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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Schulen Fernandes dons the creative mantle!

By Neehar Mishra
Photography: Courtesy Schulen Fernandes
Read Time: 3 mins

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Wendell Rodricks & Schulen Fernandes with a model

Schulen Fernandes, Wendell Rodrick’s protégé and now Creative Director of his label, talks to IAnD about her creative vision for the label...


When world-renowned fashion designer Wendell Rodricks announced his decision to hand over the reins of his label to his young protégé, the whole industry and its patrons were abuzz with surprise and anticipation. Now there is no doubt that Rodricks’ shoes are rather hard to fill, but a brief conversation with Schulen Fernandes is enough to put any apprehensions you may have had to rest. Self-assured, confident and brimming with ideas and energy, she is raring to take the label forward, reinventing it with her signature style, while making sure she keeps her mentor’s rich legacy alive.

IAnD: What are the qualities you admire most about your mentor Wendell Rodricks?
SF: His incredibly ticking creative mind flair for the arts. I've never known anyone, who can apply himself to so many things all at once and pack so much work and play in a day. I admire his discipline, humility, his hands-on approach to things and his constant need to learn and be inspired.

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IAnD: What are your greatest strengths as a designer and how do you bring them to the fore?
SF: Any designer's strength should be their belief in their creative style; knowing their clientele and sticking to their sensibilities irrespective of what's trending. That's how you stay classic and exclusive. I also believe that clothing should have a wearability value beyond the ramp with an edge of fashion, which could be via pattern techniques, fabrics, embellishments, colours or just the finish.

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IAnD: In what ways do you think: a) yours and Wendell Rodricks’ styles are similar? &  
b) they complement each other?
SF: a) Our minimalist approach to fashion and our constant endeavour to collaborate with domestic artisans and champion the eco-sensitive/organic vein of fashion.
b) Through our design innovations as well as our use of fabrics, embellishments and colours etc., we are pretty much on the same page always. That's where the trust in my taking over the creative aspect of the label factors in.

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IAnD: Should we look forward to seeing the label completely reinvented or are you planning to retain its existing design vocabulary?
SF: It would have to be a little of both. My blueprint for the brand would be to keep its classic minimal DNA intact, while infusing it with a contemporary twist. The dynamic will be younger, sassier silhouettes, new-age fabrics, driving the eco vein of the label further and extending the brand into other aspects of fashion merchandise and luxury lifestyle segments.

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IAnD: Tell us about your first collection for the label with you at its creative helm. 
SF: Personally, I love geometric shapes. With 'Trapezoid', we have reinvented the ancient shape in various dimensions of silhouette and style details that are hardly ever applied to fashion. We have also addressed the sizing issue with this most versatile form. In its regular dimension, it conceals the standard Indian broad-hipped body type (the pear shape). If inverted, it conceals the top/midriff-heavy body type. We have also introduced a few new diaphanous fabrics and created layered and sheer x-ray styled clothing … With 'Trapezoid', we have pushed the envelope to make clothes that are uni-size and age-neutral along with proving that pastel colours can also be a refreshing change for festive times - when all you otherwise see in India are manic jewel-toned colours.

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