Fashion designer, entrepreneur, globe-trotter and woman of power – Shivali Singh, gives us a peek into her life
She creates magic with clothes and she does that with her life too. Shivali Singh maybe a celebrity in Hyderabad and a well-known artist and fashion designer from India but for people close to her she she’s just pure grit, talent, a golden heart, armed with ruthless determination. On a balmy weekday evening at a swanky brewery in Hyderabad, overlooking the city, Shivali shares her story.
Born and raised all over the country, she grew up in a family that not only instilled the values that she now adheres to but also inculcated in her the importance of making something of herself and her life. “I graduated from St.Francis College For Women with B.Com Honours, Hyderabad. We were not allowed to wear western clothes; I got admired for the way I stitched my salwar kameezes and the way embroidery that was used. Hyderabad was the center for Zardozi and I made use of it,” reminisces Shivali who did her MBA (gold medalist) in marketing, masters in finance and then worked as a data analyst for six months before heading out to Milan where she studied fashion. “I had made enough money to fund my studies in Milan. I interned with Gucci in Milan. It was all about silhouettes and cuts. I came back to India and then went to study fashion, garment construction and styling in London,” she says tracing her journey into becoming a full-time professional fashion designer.
After returning to India and coming back to Hyderabad, she happened to be introduced to director Mani Shankar, who roped her in to style actress Kangana Ranaut for the 2010 movie Knock Out “Kangana is so petite; there was no way of outsourcing anything. It was all made in the workshop. Back in 2009, a career as a stylist was vague. Either way, the movie did very well and my work got noticed but then I left for New York to study in the Parsons- The New School Of Design for a 3 month course after which I came back to India and launched my own label- Shivali Singh,” she states.
Shivali started supplying to about four multi-retail outlets and twenty-five web portals, participated in over twenty-eight exhibitions and was the official designer for Kingfisher for three years. “I recently sold my label to Selfridges,” she smiles. Quiz her about her favourite star and she says, “ Honestly my first break in the movies was with Kangana and I feel like she is a style icon. She is out of the box.”
Shivali has been a part of so many fashion fiestas, fashion weeks, movies and fashion events that her style became a trademark niche representing her essence as designer, an artist and as a person. “I worked really hard and patented all my designs. Into the second year of professionally designing, I broke even financially. My prints with Nizami jewellery and my dresses made from Lycra especially imported from Malaysia was something that was truly my own. No one had ever done it before. My brand is for everyone. From a woman who is dusky to someone with a fair complexion, they can all wear what I make,” she asserts.
Shivali dotes on her parents. “My mother is a total housewife and is happy if we’ve eaten three meals a day,” she laughs. She’s got a designer’s eye with attention to detail and she finds beauty in everything. “I honestly believe women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful. We just have to identify the features. Beauty for me lies in the imperfections. I was a chubby girl in college,” says Shivali adding that her future designing projects will be something very exciting that involves sourcing and online store depot. To this effect she says, “The economy is online. You have to know what’s going in the market. In India 60-70% sales happen online and these are women shoppers.”
While she maybe all work talk when it comes down to business, there is a part of her that is a complete health nut. “Yoga opens my chakras,” says Shivali who follows a very strict regime and is now diving into a project called Yogawesome. “I am planning to start a chain of power yoga studios all over Hyderabad to begin with, and then maybe to expand to all the metropolitan cities and then take it international,” she reveals.