When we watch a dance performance, the first impression which lasts through the performance and stays with us afterwards too, is the costume of the dancer. The costume can also make or mar a performance —the colours, the pattern and the extent of mobility it allows, its comfort etc. Sandhya Raman is one of the leading dance stylists, designing for some top dancers in India and abroad. In a conversation with her at her Desmania Studio in Delhi, we try to understand her work.
How did you get into designing?
My training is from NID (the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad). Before NID, I was doing textiles in an export house for a year-and-a-half. My boss there wanted me to do fashion, and I knew nothing about fashion. He said it’s not so difficult, draw fashion figures, you can do fashion designing. I would be very frustrated, because I would do some 200 sketches and only 4 or 5 would get picked up. Then I worked with this French designer who came to the export house. I would keep looking at how she drew - this is way back in 1987-88, when fashion was nothing great here. India was just a produce-and-send place. When I saw this woman do so much of it, I thought I should learn fashion. My boss never understood that textiles and fashion are two different areas and he can’t get the same thing from one person. But today, I think differently, after being trained in both areas.
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