People who start young often achieve success in life. This is true for Nimeshika Vemulakonda, a 22-year-old fashion designing student who exhibited her work at the Milan Fashion Week 2020 on Tuesday.
From Odisha to Milan, it has been quite a journey for this young fashion designer.
She is winner of the ‘Best Collection’ and ‘Best Degree Project’ award at Symbiosis Institute of Design, her alma mater. She has interned at RAAS, Bhubaneswar, where designer Pritam Panda and Rashmi Mohapatra were her mentors. Together, they designed and created accessories using leftover Odisha Ikat textiles. She has also interned with VH1 Supersonic and STOREWALK, a startup company.
An alumnus of DAV Public School, Nimeshika won the “Next Gen Emerging Talent” title at the Asian Designer Week 2019.
Nimeshika’s diverse design projects are inspired by perfumes, fragrances, The Bermuda Triangle, textures etc. One is based on the Applique craft of Pipili. “For my craft documentation project, I was lucky to have chosen Pipili as my subject. We had to document the entire craft from how it is made to the people who are making it and the wage they are getting from it. We took a close look at the lifestyle of people living in Pipili,” she was quoted as saying by a local magazine.
Nimeshika and her team member Meetali Sikhwal blended the authentic craft of Pipili with their own imagination for the younger generation.
“We use vibrant colours traditionally and our aim was to make it appealing to the youth who prefer subtle and basic colours,” she said.
According to her, the sole purpose of the collection was to show the contrasting lifestyle of people living in Pipili, a colourful village where they lead dull and insipid lives.
Nimeshika feels Odisha has a lot to offer in terms of art and craft. “It is up to the youth to preserve and protect it. The key to preserving these art forms through fashion is to quirk up the style a bit. When traditional outfits are tweaked a bit, they catch the attention of the youth,” she said.
Nimeshika wishes to open her own brand in future and work under Shivan and Narresh, and Rahul Mishra, a Delhi-based fashion designer.
She rues the fact that not many youngsters get a chance to showcase their talent on a bigger platform. She also wants to change people’s notion that the fashion industry is only glamour. “We are always told that students of fashion do not struggle much and success comes easy due to our profession. This is not at all true,” she added.