∙ Sis­ters mix it up with new la­bel, Sant Lafleur

SHE Canada - - CONTENT - Story con­ceived by Zarmina Rafi Text by Rida Ahmed Model: Fa­tima Bell Ed­i­to­rial photos cour­tesy of Nar­bir Gosal.

In 1966 Yves Saint Lau­rent in­tro­duced Le Smok­ing to the world and prompted the an­drog­y­nous revo­lu­tion. Over the course of his ca­reer his many in­no­va­tive cre­ations rev­o­lu­tion­ized the fash­ion in­dus­try. Fast for­ward to 2015, sis­ters Sonu and Puneet hope to have the same im­pact on the In­dian fash­ion in­dus­try with their la­bel, Sant Lafleur.

Like the true begin­nings of any suc­cess­ful de­signer, the sis­ters spent their child­hood days sketch­ing and putting on fash­ion shows in their hall­way. When it came time to go to univer­sity, the duo took a break from de­sign­ing and pur­sued busi­ness, and even­tu­ally ca­reers in bank­ing. “You do need that busi­ness acu­men to learn how to build your own busi­ness model. Fash­ion is a busi­ness, fig­ur­ing out how to take your in­no­va­tions and make them a re­al­ity is a skill on its own and takes time to learn,” says Sonu. With the right amount of funds, they launched Sant Lafleur from their home and bou­tique, and cre­ated their e-com­merce site in Fe­bru­ary. The name of their la­bel has spe- cial sig­nif­i­cance and is a per­fect rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the brand’s Indo-cana­dian her­itage. Sant rep­re­sents the county in In­dia where the sis­ters were born, Sant Na­gar, and Lafleur is the name of the street they grew up on in Canada. From the be­gin­ning the two de­sign­ers knew they wanted to be dif­fer­ent from other e-com­merce In­dian la­bels, both in qual­ity and de­sign. “We only use pure fab­rics, and very in­tri­cate and unique her­itage-like styles. We’ve built a name for our­selves for hav­ing very unique pieces. It’s all re­ally fine work and it’s also very unique and still has a lot of In­dian history to it be­cause of the hand work.” Sant Lafleur’s de­sign phi­los­o­phy is ev­i­dent in their first col­lec­tion, Bom­bay Botan­i­cals. “The in­flu­ence for us was a Zen gar­den and it kind of has that bal­ance be­tween qual­ity and the calm­ness of a botan­i­cal gar­den.” The full skirts and em­broi­dery are also a re­flec­tion of the sis­ters’ per­sonal style. “My sis­ter and I are both very fem­i­nine and ro­man­tic in our cloth­ing, so that’s why you see the high waisted-skirt and the full vol­ume. We love skirts, we love to dress up, we love pinks and pur­ples, we love flo­ral em­broi­dery and I think you’re see­ing that in our botan­i­cal vi­sion,” said Sonu. Their fem­i­nine style

is mixed with mas­cu­line sil­hou­ettes with tra­di­tional and mod­ern el­e­ments to cre­ate the per­fect blend­ing of op­pos­ing ideas, a nod to their Indo-cana­dian her­itage. “I think there are el­e­ments of our de­sign that feel very tra­di­tional but there are also sil­hou­ettes you would see on the Western front. What I find with some In­dian clothes is that they can be­come un­com­fort­able or they be­come too matchy­matchy. The west has done re­ally well to push the en­ve­lope in mak­ing some­one com­fort­able in dif­fer­ent prints or fab­rics and com­bin­ing the dif­fer­ent el­e­ments.” Their unique take on fash­ion is inspired by another pi­o­neer, al­beit con­tro­ver­sial in fash­ion: Kanye West. “Who I ad­mire most in the fash­ion in­dus­try is Kanye West. I think he re­ally pushes the bound­aries and he re­ally made that baggy cloth­ing look more so­phis­ti­cated. I wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily dress like him but he has had a ma­jor im­pact on the fash­ion in­dus­try,” said Puneet. Like any new ven­ture, Sonu and Puneet faced their fair share of dif­fi­cul­ties, es­pe­cially with the back-and-forth be­tween In­dia and Canada to cre­ate their first line. But all that fades into the back­ground when you ask them about the most mem­o­rable mo­ment in their de­sign jour­ney. “When we did our first fash­ion shoot, when we fi­nally saw the clothes come to life on some­body else, we were like Ok wow, this is some­thing. That was the first time we felt we had ac­com­plished some­thing, be­cause we were just putting our heads down and de­sign­ing and not nec­es­sar­ily see­ing the end re­sult just yet. That was an eye open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.” The sis­ters’ jour­ney be­gan with a sin­gle step, and a lot of brav­ery. “We fi­nally had the guts to do it and not be afraid of what ev­ery­one else is do­ing. I think peo­ple have that fear of putting them­selves out there and be­ing afraid that oth­ers won’t like what they see. There are both neg­a­tives and pos­i­tives but I think now that we’re older we’re not as afraid of that, we’re not afraid of tak­ing those leaps.”

En­treprenue­rial sib­lings, Sonu (L) and Puneet (R)

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