Fashion designer and entrepreneur - Sanya V Jain, of Smoke Lab Vodka and Smokewear fame talks about aligning luxury with consciousness, nurturing a lifestyle brand with her husband/ business partner, and venturing into functional and gender-fluid fashion in the future.
1.We're all familiar with your endeavors as a businesswoman today but we'd love to know how it all started.
Sanya: I have always wanted to be able to use my voice for the things that I firmly believe in, one of them being able to live a conscious life--that’s how Smokewear developed as an extension to Smoke Lab Vodka. Getting the chance to develop ideas alongside designers and creating sustainable clothing seemed like the perfect opportunity to begin with!
2. You've managed to establish Smoke as a lifestyle brand that is now associated with glamour and style. Was this always the direction you wanted Smoke to go to or did it evolve over the years?
Sanya: Smoke Lab Vodka is a premium homegrown liquor label manufactured in India and is a brainchild of my husband. But I started Smokewear because I wanted to make a difference in the fashion industry which was consciously driven. As a result, Smokewear was born that aligned contemporary luxury with sustainability.
3. Just like the designer duo at Lovebirds, you and your husband are partners in business. How does this professional/personal dynamic work for you?
Sanya: One of the many perks of having my husband as my business partner is that there’s always an open exchange of ideas between us. We are constantly developing new ideas and helping each other grow. He is my support system and there’s nothing more that I could ask of him.
4. So what’s next for Smoke?
Sanya: Our collection with Lovebirds was a huge success and we were overwhelmed by the response we received from people to the idea of good design which is also sustainable. We have been working with the best Indian talents to create forms and aesthetics that push the ideas of non-conformity, gender identity, and functional fashion. Recently, we worked with a thrift store called Folkpants from Manipur that curated a mix of second hand and vintage clothes for us. There will be many more such interesting collaborations in the future too!
5. You're a mom of two and the the coronavirus-induced lockdown must've been a roller coaster ride for you. Take us through it!
Sanya: I’m a mother of two beautiful boys (two and four-years-old). They’re both delightful children and it's been a great honour to be able to raise them. The lockdown allowed me the time to give them my undivided attention and pamper them as much as I could. I home-schooled them, which was definitely challenging to balance time for work and family. However, I loved spending every extra second with them and still do what I love and thrive professionally.
6. The pandemic also gave rise to a whole new category of in-between clothing. How has this period changed your perception of fashion and shopping habits? How are you supporting local brands and artists in these trying times?
Sanya: For me, the true meaning of fashion has always been to reinvent ideas that catered to the changing times. The Folkpants collaboration was to work together with another local business to promote conscious and green fashion practices in a meaningful way. The profits raised from this campaign will be donated to the ‘I AM GURGAON’ organisation that has been tirelessly working over the years to help create a greener and cleaner Gurgaon.
7. Your style advice to us all/all-time favorite fashion trends.
Sanya: All I can say is that you should feel happy in the clothes that you’re in. For me it’s comfort over anything else. This year I have my eyes on more cozy, sustainable outfits.