She saw a unicorn when she was 16(no one believes her but me); likes working with her hands, deconstructing things, making them her own; is mad about hula-hoops:once made one out of a hose pipe and took it all the way to Thailand; doesn’t like conversations about religion; is in love with color; is obsessed with Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, and Harajuku; wants to study accessory design at Bunka School; and loves cooking seafood.
I grew up in a small town called Vasco Da Gama, and it was a childhood like it should be, the beach a few steps away, a mother who wore a black lace veil to church, taught me to cook good food, sew my own frocks; a father who drove his own truck transporting firewood all over India, and whose bedtime stories were about his travels and what he saw; sisters who’d fit into the same clothes and shoes as me. When I tell people I grew up in Goa they envy me thinking the only way of life in Goa is the rave and hippie life, but I was kept way too far from all of that, and I’m happy I grew up that way!
What do you miss most about home?
I think what I miss most is the way of life there. It’s so hectic here, so fast, but then there was really nothing much for me to do back in Goa. Also my parents had asked me to leave home, find my own ground, my own life, and so, here I am in Bombay.
It all started very funny. I hated Barbie as a little girl but everyone around me had them. So once I decided to cut off some fabric lying around the house to make some costumes for everyone’s barbie. I made a whole line and sold them for like Rs. 2 and then had a Barbie beauty pageant in my room with all the kids. I still remember my mother really furious; all the pieces of cloth that I cut to make the clothes were taken off her new kaftans and blouses.
Currently, I’m doing costumes for a play, styling ad films and print for the money. I’ve been drifting more towards theatre costumes. I find more freedom when it comes to expressing every character through fabrics and silhouettes + I get to make everything by hand, on my sewing machine.
I made a clown costume for the play Hamlet that’s touring in the UK right now.
Then I made a costume for a friend who was doing a Josephine Baker inspired cabaret, part of a contemporary dance piece for The Stiff Kittens Medicine show. I spent a few days making the costume with pearls and bananas. It was kinky! To see the end result of your work on stage is just another high.
I’ve also been playing with Lego – lots of it – making hearts, bow ties, head gear. I’m currently, slowly, trying to get a small label together for my stuff. It’s called Pixie Tea. I can’t get myself to sell any of it yet; I just make it for friends.
First paid assignment?
This was back in Goa. I and a friend from art school got together and started looking for work, any kind of work, to make some money to buy our art supplies for college. We landed up making murals out of dental powder and acrylic paint for an art gallery. They looked like fractals on a wall. We got paid Rs 8,000 for 4 murals which was not so bad back then. We were rich!
Back home, there was literally only one book shop at the railway station that sold magazines. Elle was the only magazine my friends and I would buy. I would read each issue with all my heart + memorize every shoot and the bylines. I came to Mumbai with exactly 5k to assist a photographer, since I majored in photography in my last few years of college, but I did not get paid as an assistant. So then I started working in a call centre to pay my rent, which is by far the worst job ever, it was suicide. I randomly applied at Elle and got the job as a fashion assistant. I went on to work with Elle for 3 years as their Chief Stylist. It was an amazing experience; the whole team worked & multi-tasked together. Elle is where I really grew up as a stylist. My editor at Elle pushed me to do a lot more than I thought I could. Then I moved on to GQ where I worked for a year as their Jr Fashion Editor. Sometime in between I made a bike trip to Ladakh with my boyfriend, where we got caught up in snowfall, and couldn’t get back to work on time. And somewhere then I realized that I couldn’t do a regular day job, and it sucked, so I quit to freelance.
One of the things I’m always doing when I’m not working is browsing through fashion blogs. I’ve been following Scott Schuman, Bryan Boy, Jane Aldridge and Judy Aldridge since 2008. Of late it’s been annadellorusso, francfernandez, Richard Haines’s designerman-whatisawtoday, the Vogue blog, stylesightings, geometricsleep, streetfsn; and amongst Indian blogs – lahlahishere.
What inspires you to do what you do?
Everything around me, clothes, people, art, music. Of late I’ve been making a point to go to as many gigs and concerts when I have the time to. I last went for a Carnatic performance by Prasanna at NCPA, and before that for Prodigy which was quite mad, because I flew out to Delhi for the concert and was back in 8 hours for work. And cooking! I’ve been cooking a LOT for everyone I love!
Tania Fadte, 30. Fashion Stylist..her favorite food to cook is Stuffed Bell Peppers with Shrimp.
And these are tiger prawns from Tania’s dad’s farm. Soon I’d know what they taste like. I’ve been invited for dinner.