“Prints are always a comeback”: Interview with Pooja Jeshang, the designer of the label Saffron

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Pooja Jeshang: Saffron is inspired by a source much nearer to home which uses a refreshing take on everyday basics and casual wear by using bold and vibrant African prints, motifs and eco-friendly cotton mixes. I am using contemporary designs and ideas, interfusing them with African motifs, organic printed cottons (Khanga’s/Leso) and synthetics, creating a playful and flirty collection with bursts of bright colors, teamed with a darker and alluring color palette.

APiF: When and why did you start designing with African Prints and Fabrics?
Pooja: It wasn’t an easy task to just start designing with African prints. With such a wide variety of printed cotton mixes in the market, there were so many possibilities, but I didn’t know how to put it all together. After researching local designers and putting this inspiration together with my experience with the fabric markets from the West (UK), I realized you can create a lot with these prints! And to top that, they never go out of fashion since prints are always a comeback – whether its Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter.

APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Pooja: My recent collection was using sheer and pairing it with African-printed cotton mixes. There was one particular dress which had a lovely paisley print. It seemed so effective, and yet the color was even more adding to it: Candy red apple against a sunburst yellow – you really can’t go wrong with this dress in summer!

APiF: Who is your fashion idol?
Pooja: I don’t have any fashion idols that I follow. I inspire myself with my own designs. It is all about what you feel comfortable in. Personally, I love to be dressed in something that makes me feel comfortable. But, for others, I go out there and create something absolutely stylish. I love to see people wearing clothes that make them happy.

APiF: How do you make your designs accessible to a global audience?
Pooja: At the moment, since I have just started, I have a blog, a facebook page, and I will have a website coming up very soon with all my work on it. I aim to work on creating a portal or even signing up to an online selling platform. However, I have managed to spread out to Kenya now, signing a contract with the Kenyan fashion label Myrobi, who is also an upcoming brand offering a great diffusion of fashionable apparel. In collaboration with them, hopefully, the pieces will be available in Nairobi, Kenya, in a few months time.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Pooja: It is not necessary to follow trends off the runway, trends can be created. You will start up slow, from scratch, but that is the best bit; discovering your talent, discovering what people want out of you as a designer. Clothes are a necessity in life, they don’t die, and so doesn’t fashion. Keep inspiring yourself from culture, books, anything and everything. Imply this inspiration on your collections, and you’ll see something coming along together. Most importantly, be positive and believe in yourself – you certainly will make it out there!

Find out more:
f: Saffron on facebook
t: Saffron on twitter

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