BY ASAVARI KULKARNI
Fashion is a means of expressing oneself. Career-oriented persons in particular will find it vital to dress smartly in this dog-eat-dog world. Clothes, objectively, have always been related to socio-economic standing. Subjectively, they are used to reflect one’s state of mind.
Using these selling point trajectories, the fashion industry today is the fastest growing and most thriving of all time. Every day, hundreds of brands bombard us with commercials on television, billboards, social media and any other means available.
Hundreds of fashion designers are part of this race. Many make their impact, many fail, and many fade into obscurity. Because the fashion industry is ever-changing, it is extremely tough for ambitious fashion designers to make a living.
The words, Goa and fashion, complement each other. People in Goa are drawn to several developing brands. Modern Desi is one such brand attempting to build a name for itself in the fashion world.
Upasana Joshi, a young girl from the little mining village of Velguem in Bicholim, is establishing a name for herself in the world of fashion. Upasana, the daughter of Uday and Vidya Joshi, always desired to be an entrepreneur.
At the age of 19, she completed a short course and began working in the hospitality business. While working, she completed an online course in fashion design and a BBA. She has always been fascinated by the world of fashion and acquired a strong interest while studying fashion design.
When we talk about fashion, we don't just mean clothes; we also mean shoes, purses, makeup and jewellery. Upasana is well aware of this, therefore, she has not limited herself to sewing garments but has also taken courses in bag design, shoe design and so on.
One day Upasana quit her job to launch her own brand Modern Desi. Her clarity regarding concepts and future ambitions is a rare attribute in women her age.
She creates bags and clothing for her clients. She does everything herself, from designing the bag to choosing the fabric and other components and selecting the maker.
She studied the Goan market and discovered a niche for herself in Indian-style apparel.
Her concept is centred on handmade traditional Indian clothes with a modern twist, which extends to her bags as well. The fabric she chose features themes from north Indian art, such as ikkat and jamdani.
This belief in her ability has helped Upasana gain international clients in less than two years. She launched her business in 2019 and became ill during the pandemic. She only began selling her products through her social media handle in 2021.
Upasana also offers her products in various consumer shoppee sales held in Goa. She designs a variety of bags, including sling bags, backpacks, hand purses, box bags and office bags. She accentuates Indian attire or Western apparel with Indian fabric.
She also designs hair accessories to accompany her bags and dresses. Finding a proper market, which she believes is tough in Goa, is a huge hurdle in this business. Because women prefer foreign names, keeping product quality on par with these companies is another problem she faces.
Upasana claims that people in Goa, particularly those in small areas, are unaware of basic fashion notions. They label anything a shop, showroom or studio. As a result, it is an extremely difficult market to penetrate.
Therefore, she focuses more on online marketing rather than on domestic marketing.
She claims that studying fashion design in Goa is tough due to the lack of courses. Those that are available are quite expensive.
When asked how she would handle this challenge in the fashion business, Upasana stated emphatically that she is here to survive. She says she will continue her work, conduct a study in this subject and establish her reputation among prominent fashion firms.
Upasana wishes to establish her fashion studio in either Sanquelim or Panjim. She is pleased with herself for forging her path to entrepreneurship. Her parents were always encouraging and supportive of her decisions.
Upasana's tale is motivating for today's youth who are trying to find work and make ends meet. Coming from a rural area, where the nearest weekly market is 8 kilometres away; starting her brand; and exporting her items to the international market is a significant accomplishment. It will be fascinating to see her progress in the fashion world.