Not many are acquainted with the fact that veteran designers, Ashima and Leena’s relationship blossomed from being friends to becoming sister-in- laws who shared a deep passion for Indian crafts, which resulted in the birth of a brand label. Back in the early 90’s, while Leena had a Masters degree in English Literature & a Law degree in Income Tax, Ashima on the other hand is a NIFT graduate who eventually landed a job as a merchandiser for Big Joes. Coincidentally, Leena also joined the same company which led them to creating a legacy in Indian craftsmanship and unique silhouettes for a woman who is close to her roots.
Traditional marries modern with a vintage for the modern woman1. How did your journey in the fashion world begin two decades ago? My journey began 27 years ago, with the launch of my brand ASHIMA-LEENA (AL). The map of my future took a complete turn from a lawyer, to a fashion designer, when I chose o embrace my ‘passion’ as my profession. Discovering my true calling. I conceptualised and gave birth to the brand Ashima-Leena. Ever since, my journey of drawing sartorial dreams has been truly inspiring. It was never a smooth drive; there were bumps and a multitude of turning points. However, the long road led me to a ladder to success. The appreciation and attention Ashima-Leena generated was highly motivating. I am a founding member of Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI). 2. What has been your most memorable moment in your career? I often recollect the day when Designers JJ Valaya, Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Ashish N Soni and I were sitting with the Director of NIFT and the idea of organising INDIA FASHION WEEK were conceived. It makes me elated to see how this decision has helped the fashion industry take a leap towards success. The industry has evolved drastically. Quite like the eminent designers of the industry, every brand found an inspiration to present a magnificent fashion story on the ramp, and there was no looking back for us. 3. What is the Ashima Leena label synonymous of? "Ashima-Leena" combines Indian craftsmanship with innovative western silhouettes to create an enigmatic and distinctive looks. The design philosophy of the brand strives to bring out the best in every woman through ensembles that are traditional yet contemporary. Prominence on textile, attention to detail, fabric development and complex grand embroideries are the trademarks of the ingenuity of the brand. 4. What are the key inspiration and elements that are present in all your collections? Prominence on textile, attention to detail, fabric development and complex grand embroideries are the trademarks of the ingenuity of the brand. 5. What advice would you give to young inspiring adults who seek a career in fashion? One can silently work and contribute towards the growth of the industry. Interacting with students and young designers has always been a fulfilling endeavour for me. AL gives training to innumerable students of various design schools and also offers them placements. Once their training period period is over, the students are allowed to work in various fields of fashion and are groomed enough to take on the challenges, the industry throws on them.