Swedish-Indian designer Sofia Shonali Mehrotra (26) launched her eponymous label during her final year of master’s in International Fashion Management from London College of Fashion. Her handcrafted designs seamlessly blend traditional Indian and minimal Scandinavian aesthetics to create classic and contemporary silhouettes. Expect trans-seasonal and timeless creations including sari-inspired scarves, upcyled pouches and hair ties, along with carefully curated jewellery in the web shop. We caught up with her to find out more.
Sofia Shonali Mehrotra
ELLE: What was the inspiration behind your first collection?
Sofia Shonali Mehrotra: I was inspired by my vibrant bicultural family, with an Indian grandmother who wore saris even after she moved to Sweden and the simplicity of my Swedish maternal side. The first accessory collection was scarves, as it is a central element to Indian dressing. The muted tones and subtle prints of the scarves were influenced by Swedish minimalism.
ELLE: Take us through your creative process.
SSM: There’s no set pattern; often I simply scribble my ideas and sketches on a napkin and take it directly to our producers. As we start to create, we see where it leads us. Or, at times for a couple of days in a row I focus on only designing things inspired from my travels or simplest of the things from my daily wardrobe.
ELLE: What are the fabrics used in your accessories?
SSM: Since the beginning we have only used natural materials including silk, wool and cotton for our pieces and upcycle pre-owned saris to create unique pieces out of them like the Damyanti pouch, scarves and sarongs. Surplus fabrics from our production are used to create hair ties in limited editions.
ELLE: Which is your favourite piece from the collection?
SSM: The round mini straw bag, handmade by artisans in Manipur. It works perfectly, when paired with your everyday clothing as well as for a day at the beach.
ELLE: What’s next for the brand?
SSM: We are soon launching a vintage limited-edition line of pre-owned furniture from India. We have restored and given the pieces a new upgraded look with fresh wooden pieces.
Photographer: Tobias Lundkvist