General manager, Steel Authority of India Ltd
Priyal Prakash almost became a sociology graduate as a prelude to her parents’ wish that she joins the civil services. Although fashion designing was her passion, her parents suggested graduation would give her a base for a sustainable job.
While Prakash was studying sociology in Miranda House, a residential college for women in Delhi, she found out that the National Institute of Fashion Technology (Nift) has changed its diploma course to a four-year graduation course.
She appeared for the Nift entrance test in 2003, and was ranked first, ending her tryst with sociology in the second year of college.
“Since I am from a small city (Ranchi) and a middle-class family, the first hurdle was to convince my parents to let me pursue a non-academic career. But they realized my passion and stood by me,” recollects Prakash, who was adjudged best designer for womenswear at the course-ending fashion show held in Nift in 2007.
After her course, she worked with fashion designer Puja Nayyar, domestic retail brand Uni Style and an export house to gather experience. Now 28, Prakash owns a small fashion design firm—Priyal Prakash House of Design —in Delhi.
It started with one tailor, one hand embroiderer and a couple of more employees focusing on limited clients. She now employs eight people and is planning to start retail outlets in Delhi and Mumbai.
“My mother (Pushpa) was always well-dressed. Her taste was refined though she has no access to hi-end fashion materials. Her sense of style inspired me to dress well,” Prakash says.
She recollects the days when there was no access to fashionable clothes and everything depended on the local tailor. “Shopping was always once or twice a year kind of event, when we visit our relatives in Delhi. But I used to try and get fashion magazines to understand the latest trends,” says Prakash.
For the future, Prakash has no venture capital funds or private equity investors to fund her design house. She also voluntarily decided to sacrifice the opportunity to attempt a master’s degree in fashion design from Europe. “I wanted to save all the money for my own venture. My father is my financial adviser. He gave me Rs 1 lakh to start my venture. Then I just had a small corner with one table and my laptop. Now my design house is running in a no-profit, no-loss mode. Now I will give back money to my father,” Prakash says.
“My design house is expanding,” she adds. “I want to see this as one of the leading brands in the world.”
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