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Fashionable Indian Influences

By Diana La Vigne

There has been a surge in international influence on the world of western fashion and India has been at the forefront of that wave. Boston based and internationally recognized designer, Sheela Mehrotra-Joshi is helping the fashion world achieve new heights by bringing together the South Asian flair of her clothing and jewelry lines with a meticulous knowledge of the world of fashion. She has the winning combination!

Sheela Mehrotra-Joshi launched her label, Omaskas, in early 1999 with instant success. In her 20's, she already has a gained a significant amount of exposure and recognition. Omaskas labels are sold in India, England, and the United States. Her clients span the entire globe and she has a portfolio sporting over 500 original sketches and designs. She trained in Studio Art at school, and started her career as a Costume Designer in India, which have given her a solid feel for the fashion industry.

Ms. Mehrothra-Joshi is no stranger to success. Her collections have been featured by Fox TV-20, glossed the pages of Platinum Magazine and received a Visions Award in 2001. Additionally, her collection has graced stages around London, India, Boston, and Belgium. In 2002, Sheela looks forward to showing her collection in Montreal and New York as well. Her motivation is strong and her path is clear.

Indian Inspirations Ms. Mehrotra-Joshi lives in a world of enhanced awareness and her creations mirror the influences found around her. She also takes the time to research her client's needs and desires so that her designs reflect the client's personality. "I draw from techniques such as weaving and embroideries, fantasy, folklore, tradition and then incorporate those ideas with todayís society and media. I do depend on understanding the psyche of the target consumer. Intensive experiments, preparations and long hours of research with the notion to restore and reinvent old traditions are the backbone of Omaskas," states Sheela..

Fashion Driven Sheela knew she wanted to be a designer from childhood. Designing is her passion and it is evident in her work. It is difficult to envision her in any other career path. " I canít remember the first time I realized that this is what I wanted to do with my life. It began with a notion that I had a story to tell. You will notice that each collection has a story or a purpose behind its development." Notes the designer, "On a trip to India one summer, I would sit on the side of the street and watch women weave on looms and embroider yards of material by hand. Ideas started racing from paintings to interior design."

Most people are not fortunate enough to realize their calling so early on and so clearly. All designers face, at some point, misconceptions about their profession. Sheela is no exception but takes such things in stride. She makes sure everyone knows the amount of effort and dedication needed to be a successful designer and prides herself on helping others understand the Fashion Design profession.

Sheela offers, "The misconception is that it is not a profession but a hobby. Iíve learned to deal with the criticism just like any other artist. It is a really tough road to travel especially being South Asian and having the majority of my social circle include doctors, lawyers or engineers. But I see it as any other business. You have an idea and passion and then you set goals and sell. Designers canít depend on a check every month that comes in signed by the accounting department. What we do depend on is building a lifestyle and our craftsmanship. The wealth will follow."

To reach Sheela Mehrotra-Joshi, call her studio at 617-290-4631 or visit Omaskas online at www.omaskas.com.

Article Reprint: Courtesy of the Newbury Street and Back Bay Guide

(Diana La Vigne is the Executive Producer for BNN-TV 9 "Itís All About ArtsĒ (www.artfulgift.com/cable) and a feature writer for the Newbury Street and Back Bay Guide (www.backbayguide.com). Having been influenced by her travels around India, Diana is involved in the Boston Indian community via her role as a founding member of Samta (www.samta-int.org) which is a mentoring program for Southern Asian high school students. Additionally, Ms. La Vigne produced ďFor the Love of IndiaĒ for BNN TV which is a video exploration of Indian dancing, music, and mehndi. In her free time, she dances with the MIT Bhangra team including performing on India Day at the Hatch Shell. She can be reached at lavigne@post.harvard.edu or 617.422.1630. )

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