Shilpa Reddy is not just a name. She is a brand to reckon with. It’s her sheer talent and dedication that made her stand out in the crowd of designers that cropped up in the city. Known for her unique Indo-western designs, fine cuts and embroidery, she has come a long way from being a model to leading the models with her creations. And guess what keeps her going? The designer says that it’s not just fashion, but also her love for creativity that makes her popular. Here are a few excerpts from an exclusive interview where Shilpa shares a few things about her personal and professional life.
What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
I was a creative person since childhood. As a kid, I was always into sketching, drawing and crafts. I believe that I was born to be an artistic person and I have always known it. The designing bug caught me at a very early age. It was during my ninth and tenth grades that I actually started designing clothes for myself. I would make something out of my mom’s old and unused saris. Later, I started experimenting with my friends’ clothes and nurtured my skills over the years. I even pursued fashion designing from JD Institute of Fashion Designing, which gave me a chance to understand certain technical aspects. The specialisation course I did in Canada gave me a better perception on the industry and trends.
How would you define fashion?
Fashion for me is not following trends or someone. Fashion is something you own and experiment. It should show who you are, what a joyful and colourful person you are — classy, elegant, dignified — and bring out the best in you.
How did you manage to scale such great heights?
I think it is my work that fetched me success. But I think I choose what I love; my work is original and speaks for itself. I think everyone is unique in their own way. Just keep following your heart and there is no way success can elude you.
How supportive was your family?
I should thank my parents for being very encouraging from the beginning. They always respected my ideas and encouraged me at every step. Next comes my husband Preetam Reddy who has become my biggest support system after marriage. It was he who saw the talent in me and encouraged me to take part in Gladrags Mrs India contest in 2004, which I won. Then happened the Kingfisher calendar which was a big sensation then. He encouraged me to take up modelling, and start my own business. Once I started, everything fell into place.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
My first priority goes to the family. For profession is a small part of my life. I think one should be clear about what they want to do. Once you know that, you can always balance your personal and professional life. You should know what you need to dedicate your time to. This is why I took about seven years to embrace motherhood as I want to be a good mother.
What’s your take on feminism?
I think feminism is all about equal opportunities. I feel a woman should not lose her femininity, the love, grace, devotion and nurturing nature. One should always retain her womanhood.
We hear you’re an enthusiastic traveller. What is your favourite holiday destination?
Maldives is my all-time favourite. I think it is a complete family destination and I love it the most. It gives us a chance to spend some quality time with each other.
What do you in your free time?
I love spending time at my home garden. Whenever I get a chance, I make sure my family eats healthy and nutritious food. And oh, I am a pet lover too and have two dogs at home. Being a fitness freak, I indulge in some fitness activities as well.
Can you share the best moment in your career?
The show in Paris, on top of the Eiffel Tower, I think is the best moment till now.
You’re known for your Christmas celebrations. What are your plans for today?
The tradition of celebrating Christmas dates back to my Canada days. It is one thing I borrowed and continue till date. The Christmas tree fascinates me the most. I decorate it with my family pictures and other items, besides a gift under it for my six-year-old son. Every frame that I place on the tree has a story to share. Every year when I put up the tree, it brings back a lot of memories. I also attend the party that Amala Akkineni organises every year.