Caroline Issa and Saloni Lodha on making long-distance friendships work
Formidable fashion names, they've stuck by each other through thick and thin
BY Maanya Sachdeva | February 12th, 2019
The two moved to London in the early 2000s, each pursuing individual careers in fashion. Caroline Issa was working at Tank magazine at the time, while Saloni Lodha was working a full-time job. A stroke of serendipity brought them together and, over a decade later, the editor-designer friends have stuck with each other. Today, Lodha heads her wildly successful eponymous label while Issa is counted among fashion’s most influential. While laying down the foundations for their own legacies, however, they never forgot to have fun. In conversation with each other, they reminisce dinners during fashion week to discovering the ‘best dosas in England’. Evidently, the friends share an incredible rapport. It is, most importantly though, the unfaltering, omnipresent support that they lend to each other, despite time differences, that makes their friendship one for the books. Here’s an excerpt from their recent catch-up:
Issa and Lodha at Saloni’s Spring/Summer 2011 launch
Caroline Issa: I moved to London in 2002 and met you a couple of years into me starting at Tank magazine. And our paths crossed through mutual friends, way before Saloni launched…
Saloni Lodha: Yes, you’re right. I created a red dress, when I was still working full-time, that Emma Watson wore, and I started getting all these phone calls. After that, I quit my job, and I did my first proper presentation in 2011 that you were there for.
Issa has always been a big supporter of Lodha’s label. Here she is pictured wearing Saloni Spring/Summer 2011
CI: I think what’s so amazing about you is that you have this way of making women around you feel incredibly glamorous, within themselves. Both your collection and you do that.
SL: I think it’s because I never wanted to do shows, but instead, build a brand that was a way of life, a way to have fun with your friends. I think fashion moves so fast, and having my own calendar (by not doing shows) has allowed me to have these intimate, special moments. It’s also about integrating authentic experiences. For instance, the first time I organised Holi Saloni, I went to Southall and found someone who could make idlis and dosas for the party.
Lodha and Issa catching up at Holi Saloni in March 2018
Issa celebrating holi at Holi Saloni in March 2018
CI: The best dosas in England! Can we talk about Holi Saloni in Udaipur last year with all your friends there to celebrate?
SL: I had been growing the brand organically until 2015, when I brought on investors. That challenged me to think about how I wanted to communicate the work of Holi Saloni. So I figured why not do something in Rajasthan, which is my home? I reached out to architects, set designers, photographers, hairdressers and told them this was not going to be a solitary idea. I wanted to create the context, a world around my clothes, the world of Saloni.
Lodha and Issa
CI: You had also curated a fantastic set of people. This was definitely one of your most incredible feats—from the fact that every single thing we had was bespoke to the connections that were formed. Which leads me to my next question, because of multi-city life—in Hong Kong, London, India, Milan—how do you keep your friendships intact?
SL: It’s about picking up where you left off—no matter how long it’s been since you saw each other. I mean when ELLE asked me to pull through the photos, I realised I had memories of us from New York, Paris and even from when I was pregnant at Selfridges. You start where you left off. I also think Instagram is a good way to keep up with your friends, and it always makes you feel close to them.
CI: I do feel that through social media, I’m able to follow where you are and what you’re up to. Here’s to 2019, where we can spend more time in person!