Deepa Gurnani was conceived in the dreams and passions shared by husband and wife Deepa and Jay Lakhani. Married in 2005, the duo combine their talents to create a line of distinctive embroidered accessories.
While studying fashion at London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Deepa created beaded couture pieces for Alexander McQueen, Emanuel Ungaro, Fendi and Marjan Pejoski.
Meanwhile, jewelry designer Jay Lakhani started his training at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York under the head designers of Tiffany and Bvlgari, where he refined his eye for detail and luxury and then worked for top names in the fine jewelry industry.
Combining the art of fine jewelry with fashion accessories to create easy-to-wear works of art, the collaborative label Deepa Gurnani launched at Henri Bendel in November 2006 and is subsequently sold in various stores across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.
Accessories caught up with Jay Lakhani to discuss the company’s past, present and future:
How long have you been with the company?
What is a typical day like for you?
When I first started this business, it was about juggling 20 different projects all at once. Now, with a great team, I primarily focus on sales and design with Deepa. Deepa and I travel constantly to India. That is where we design our collections and get most of our inspiration from.
What is your favorite part of this industry?
The industry is extremely supportive to fresh talent. We have received help from so many people and the camaraderie is great. The trade shows are a great part of the industry since we have to put our best foot forward and show what we are all about.
What have been some of the biggest challenges in the market lately?
Product placement is very limited in stores as everything now is trend-based with seasons. You have to make sure one keeps their line fresh and current, so you stay on that shelf in stores!
There has been a huge shift in sales over the past five years. Many people are now starting online ventures. This is great as they offer instant reaction to the product, providing us direction and immediate feedback which is always useful.
How do you use social media and how has it helped your brand?
Social media is a great tool to interact with our followers and see what does well instantly. It helps with designing our collections as well as branding our name by taking it to a whole new audience. The direct interaction with clients is fantastic because it gives us a read on what will do well in the markets to come.
Does your company have any important milestones coming up?
Our company just launched a brand new e-commerce website, which has received a great reaction. We are still a young company, being seven years in the industry, but are looking forward to many new opportunities that are coming our way. Stay tuned……
Are you launching anything new for Fall/Holiday 2014?
We are starting to develop a footwear collection. Fingers crossed, that should launch next season.
In terms of styling, what are you focusing on for the Fall/Holiday season? What’s the newest, exciting trends?
Our Fall 2014 theme is Eccentric Beauty. It is based on Mughal Art and a touch of Dali. The collection is rich with jewel tones, antique metals and small critters. The response has been phenomenal.
I love Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel & Elie Saab. These designers are what inspire us each season.
Are there any celebrities, bloggers, movies, TV, music festivals, etc., that are driving trends for you lately?
Taylor Swift, Paris Hilton and Oprah Winfrey have been a huge help to the brand this season. We have received great press with their help this season.
Anything else you would like to add?
Fashion is a cycle. Stay true to your style and aesthetic, so that there is no stopping you!
Deepa Gurnani was featured in Accessories magazine’s June issue: A look at who and what is hot now–in product, brands, stores, pop culture, business, social media, e-commerce, apps, runway trends, technology, startups, museum exhibits and much, much more!
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