Are you bold and adventurous with an insatiable zest for life? Is your wardrobe replete with edgy choices that make passerbys do a double take? If you fit this bill to a T, then we bet a gota-patti sari will never cut it for you in a traditional set-up. Which is where Papa Don’t Preach, a Mumbai-based label launched by Shubhika Davda in 2010, comes in. The Indian high street brand stands out in a clutter of me-too desi wear brands, owing to the rebellious spin they give their pieces—making them edgy yet effortlessly easy-to-wear. We talked to the brand’s Chief Fashion Officer and founder, Shubhika Davda in a candid tete-a-tete.
Luxemi: Tell us more about your label. Who is the quintessential Papa Don’t Preach woman?
Shubhika Davda: After completing my fashion design studies from London College of Fashion, I came back to India in 2010 and launched Papa Don’t Preach by Shubhika (PDP) as a high street brand catering to 16-35 year-old fashion enthusiasts. With strong influences from the London high street culture, I was always clear that PDP would mature into a brand that would design street wear clothing along with shoes, bags and accessories—in order to give patrons a complete look. Due to a strong demand from a fiercely loyal clientele, we forayed into bridal couture and Indian wear in 2012.
The quintessential Papa Don’t Preach woman is a free spirited risk taker. She is someone who displays a fiercely urban sense of style and is constantly experimenting and redefining her fashion boundaries. Think someone who is adventurous and relies on her own style sensibilities to stand out. She is not trend conscious, hence is always on the lookout for something unique. Which is why I do a lot of separates—to give them freedom to mix and match!
Your creations always feature a distinct touch of edge. What would you say are some of your signature styles?
Unabashed use of color as well as adventurous hand embroidery and patchwork detailing is our forte. I always try to use them in newer contexts though. For instance, our recent collection boasts of military-inspired tabs on saris and anarkalis. We retain the Indianness of the garment but make it younger. So no sari gowns coming out of our atelier! We play with silhouettes like skirts with draped dupattas and paneled crop tops—something only we are doing right now. Or then there’s the dhoti skirt-cum-sari along with a gathered pallu featuring latkans.
We focus a lot on accessories like body harnesses, waist belts, metallic busts, embellished shoulder rests and clutches too.
What are the coolest/chicest ways to wear a sari according to you?
It’s all about creating something interesting with what you already have. A lot of women these days have several net saris in their wardrobe. Just give it an unexpected spin by pairing it with an interesting panelled or printed petticoat.
You can also ditch the same old blouse and experiment with high street crop tops (try one with a logo or statement!) or a knotted or tucked-in shirt. But if you still wish to keep the look relatively traditional, then simply add a belt or funky body harness and play around with the drape.
What are the key traditional wear trends this season?
I think the sexiest part about us Indian women is our tiny waist. So make the most of it with traditional wear featuring nipped in waists. Longer blouses, but with strategic skin show are also very big this season. Think sheer blouses with delicate embroidery or a big cut outs on the back. With winter setting in, it’s a great time to play with jackets as well. Buy an essentially Indian jacket featuring mirror work perhaps, and style it in different ways—with a salwar, sari or even jeans.
A style advice that never fails?
I am all for comfort, but if you want to be really stylish, then it’s ok to compromise on that front. Sometimes, a little sartorial discomfort can take your entire look a few notches higher. It’s the way to go if you’re one who likes to be the centre of attention at all times!
Which are your favorite pieces from Luxemi’s latest collection?
What do you think of Papa Don’t Preach’s signature, edgy style? Tell us in the comment box!
Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi