Journey in Fashion
My journey in the fashion industry began in 2003 while pursuing my under graduation and engaging in part-time garment productions and designing . Being adorned in luxury myself,I've always been fascinated and admired the art of dress-making and textiles. I realised my calling from far beyond my motherland at a very tender age, to see the beautiful world of fashion.my flamboyant sense of style and attitude was adored and unaccepted due to societal norms.as a gifted dreamer and a visionary, I dint fit in the orthodox, age-old mindset. As a child, i wanted to change people's attitude towards dressing and was demanding others to step up their style.i dreamt of a city with no poverty, with just joyous folks around me dresses sharp. I was pampered, young and adventurous with a lack of realisation that the economy was driving people's lives. My desire to change the petty mindset in people to accept others for their humanity beyond wealth, race and culture drove me to explore my own world and create a world of wonders.my vision was to provide education, hospitals, women empowerment programs and bring the world big fashion in our city ,with opportunities for people to grow and build their lives in fashion. It irks me to see people dressing with a lack of taste. I wasn't sure if I was the odd on or they were. Even to this day, the place hasn't changed much and I realised poverty is what is holding people down. I want to be the one to offer a beautiful world of fashion to my people and make them realise the artistic mind of creating a world of love. So, I wanted to fly beyond the walls to explore myself through fashion and hence 'Adam and Alice'.
The inspiration for Adam and Alice was born when I first visited Paris in 2011 and was looking at those Biblical paintings at the Louvre and wondering, what if Adam waited for Lilith (named Alice here), instead of falling into Eve's temptation to eat that forbidden fruit? Was that an instinct of a Man that drove Adam to bite the forbidden fruit, which has now created chaos to mankind? What if Adam waited for Alice (the fantasy girl who has been waiting to see Adam that God promised to create for her) and had the instinct of Love in him to share the fruit with Alice, who has long waited for? Adam's choice of choosing Eve led him to a world of chaos and now man has to constantly run for hunger over creating a world of Love. This world would've been a beautiful land of fairy tales. Is it the tree of knowledge that man wanted or the tree of Life to build beautiful hearts? So, now there is so much chaos and how do we transform the wealth of knowledge we hold to build the tree of Life.
It is in my belief that every individual is talented and born with a gift and I have always been grateful to the universe offering me with a splendid mind to create, but the challenges made me realise my will to face the world of reality. The chase of finding my true purpose and realisation of who I am and what I loved was never understood by many around me including my mother.
It's embedded deep in my soul since childhood to be in fashion where the extravaganza and the drama never ceased to amuse me. Unlike others from my family, I was gifted with good education and a mind to find my freedom, but I've come across many girls from my own family bound with societal norms and struggling to express their own individuality and freedom. The village I come from, even to this day women are bound to rules formulated by society and culture. If they were given guidance and education to fly the world I am sure everyone will do wonders. The vision of Adam and Alice, I travelled to bring light, life and love.
Besides my many business ventures Adam and Alice is a journey of Love that I travelled to create a wonderland, where people enjoy fashion, building humanity with the concept of Love. I left home to find the Love of my life and freedom in 2010 and I never imagined that I had to confront many trials that destiny laid upon me to start the wonderland that I came for, which is part of now Adam and Alice - STUDIOS.
Fashion Technology -KCT college of Technology - 2003 - 2006
Image - Diploma in Multimedia studies - 2003 -2006
Hawest - Custom made fashion for Men and Women - 2006 to 2009
Projects - Crossroads,
Classic Polo, Dope, Corporate merchandise developments - 2006 - 2010
MBA - Anna University - 2008 -2010
Fashion Marketing - Oxford Blue- 2010 -2011
Birmingham City University
MA- Fashion Styling - 2010 -2011
ESTOXCONNECT- SUPPLYCHAIN MANAGEMENT
ADAM AND ALICE - THE RISE AND FALL
DAYS OF DARKNESS
FREEDOM & DISAPPOINTMENTS
I grew up taking inspiration from my grandfathers who left their ancestry to start their own ventures and were successful in their own right. One is educated and the other not so much but both carried their own ethics and values in life and in business which laid my foundation. All my life I've been around businessmen watching the rise and fall of ventures from both inside and outside, from agriculture , iron and steel , constructions, components manufacturing, silk textiles, tea business, hospitals, departmental stores, schools and so on. Both my grandfathers were tradesmen and found their passion, which drove me to find mine. I had many admirers and also those who disapproved of my attitude of being straight and eccentric, although people liked my sense of style. It was a big decision for me to choose between becoming a Doctor, B.Arc Architecture or Fashion. I wanted to explore life rather than settling for the ordinary. Once out of a conversation, I was told that people admire me for my fashion and I decided to enjoy life and explore the world of fashion through dramatic shows. I wanted to become a fashion designer making dresses and shows. I loved the glamour, the drama and creating newness in fashion which drove me to choose fashion and I enrolled studying Fashion technology and science of making textiles. My thirst for learning made me get into creative studies like media, arts, architectural drawings, character drawings , paintings, dancing and many more. I was also interested in filmmaking. I tried to work on some projects with Businesses on developing fashion, school and corporate merchandises, managing a retail store, exploring projects in garment production management and designing. I was not so happy inside myself doing boring tech-pack commercial drawings and the whole manufacturing industry was clothing rather what I wanted to see and that was not what I wanted for myself. It was beautiful to see passion in people's hearts when they create something unique, but otherwise I felt I was not made for clothing and always wanted to create the extravaganza. So, I started my own custom-made fashion studio making beautiful corsets, jackets and flamboyant dresses which looked so futuristic to people living there and they never got the sense of fashion that I was creating. I was too young to understand. As a business, it failed and I felt that was not the place for me. On the personal front, family restrictions on boarding my business ventures and going abroad were also restricted.
For 4 years I was confined to staying home and was not permitted to do what I wanted in my town and to marry on their arranged terms.All I wanted was a way out and to explore my free spirit and find love. I made all the attempts I could to leave home and finally in 2010, I managed to persuade my mother that I want to follow my heart and left home to live my freedom. It was also a way for me to prove to them that I was right and they were all wrong. On the contrary to my imagination, I landed in a strange land thinking it was my freedom without realising the adventures that awaited ahead. I promised to myself before leaving home that I will find my soulmate and create my own brand that will make a difference to my people. I wanted to build projects in community building, offering opportunities to people to study and grow, building fashion schools and hospitals. I was a fun loving fantasy girl and I wanted to create projects that will change the lives of people, where women from my town (ooty)can understand the power of individuality and show some empowerment rather than being confined in the kitchen. Although things have changed greatly after 11 years, but not the mindset, I sometimes wondered if I was wrong when I had to battle my ways here or they were all right choosing a compromised life. I never understood. But in time, I saw that I was the happiest soul with a free mind and free thinking despite the mountain of hurdles that laid in front of me to give life to the great vision I encountered to travel.
Least did I know, such a great journey will have great sacrifices. Every step up the ladder I climbed, I was losing one thing after the other at home. The path behind me started growing dark and I was left to travel the only path that laid in front of me. I neither could live here facing the war of life nor could I go back to rescue anything or anyone at home. I became a prisoner to the path I proposed to travel. There was no going back but to fight it all out one after the other for 11 long years to even survive.
Landing at Birmingham City never felt new to me. It was more like my hometown Ooty. My first mission was to name my brand. I started my first business in the name 'Hawest'. Hawest was a jumbled version of my first name. Then I decided it must reflect my vision and my journey of finding the love of my life. So I decided to travel to Paris to begin from there. In feb 2011 the city of Paris and the paintings at Louvre hallucinated my thoughts of a magical land that I had always wanted to see in the paintings. I have read many books on fashion and art and wanted to see them all and explore the minds of those creators. For some reason, the Biblical painting of Adam and Eve struck me, the origin of all. The Love between a man and a woman. Well, studying was a part of the journey. In my personal life it was a beginning to realise the world of reality after 24 years of childhood. My first lesson was to learn about poverty in life. I ran out of cash touring around and I did not want financial backing from home. When I was given a choice to choose between freedom and assets, I chose freedom to find Love. Hence, I decided to work in KFC & Burger King, jobs recommended to make my living while studying. First time in my life I was put in a position to fend for myself.I started crying wanting to go back home sometimes. It was my first time going to a bank, opening my account myself, picking up public transport and everything strange. It all started getting harder and harder in time. My soul was crying and I have always said to myself, I was made for greater things in life. It was heart-breaking for me to see people who were toiling their lives working hard labour jobs for their entire life. All I could do was to offer my support talking to them. I realised the worth of home. Being born in a family where we were used to giving people and leading people, I was not enjoying the position of being in poverty. But I enjoyed studying and I was happy doing creative jobs making my own costume, painting, film-making and so on. My tutors found that I was too ambitious to take on such a project within a short span of time. But that is what I wanted to do and explore my own capabilities within me to build my brand. It was a journey of finding myself first and what I'm capable of. I called that project "Am". After my graduation I started making my first logo on "Adam and Alice", in 2012.
Being an immigrant finding jobs after university became challenging and I faced racial discrimination in the fashion industry at that point in time. I was working back to back in KFC, Burger King and Oxford Blue. It was my learning curve. I needed the money to survive. While I was working at Oxford Blue, I started my own Ebay business under the name Haawesto Limited working from my bedroom. It was also the time my PSW work visa was coming to an end and I had to figure a way out to survive. In 2012, I created the logo and drafted my plans on making Adam and Alice a global brand. To build a brand like I envisioned and to give a life for this aspirational aesthetics, I needed both money and connections in this country. I started analysing the fast fashion trends and the luxury markets for the first 3 years from 2011-2013 alongside the ebay business. Market study was key for me to buy the right high-street stocks to trade. While I was doing Ebay, I had to file for an entrepreneur visa and I had no sponsorships. My grandfather passed away and I was unable to go home and realised how he would have pampered by getting me all the luxury I wanted in his days. It was then, my biggest fall of my life, as he was a root to 5 families. It was just the beginning of my battle. There was no going back for me at all and no one to call for help. I was losing control of the family and businesses at home. I refused to go back to look after the estates or his business as that was not my destiny. But I had to stay here in the UK to live and fight to seek what I came for. That was a point where many people took advantage of my vulnerability as I was new to the UK business laws and system. I had my first refusal letter from the Home office and I had to rearrange everything to make my second application, which got granted in 2013 early. Those were the lonely days with no soul contact after University. Lived in Birmingham for 3years all alone in a flat after graduating, got used to living alone.
I left to India for a short break to find my strength and give myself a new beginning. I wanted to create a short term project to build my long term vision and supply-chain was at my disposal. I wasn't happy doing that business as it was not me and I had to run with it to make a living temporarily. What I wanted to sell and what the market wanted was so different and cheap fashion was dominating the market and I was watching young designers falling and chasing passion. I was running in the dark chasing money and survival myself. I helped brands develop theirs, but in return they were breaking my heart. I was hiding my real self and was just running for money and was losing myself in time. Late in 2015, I managed to design and construct the property with some support on the industrial / recreational project at a 50 acre site, to start the project and unfortunately I was unable to complete due to my visa restrictions, I had to come back and I lost many deals that were coming my way to build the projects. Our family business began to collapse and my presence was essential in the UK, as well.
Early in 2015, the mysterious man I met reflected an aura, which took my memories back to my previous life and sensed there was unfinished business with him. I could not stop thinking of him and something about him raised curiosity in me to know more about him to find who I am. He had darkness in his soul and I wanted to help him out. I also wanted to see more of my past life through him to know more about me. He came to me as a bringer of light who guided me to follow my path again which was forgotten in time in the game of chasing money. He was right that I should follow my heart. He was life inspiring and gave me light to begin the Adam and Alice project again. I started to work on my first collection in 2016, which I launched in Germany with Enterprise Global Network and I was given an invitation to go to 10 Downing street. I was slowly beginning to come to light and was seeing my true self rather than doing Estox, which kept me in the dark. I am a born creator and felt I needed to explore myself and my spirit rather than growing in depression doing things where my heart was not set on. It was not a smooth sail with Estox either and I wanted to start textile courses, but all in vain fighting for my visa.
Soon after my first launch in June 2016, my second phase application came into picture. I lost money, I lost the deals to build the project and more damage back home with next apocalypse ahead of me.I was also losing this mysterious man who came into my life at the same time for which I had no answer and I chased the hell out of him for 4years to find answers despite all that was going around. I felt like he gave a torch and left me in darkness again. I fell in Love and was chasing him. I did everything I possibly could for him to open his mouth and talk to me again. He was hiding from me and all I wanted was an answer for his silence as a friend.
I had to gamble big time to build this brand and I had to keep moving forward on the other-side. I filed my next application in Jan 2017 and started to work on the launch of my next collection, which I called it Life as it was the collection inspired by my Paris visit and also Amsterdam.
I was thinking I am climbing up and giving life to my brand, but I was losing all and by the end of 2017, I was on streets with no money, so was my mom, they finally moved away to Bangalore.
That year 2017 was an unforgettable year. My deportation news arrived on the day I was to showcase my collection for the first time on a stage on June 3rd. I was standing in a litigation case to fight on my supply-chain business, my family on streets losing all the money and business with all ancestry taken away without my attention along with this letter in my hand. All doors shut and there was no way to walk out. I was on stage smiling at my destiny.
There was no going back for me at all but to stay and face even if it was hell. The days were growing darker and I had to keep the light in me glowing and ignite one after the other to see my path ahead. In time, while fighting I lost to see what I came for.
I never stopped trying and managed to do a store launch in Sep 2017 while I was fighting my cases against the Home office. I was homeless and I had no accommodation to rescue and somehow managed to find a room on a short term basis. There was no money in my pocket to pay rent and the case against the home-office was consuming me a lot.
I was called to the police station to report and I had no choice but to challenge the Home Office's decision with no money to pay any lawyer and I had to do the case-filing all by myself and somehow had a few hands helping me out representing me at the court.
While I was walking on the stage, it was not just a brand I was trying to build but a family of Adam and Alice that I foresee to build who can be pillars to the foundation I am to create and I decided to find them in my journey.
My friends were startled that I never cried after all I was going through but I was facing all with a big smile with light in my heart, in spite of having a feeling of darkness stuck to my chest. That was not just the end of it besides nightmares haunting me and days of dark souls around me. I had very few pennies left to buy my food and I managed to buy food for some women with children when I just had £20 in my pocket. I was not sure if that was a blessing that made me travel further ahead.
My case with the Home office was still going on and I shifted 3 accommodations in 1 year all over London, with my office one direction, warehouse in a different location and myself in some corner of London. I had to slow my operation with Estox and focus on Adam and Alice to keep going. Then an opportunity came to showcase with House of ikon and I took the chance of making a new collection and managed to pay to participate. I took all the financial risks I could to be on the stage. Anyone at that point would have given-up, but I decided to take a chance and I was there on stage again. I called that collection Journey through the dark and they were testing times of my life. It was a fully handmade collection with fine craftsmanship with laser technology. My intentions in any of the shows were never about just selling, even though I would have loved it if my passion was bringing me money, which most designers wanted. My priority was to get out of my problems first. It was about Love and the journey I wanted to travel and was willing to cross the ocean to meet the love I am destined to meet first and I know my other half is capable of changing everything. My brand was my only light to fight against all the odds that came my way. I knew to fly great heights there will be mountains of challenges and also time. So I have to keep calm, smile and just travel my heart. It is an aspirational brand that I wanted to build so I could not settle for less. For me it was only a path, not the destination yet. I was travelling through the tree of knowledge to enlighten myself and I had to push forward.
In the journey I had the opportunity to meet many people and experience life differently and somehow money and help also followed to do my deeds. I remember I had no money left to pay after the show for the taxi to even go to an interview , but it all happened. Many people came my way to guide and left. The brand gave me another chance to explore my talent in events and I started organising pop-up events for other brands, which made me survive. If I had not taken my chance at House of iKon and was holding the money building product, I would not have explored myself in events which got me press connections that came my way. It was all about the image when it comes to brand building over product making that many designers fail to realise and try chasing money to sell products, when money is just an element to do our deeds. I know deep inside me Adam and Alice is not just a Fashion brand and I know what I am capable of building. It was time that was testing me.
I decided to do events not just for business, but for the person I fell in Love with and wanted to show him that I am everywhere-ever he goes. He never gave me a chance to speak my heart out and left me to darkness. Events were my only way to make him see me and win his heart. We were also bumping into each other from time to time and for that reason, I was doing events from time to time. He was my inspiration.
Finally by the end of 2018, the Home office withdrew the case and granted my stay and I had the chance to leave home to face the consequences. It did not all end with Home office, going home was just a small break to overlook things and to get ready for the next drama of my life with Home Office. It was only a breathing space and I left home empty to feel that it was not my home anymore and decided to fight my case there for my mother. It was like a never ending battle of life and I had to return back making a decision to abandon everyone to their greed. I also left the mystery man for something I could not forgive him and realised my deeds of my previous life and why I was going through all the pain. I had felt many dejavu moments as if I had lived this life before and met a few people somewhere . All looked different in age and time. By the end of 2018, I lost all my grandparents and everything connected.
I still continued to make my next collection to showcase and by then I was ready to organise my own events and start voicing out on true fashion.My battles were larger than life and I could not separate my personal life from Business.
I called for a press day on Sustainability with a Love message to all. It was a time, talking green agenda was to dogs ears, when the world was all about cheap culture. I had no choice but to run one event after the other and managed to showcase at 9 events just in 2019, some organised by myself and few organised by others.
The show on gender equality was quite a hit along with the Maddox club scarf show. It was growing from product industry to events and media industry. I enjoyed the shows and loved creating the drama which gave me joy. I was happy making people happy in spite of being hurt inside . But even in the events industry, people never valued the efforts of a creator. For me there was a nostalgic feeling of my school and college days where I was on stages winning awards. Making someone happy is the point of events and wondered if anyone saw that and valued it. The whole system is driven by money rather than making life. I could see very few good hearts and the age of millennials failing to see the creators' efforts and are driven for no good. It frustrated me in the end and I could understand the frustrations of the old school boys who were all my supporters. Was it worth fighting the war or not was unsure to me, but there was no other choice. All my other projects Estox, Click and make, Lifestyle club never grew as much as Adam and Alice. Estox was making money along with issues because of the system. Going penniless was not new for me again and I had to file the application again and raise my voice for all the nonsense on the sustainability and fashion revolution movements that was going on. In the past 10 years of my journey in fashion, I hardly recollected meeting beautiful hearts. Those who were calling themselves sustainable both big and small brands knew what they were talking about. In the end I lost my passion of becoming a designer. If someone could make money and live out of their passion then the industry would be beautiful. Textile is such an industry which is passion driven, but the industries driving the sustainability trend by exploiting people. Any business is profit driven and climbing the ladder of success is all good. But killing passion to drive that profit was not good and copy paste culture does not add value to the Fashion industry but devaluing work of creators like myself who enjoy creating what we Love. Because Fashion is cheap it has become an industry with no value and integration, hence I decided to start this Evolution Program on a green agenda.
Three women who came in my path made me hold back on supporting. For the first one, I gave wealth of knowledge to build her brand, who filed a case against me and she had to pay the penalty for mere revenge and jealousy on me. The second one, I ignited her soul but she got so jealous and left with a misunderstanding. Third, who never valued the efforts. Besides the second one the first and the last were focused on money rather seeing what else they gained in their path with me. So, I was thinking why the joy of the creator in making their dreams should not be rewarded ? I felt that we are standing in a world today, where there is no value for wisdom, no value for efforts, no value for true Love. I realised that to do good, we need money, even though money cannot buy all. Events are the only way people can see things.Events are the only way people can see the larger picture.
I was quite lucky that some people turned around to help me out and I declared Evolution Fashion Week early 2020 soon after making my final application with the Home office. Many in the fashion industry thought I was a competitor, when I had my own path to carve to reach my destination. Only if all the young creatives could work together they can achieve rather approaching from an angle of competition. So, I called for Evolution fashion week just before COVID and I was so happy to see the settlement declared from the Homeoffice soon after the event.
Just before the day of the event, I was at a private party with some influential people in the media industry. I somehow sensed I was standing at the time to meet the one I had long waited for all these years and for that one unknown person I sailed across the ocean of trials.
i was given a contact detail to meet one of the top luxury retailers to showcase my collection. I wanted to take the chance, but I was quite skeptical if that was the person, seeing the name and I approached like any other business opportunity.
Later , a strange contact of mine called me one day saying that he has got something for me that will help me. All I knew in my heart, I did not want to miss any chance and I ran to see him and surprisingly, I finally met the one I wanted to see. When I sat next to him on the first day, I could sense his heart and his aura. My heart was literally shouting, "Oh my GOD! this is the one". I didn't even see his face properly on the first day and I was just being strictly business. He called my name before leaving the door and I turned back to see him before leaving with a thought on my head of finally meeting my Life and feeling my life is finally back. He was a resemblance of another me. I was startled to hear a news of grievance which struck my heart soon after meeting him, which was the loss of my father on the same day. The second day our meeting made me see the greatest disappointment in the journey of Love I travelled.
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