British Indian fashion designer and entrepreneur Oorvi Desai has made a mark for herself within the fashion and entertainment industry.
Boasting impressive accomplishments in the fashion world – be it starting her own bespoke luxury and wedding wear brand ‘Oorvi Desai’ or her upcoming collaboration with Vallisa Chauhan, who showcased her outfits at the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) 2023 – Desai recently teamed up with Archana Kapoor’s AK Bollywood Dance for their latest theatrical venture ‘Mrs Kapoor’s Daughter’s Wedding 2 – Mauritius’.
To find out more about this exciting venture and her other projects, iGlobal caught up with Desai for a chat.
Tell us more about your work on ‘Mrs Kapoor's Daughter's Wedding 2 – Mauritius’.
It's a hilarious, laugh-out-comedy show that's running across the UK. Its central theme is Bollywood drama dance, and it's very much related to Indian outfits and Bollywood. I have designed all the outfits for the wedding scene for the entire cast. They're wearing all designer outfits from my collection.
In March 2023, I was the fashion designer for a Bollywood drama dance show for the annual concert for Imperial College London. Their annual show ‘East meets West’ runs every March, for which I signed up as a fashion designer. I designed 20 outfits for boys and girls, and they performed on stage for a three-hour show which was also inspired by Bollywood.
Later on in the year, in October, I've signed up a contract for designing outfits for the contestants of ‘Miss/Mr/Mrs BritAsian’ UK pageant, which I'm looking forward to.
What is your recent collaboration with Imperial College London all about?
They approached me in the month of January, and they really liked my collection. They came across it through my website and Instagram, and their committee member, the choreographer, approached me asking if I was interested in designing outfits for a Bollywood-themed show. It looked quite interesting.
Obviously, we had a couple of meetings to discuss the theme of the event, and then everything went really well. It was 3 hours long, and everyone was glued to their seats. It was extraordinarily colourful and vibrant. The students had put in the best of efforts, and they practiced really well for three months. It was a big success.
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How are your preparations for the ongoing wedding season going?
This year, I've started a new sustainable collection. That is, I've added a new line to my collection, which is rented outfits. For this. I have designed a full range of outfits which my clientele can rent out rather than buying the outfit. So that's a new addition to my collection this year.
With the recent crisis, with price hikes and increasing costs of living, everyone is very much budgeting and trying to curb their expenses wherever possible. And obviously, not everyone is a bride. Not everyone has a big budget, but does everyone want to look glamorous at weddings? Absolutely. Thus, this is a good time to look into this and start a new rent collection.
All my customers are really happy. They get to buy the outfit, take pictures, have stories and then return the outfit. I'm getting a fantastic response from that collection.
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How did your journey into textiles begin?
I'm born in a Gujarati family and my dad and granddad are all from the textile industry. I've been born and brought up with fabrics throughout my life. Even my brothers and sisters are all very much accustomed and very familiar with different kinds of fabrics right from childhood. And I had a very big flair for art. I was good in drawings and paintings, and that’s how I got interested into textile designing.
I specialised in textile designing as a major in my university, with postgraduation in computer designing. Later on, I got awarded as the best textile designer in Mumbai in 1998. This annual competition was held by a very renowned company called ‘Bombay Dyeing’ for all the textile designers in Mumbai. We had to sit for four exams, and I came first in all four. That was the biggest achievement for me.
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What was the experience of moving to the UK from Mumbai like?
Mumbai brings an instant smile to my face. I was born in Mumbai. I've done my education, my university, and had my first flagship store there. I have a lot of good memories in the city. While there, I was working on the same concept of designing bespoke luxury wear for men and women, including coordinated shoes, bags and jewelleries. I also designed outfits for many TV actresses as well as film stars.
For example, I got the opportunity to design some beautiful outfits for [Bollywood star] Simi Garewal when she was hosting a show for Manikchand Awards. As you may know, she only wears whites, ivories and a neutral palette, so I designed something for her in white. It was a lehenga with all-over silver work, like diamanté and Swarovski. That's one of the outfits that springs to mind.
I achieved a lot of fame in Mumbai. When we moved to UK for personal reasons, I started my boutique here three and a half years ago. The concept remains the same as it was in Mumbai.
*Info: Oorvi Desai