Mumbai-based designer Payal Singhal is one of the most prominent names in the world of fashion — her designs have taken both domestic and international markets by storm. Her collections are a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary elements, making it an ideal choice for the confident, modern and fashion-forward woman of today.
Singhal’s love for the arts is rooted in her childhood, since she grew up in a family that was passionate about films, fashion and cultural art. Her grandfather was a prolific painter, while her father owned a garment manufacturing house. Although fashion was in her ‘DNA’, she was never obligated to venture into the field.
It was at the age of 11 that Singhal began sketching like most children of her age. Her flair for creativity and passion for fashion led her to participate in the ‘Shoppers Stop Designer of the Year’ award, when she was only 15. Her talent made the right noise, and she ended up winning the coveted prize. The winning look was worn by then Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
She then went on to pursue fashion design from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, and also travelled to the US for summer school at The Parsons School of Design, New York. Singhal launched her eponymous label in 1999.
“There’s so much talk about nepotism all the time, and I do agree the road was slightly easier. But eventually it’s your work that speaks. You can maybe get your foot into the door, but at the end of the day, it’s your talent that helps you succeed. I feel it’s an equal playground for everyone; it’s not like the film industry, where you can get exploited. That being said, the fashion industry is really judgemental and at times, mean,” she adds.
Financial independence is something that holds much importance in Singhal’s life. She also believes women must practise it to gain a sense of self-worth.
“I am proud to say that I haven’t taken any money from my parents since I was 18. In fact, I also made enough money to fund my education at Parsons,” she says.
Singhal is a true advocate of body positivity, unlike several brands who have reduced it to a token concept. As always, she walks the talk.
“For the last over two decades, we have been size-inclusive, budget-inclusive, gender-inclusive, and so much more. We have never turned anyone away. Inclusivity cannot be a buzzword; it has to be genuine. The attire is adapted to the person’s needs; we don’t adapt it for a region, but for a person,” she adds.
Watch the video to know more about Singhal’s illustrious journey in the world of fashion.
(Interviewed by Geetika Sachdev, Video produced by Manasi Phadnis and edited by Venkatesh.S)