Driven by optimism and passion for her creations, Manjri Lall will debut her latest collection of all natural silk scarves at the Redress 2015 Spring Fashion Show next month. The core of her inspiration is quotes from the community. More specifically, all of the people that call Glenwood Ave. home. Manjri has been working alongside Raleigh citizen, Donna Belt, to create a chalkboard of quotes by the community, for the community. A place of self-expression and reflection of thought, Manjri is involved with this project because of her passion for connecting people from all walks of life through design. Manjri’s community inspiration is sure to radiate through her one of a kind designs at this year’s Redress 2015 Spring Fashion Show.
Explore all of Manjri's collections and designs on her website here!
Aleena: When did you decide to become a fashion designer?
Manjri: From a very young age I always knew I was an artist. While in my native country of India, I attended a textile school where I worked under one of the best designers in India--Satya Paul. He had a factory, was an exporter of fabrics and during my time here, I used to hand paint ties and saris there.
Aleena: What do you enjoy most about the design process?
Manjri: The pleasure of creation is what I enjoy the most. During the design process, I like to really talk and listen to people to discover exactly what it is they want.
Aleena: What do you enjoy most about the production process?
Manjri: I enjoy producing unique pieces. It does take a lot of time, and its hard work, but that makes the final product worth it.
Aleena: Which of the two do you find to be more challenging? Why?
Manjri: The actual marketing of my designs and then, selling those designs is the most difficult part of the process. My emotions are keyed in on the design and the artistic process more than anything else. I would definitely say that I have an artistic mindset rather than a business mind.
Aleena: What was the inspiration for your upcoming collection?
Manjri: The inspiration for my upcoming collection stems from the Glenwood Ave. community and the diversity of Raleigh citizens that call Glenwood home. There are all different kinds of people who live here and it all connects to the idea that creativity has no boundaries--the only limits in design and in life are the ones people place on themselves.
Aleena: How did you go about selecting materials for your upcoming collection?
Manjri: My materials for my collection are mostly from India, and I use silk as well as white embroidered lace, gold fabrics, and some sequins.
Aleena: What do you hope people will take away from your collection?
Manjri: The Glenwood Ave. chalkboard represents self-expression and this is exactly what I want people to take away from my collection. The chalkboard shows real, raw human thoughts and feelings from real human beings. Whatever is written on the wall, it isn’t perfect, but that’s life and humans are-- none of us are perfect.
Aleena: How do you incorporate sustainable design practices into your process?
Manjri: I use a variety of all natural silk fabrics which of course are all eco-friendly and sustainable. I never waste fabrics--I constantly use and reuse fabrics in different ways than before. Silk is not only eco-friendly, but it also flows really well with dyes, it’s extremely comfortable, and the numerous varieties allow it to be worn in all weather.
Aleena: Who are the designers and makers you look up to?
Manjri: Marc Jacobs is a very influential designer in today’s world and to me personally specifically because of one particular set he utilized for one of his many fashion shows. This particular set was a completely painted set and since I work with paints, this really fascinated me. Also, the Indian painting techniques of Kalam Kari.
Aleena: How do you plan to showcase the concept of “community” with your collection?
Manjri: The Glenwood Ave chalkboard wall is definitely the source of the quotes and core of my upcoming collection. The quotes and poetry from people of the community in addition to the overall positive outlook on life that is created by the chalkboard, my collection will directly reflect connecting and bringing everyone together. My models will be real people from the Raleigh community.
Aleena: What techniques do you use to create your work?
Manjri: To create my latest collection, I’ve taken questionnaires with all the models that will be in the 2015 Redress fashion show. I asked them questions about their favorite things and certain preferences in their daily lives to get a true sense of who they are and what they want to see in a scarf design. All the models will be wearing scarfs that reflect each of their individual personalities.