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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Shweta Wahi's Collection @ Pomp & Pageantry

Hello Loves,

     I have some awesome pictures to share with you from the amazing POP-UP I attended last weekend for my first interviewee, Shweta Wahi. Miss Wahi had recently returned from South Africa's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, and decided to dive back into the Toronto social/fashion sphere with this fantastic POP-UP! The lovely hosts of the Shweta Wahi experience was one of Yorkville's own, Pomp & Pageantry. The ultra-luxe shop is located right at Hazelton Avenue and Scollard Street in the poshest part of T.O.
   Bellow are images of the amaze-balls event. Enjoy!!! And, don't forget to check out Shweta's own website and facebook page.















Attached is my first interview with Miss Wahi, "When East meets West Fashion is Born", published on SNMFASH.com:


When East Meets West Fashion is Born       

            People will definitely be talking about the eloquent, young, beautiful and talented Shweta Wahi. SNMFASH had a pleasure interviewing Shweta as our first designer for the magazine. Shweta’s cool and collected interview allowed for me to really get to know her wonderful personality and actually have a conversation that helped to tell a story about Shweta’s own history and her line SOLACE.
            Shweta’s designs originate from her own heritage, being of Indian descent from Dubai, and only moving to Canada 2 years ago. Shweta’s travels inspired SOLACE, her clothing line, which is a representation of the Eastern and Western culture combined and made into a beautiful and vibrant whole. Fashion and design, as far as Shweta can remember, has always been apart of her life. As a child she would go back to India to visit her aunt who owned a garment exporting business, which actually exports to American labels we see from day to day. As she visited the factories Shweta noted, “I would just go to sit with the people in the factories and see how they work, and that’s basically when I decided that’s what I want to do.” Fashion already being a great part of what the Wahi family is about continued to inspire Shweta. She also has other aunts and uncles in Delhi and Bombay who design.
            SOLACE, being a combination of Eastern and Western cultures does not only stand for a geographical testament, but for a global female message that should be heard around the world. As I asked, “What does you fashion label SOLACE mean to you?” Shweta simply answered, “comfort.” But then expanded, “It’s finding comfort in yourself and being who you are, and being happy with the way you look. That’s basically what the label means. I try to showcase this through my clothes. I never just have a size zero model.” Shweta’s model choices are definitely noticeable. At her shows there is a range in body shapes and attitudes. These curvaceous cat-walkers allow for a garment to move and for the audience to actually picture themselves in these vibrant and unique ready-to-wear items. Shweta tells her models that she wants their personalities to show in her clothes, so she simply tells them that they don’t need to feel like they have to be a particular way. “If you want to smile, just smile. Like, just be yourself.” As a personal
slogan to all girls and woman Shweta recites her message and goals for SOLACE. “With comfort comes confidence, and confidence is always in style.” Shweta wants woman of all ages, shapes, and sizes to feel comfortable and confident, because with that mind frame they’ll always look good. “And that’s really the way it is,” she continued to say.
            This woman empowering slogan allowed for Shweta and I to actually discuss what clothing choices are available to the public. I myself am a curvy girl who also enjoys the eye-grabbing designer duds that walk the runway. So making a dress that is still beautiful and sexy bigger than a size 2 is always a good thing for a girl like myself, and females worldwide. As our feminist-esk conversation reared its end, the topic of Shweta’s vibrant colours allowed for a nice change in pace.
            Shweta’s colourful summer dresses were not always so. As she first started designing she was actually scared of using colour; her first collection was all black. Soon after starting at York University for Visual Arts, Shweta’s colour pallet changed to the other end of the colour spectrum. By using colours in her paintings for school assignments, Shweta was inspired to bring the colour to her new collection of garments, not just by using coloured fabrics but also by actually painting on fabrics. “I really love the sun and flowers, and colours in general. It makes me happy, so if I see it I want to try it,” Shweta concluded.
            SOLACE, being a new line has not yet found its target audience. However, that’s not always a bad thing. Because Shweta’s designs are so aesthetically pleasing she has designed for all ages thus far. “So far I’ve had girls as young as 12 and 13 years come to me for dresses. And I’ve had women as old as 50 to 55 years come to me for dresses. So, I think it’s nice to know that people of different ages find that they can relate to my clothing.” Having the ability to design clothing for all ages allows SOLACE to stay relevant and be somewhat of a fashion chameleon. 
            As SOLACE is a new company in its own right, so is the fresh new designer Shweta Wahi. Shweta is still currently attending York University for Fine Arts. Coming from India, Shweta experienced that the arts compared to business and sciences were not always a suitable subject of study however, the arts have always been an interest to Shweta. As such interests grew she started attending visual art classes outside of school at an art centre in the evenings where she studied drawing, painting, and fabric painting. I thought that Visual Arts at York would be a broader base to start from, because I was a bit unsure when I started SOLACE. I was only 16.5 years old, which is really young to decide that you want to do fashion for good. I figured that Visual Arts would give me the option of switching just in case.” Because the arts are in a way frowned upon in India, one would think that Shweta’s parents would also feel the same way, however I was pleased to hear that Shweta’s parents support her in all her endeavors from studying Fine Arts to creating SOLACE. “Making your hobby your profession is the best thing to do with your life, that’s what my parents have always said.” 
            SOLACE has also been apart of several events which make for a very impressive
repertoire. Shweta and her line have participated in projects from Project Haiti to the York University Designer search, both shows being charity based. As the interview continued I found Miss Wahi to be quite the humanitarian. So far all the shows Shweta has participated in have been charity based. Even as a child she would volunteer at the Dubai Centre for Special Needs. Social work and helping others has always been a big part of Shweta’s life and career thus far. However, don’t let this good girl image fool you, Shweta is as much a smart businesswoman as she is a budding designer, this is why she’ll be participating in Ottawa Fashion Week.
            Shweta is currently working on her Spring/ Summer 2011 collection to showcase at this prestigious event and is ready to make about 30 new pieces. At Ottawa Fashion week there will also be a designer market place where Shweta will have her designs out and available for buyers to fall in love with.
            As our interview met its end, it was time to ask the question that all designers fumble over, Where do you see SOLACE in the next few years?”This is the one question that I saw and I was like, uh… It is really difficult for me to say,” being Shweta’s first attempt at the question, however for a girl who had difficulty thinking about the future she definitely has a plan. “I’m studying at York University right now and I guess after this I do want to go ahead with post graduation. I definitely will continue to do shows in Toronto, because I plan on making it my base. Hopefully, I can make SOLACE into a more structured foundation, maybe a garment exporting company of sorts, or maybe collaborate with retailers, like SOLACE for ZARA?” Though she broke out into a little giggle with the last “ZARA” statement, Miss Wahi held a confident and positive attitude when describing her 10-year plan. Eventually she would like to set up a base in Toronto for SOLACE, and being so inspired by Indian and Dubai, she’d also love to showcase there.
            Shweta Wahi: student, artist, humanitarian, and designer, are only a few attributes that I had the pleasure finding out this interview. Wahi has proven that though she is only 19 years old, she has a good head on her shoulders, and many supporters who allow her to share her designs with Toronto, Ottawa, and soon the world.

-Brittany Sammy

Editor’s Note: Shweta Wahi’s SOLACE designs and custom work can be found at: www.shwetawahi.com


xo Brit Sammy.
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