Text by Akanksha Pandey. Photographed by Mallika Chandra
Over the course of the Indian fashion scene’s evolution, Ruchika Sachdeva, founder and creative director of Bodice, has established herself as a visionary in the already saturated luxury market. When she started out in the early 2010s, she came equipped with a sharp understanding of what the modern woman demanded: androgynous styles, comfort workwear and chic minimalism, an ethos that informs the home-grown label’s contemporary edge.
If you, like myself, have followed Bodice’s successful trajectory, which includes winning the Woolmark Prize for womenswear in 2018, and kept up with Sachdeva’s personal Instagram, then a recent change will be evident. Her posts appear to be more fun and aware, a mood that is also embodied in her latest collection. For some, it might simply come down to the confidence she now noticeably exudes, but I see it as a reflection of a deeper journey toward self-realisation.
In an exclusive conversation with Verve, Sachdeva opens up about her newfound perspective…
How has the pandemic affected your mindset and work? What is your current state of mind?
I think last year pretty much covered the gamut of emotions. From surprise and shock to frustration and feeling lost. And we all dealt with it in our own ways. I found refuge in creating. For sure, we faced a lot of challenges that we had never dealt with before, but it also held a mirror in front of us and made some of us, including myself, question why we do what we do. Fashion is often thought of as something very frivolous and “unnecessary”, so I was thinking of how I can contribute positively in my own little way. In that process, I rediscovered the sheer joy in making clothes, minus the stress and anxiety of deadlines. It was quite freeing, really. As of now, I am excited, thrilled and even hopeful for what the future holds. Difficulties end up making you stronger, and my strength lies in honest expression through Bodice’s creations.
Considering the broader conversation around the relevance of Fashion Weeks in today’s time, how does it feel to be showcasing at the Grand Finale of FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week’s first “phygital” edition?
I have always questioned the current cycle of fashion shows and think it needs an upgrade, which is what this show signifies for me. An epic unification of FDCI and Lakmé, a “phygital” medium to suit the current times and, most of all, a hope that after these struggles and all our hard work, we will perhaps see better times again. Bodice only participates in shows when I feel I have something valuable to say, which I hope to convey through this collection.
How does your collection signify the milestone of Bodice completing a decade in the fashion industry?
That milestone happens to coincide not only with FDCI and Lakmé coming together but also with it being one year since the lockdown was declared in India. So it is definitely a mixed bag of emotions. But I think what has remained common through both the decade-long journey and this past year is the joy in creating. The collection is named Ready. Set. Play., and it came to life at a time when we were all looking for ways to find some cheer amid the gloom, and I was no different. In tough moments like these, it becomes important to look back and discover what made the journey thus far so unique and special. With that came the realisation about the significance of things that were forgotten, overlooked and undervalued. And to me, it isn’t as much about completing 10 glorious years of Bodice as it is about the delight of building it again from the ground up, piece by piece adding two, three, five blocks more for every one block that fell out. So, the collection draws from all that and more. It brings out the fun of the process and highlights the reason why we continue. We’ve tried to imbibe light, joy and colour into this collection, which directly ties with Lakmé’s beauty theme #MiniPlayMegaSlay, of finding joy in small things. We’ve built something from scratch. This collection also has a lot of colour play, something we are exploring to this extent for the first time. We’ve also played with the silhouettes and kept everything in line with the Bodice signature – trans-seasonal, mobile and extremely comfortable.
Where do you feel fashion is at today?
I believe “fashion” can’t be summed up because it is a reflection of the times we are in, and that in itself is so uncertain. But I think fashion in general is at a point where planning even three months ahead is something we can’t do with surety anymore. Fashion houses are surely being held accountable for their environmental footprints, and they are becoming increasingly transparent, which hopefully, could translate into a worldwide trend that will ground the industry.
syndicated from Verve magazine