peeptoes, Ruhi from Republic of Chic and of course, all the other bloggers who are more of real friends now!
16. Favourite high street / chain stores?
A – Zara, Vero Moda, Accessorize, Forever 21, Promod, Aldo
17. If someone was interested in establishing their own label, what would you suggest?
A – I would say “Go for it!”, coz there’s nothing more soul-satisfying that doing what you love and loving what you do!
Of course, there are a hell lot of tips & tricks, but for that I had to do a certified Entrepreneurship 101 course, so it’s not something you can say in one para. That’s another story altogether!
18. What are your future plans with regards to your brand?
A – This year has had quite an exciting start with press features of the brand & a deluge of online orders pouring in from all corners of the world! Apart from marketing my brand more vigorously, this year I have plans to stop the brand from being labelled solely into the “quirky” genre and give it a new identity, mixing tradition & funk like never before!
Moreover, I want to concentrate on certain typical Indian techniques and infuse them in a contemporary way for my upcoming collections.
Also, Kolkata being a conservative city fashion-wise, I want its women to experiment more with colours, cuts & silhouettes and will definitely do my bit to bring about a change in the way the city’s women dress.