Design Elves is the brainchild of Piyush Bhandari, Mariam Hamidi, Sanvi Sinha and Neekita Singh. Apart from Piyush, all the three girls have completed their education from NIFT [National Institute of Fashion and Technology], Patna. However, Piyush Bhandari is the Alumini of IIT Patna.
Q: From where does inspiration come from designing such brilliant pieces of fabric?
A: A small walk down the ‘gallis’ of an Indian market will allow you to notice how diverse yet beautiful the Indian craft is. The vibrant traditional folk arts of India, the serene architecture, the soothing patterns, dyes and the hard working craftsmanship.
We are fanatic about art and the Indian market has provided us with insane amount of innovation and creativity. The zeal and enthusiasm we feel when we try to balance the vivid colours with “beigey” neutral tones is something that we want to cherish for all our lives. Even exploring the simplest of things might give us a great design direction; we don’t really need to think of something of great value for great products.
We are just a restless group of people who design just because we can’t resist ourselves to do so.
Q: How comfortable is it to carry handmade and cotton fabrics in comparison to the other materials? Also, does the budget gets affected if a handmade fabric is opted for or the investment amount remains the same?
A: The authentic handmade and cotton fabrics, though abundant, are very difficult to find. In India, unlike other countries, there is no system in place which entitles the seller to provide the exact blending materials used in the fabric. There are also very few labs in India where such authenticity could actually be judged, the processes for the same are also not cheap. To get the authentic fabrics, our team had to go through a lot of sellers, places, and shops via referrals from veteran designers.
The pure and authentic fabrics, when compared to blended ones, are much more costly. In case the seller is trying to sell them cheap, then there is a very high chance of the fabric not being authentic. Due to high prices, we have to keep our investment for pure and handmade materials accordingly. Most of our products use authentic fabrics unless the design calls upon the use of a blended one.
Q: Pom Pomps are definitely in trend but what is the taste of Design Elves? Also, how smart you think is a decision to invest in customization of interior décor fabric?
A: Trend keeps rotating with time, but our aim is to keep a lasting impact. Design elves not only want to keep up with the trends but also want to give the customer a vibe to connect with. Design elves is looking forward to create a design space which makes you feel good.
In the fashion industry, we have seen people who spend a lot of money on customization during special occasion. Customizing fabrics for your home interiors is a very personal approach; you don’t change the upholstery fabric every month. Each fabric has its own feel, be it velvet or organza. Every fabric adds a different mood to your home and makes the space more pleasant and liveable. The simple fact is that having a house that looks nicer has a definite impact on your daily life.
Q: Tell us about the experiences you have while working for domestic and international projects. What are the things you consider while working on these projects?
A: At first, we thought that we may need to have two distinct designs for domestic and international. However, after completing the initial market research we found that this is not the case. Due to globalization and adoption of authentic-foreign goods, most of the countries actually welcome our quirky designs. This also made a lot of sense since we wanted to make something which we are good at and propagate it in both domestic and international markets. Therefore rather than trying to fit our designs according to the demographic, we try to fit our logistics, packaging – shipping – discount trends – holiday designs – materials in a way that could make our brand more enticing for the foreign markets. All of this together will help us keep our style and still be able to be competitive in other markets.
Q: Apart from the nature and geometric designs what you love to imprint on the fabric? Also, how the interiors of your home will be decorated with fabric?
A: Our design has different categories including floral, geometric, calligraphy, abstract and there are many more to come!
One can do wonders with fabric. You just need an idea for execution and DE is there to help you out. It is always better to show rather than explaining, so we welcome people to give us a chance at every platform.
Q: Where do you wish Design Elves to be after five years from now?
A: This is a question which we ourselves have pondered upon for quite some time, after much discussion the founders came to the conclusion that we must go in the direction that best serves our customers. We always try to take as much data we can from our customers and one thing we found common in the decor/clothing/fashion industry is that there are a lot returns due to size problems and blending of the decor with the room surroundings. This is mostly due to the lack of visualization or feel of the product, which one cannot perceive when browsing the product online. Therefore, in order to solve the problem, we are currently working on an augmented reality app for android and ios devices. The app will provide the customers with the visualization of the product, via camera and that too in their own surroundings. We believe this will directly increase the customer-satisfaction and increase our customer retention rates.
Q: What will you advice to the viewers when it comes to selection of fabric for home interiors?
A: Choosing the right fabric for home interiors is a very crucial part of creating a comfortable space. There are a lot of factors one needs to consider before making the perfect choice: appearance (colour and texture), durability, touch, and the comprising product. For example, lighter colours make space look bigger and are therefore a good choice for bedsheets and bed pillows.
The criteria for choosing fabrics for curtains and upholstery are different compared to the ones for bedroom decor. You can’t have a minimalist bedroom with bright red velvet embroidered cushions.
Planning and research is what needs to be done before choosing the fabric; the style, the look and the purpose of the product play a major role in defining the fabric.