an interview with the gopi skirt maharani

I am so happy that the gopi skirts by radhika give-away is going so well! thank you to everyone who has entered so far and keep spreading the word!

I thought it would be nice to get to meet the face behind the skirts (that sounds kind of weird, but you know what I mean...). I did a little email interview with radhika to get try to get into her head a little bit. I'm so happy I did! I totally admire her creativity and the values she brings to her process and products. I think you'll love her too!

the beautiful and talented radhika

tell us a little bit about your background - who are you and what brought you to fashion design?
I grew up on an idyllic farm "among the gum trees" in Murwillumbah Australia, a small country town. I would sit and watch my mother for hours...sewing dance costumes for me (I danced a lot as a kid).  some of my earliest memories are helping her choose colors, styles and prints.  I've also been involved for a long time in making 'Deity Outfits' for our local temple, which nourishes and inspires me in so many ways. finally my sister, Chandra, has been a constant source of artistic inspiration and guidance for me my entire life.  she's also a fashion designer and you can find her at apsara lifestyle.

why "gopi skirts"?
my designs are based on Indian three piece outfits consisting of: a skirt (aka lehnga), a blouse (choli) and a scarf (dupatta, chunni). this traditional type of clothing has been worn for many centuries throughout the Indian subcontinent. the word gopi translates as "milkmaid" and refers to the iconic female devotees of Krishna...so that's where my brand "Gopi Skirts" comes from.

what is your creative process like; how do you choose your designs?
my designs are a fusion of traditional and modern influences. I love the elegance of the ancient style, but recreate it in a fashion forward way, which is representative of my own life's fusion.  I've been wearing this style of clothing practically everyday forever, so I just design clothes that I would be thrilled to wear myself.  I simply envision beautiful outfits and then make them.  you might be surprised to know that I personally choose every color and every fabric for every outfit that I've ever made. I do it all in my mind; I don't even use "color wheels" and I'm really surprised that I rarely blow it.  most of my stuff ends up being "one of a kind."  Sometimes it's even hard to sell them, because I find them so inspiring that I don't want to part with them.  I'm always trying new things to be original and keep it interesting for myself. it's not a business for me (all the profits go to my local temple), it's service and a chance to express myself as an artist.

how do you choose your materials?
I'm into conscious living, and try to reflect that in my materials. I use natural fabrics, primarily just cotton. I've moved away from silk because of the cruelty involved in modern processing techniques, and haven't worn silk myself for ten years now, which in some ways led to everything...see the next question :)

do you feel like this is your calling?
now it's definitely a calling, but it didn't start out like that...originally, when I stopped wearing silk a decade back, I searched everywhere for gorgeous cotton indian skirts, just for myself, but there was nothing available anywhere. so I was forced to make everything myself. then people flipped over them and friends started asking me to make more so I did and things took off from there. now I see that this style of clothing has spread all over the world. it's amazing, because I was there at the start of it all. :)

what inspires you?
my spiritual life...my family and friends...being creative and original...service to others.

thank you so much radhika!!

1 comment:

shakura said...

I have been so amazed at the depth of artistry, integrity and compassion that Radhika iis naturally imbued with. I started out going onto facebook and finding Gopiskirts by Radhika because a young devotee at my temple told me about it. It soon became clear that not only are the clothes special and divine but so is the artist and creator behind them. I consider Radhi to be a real friend and we have not ever met. I now have many Gopiskirts and an inspired friendship, blessings in many colors.glemphos