Saturday, April 26, 2008

College Chronicles

My college year as a professor is over. I taught at HR College for two years. I had been teaching Advertising Basics to the students of B. Com First Year Ad Batch. It was an interesting stint, and I would have loved to continue, but my new job leaves me with no time for anything else.

In my two years as a professor, I got a chance to observe, and interact with, young students. It really added to my learning of human behavior. I guess I learned far more from them than they learned from me. I might not go back next year to teach, but would love to get such a chance in the future. I took a few photographs a few months back and hadn’t really had a chance to post them. These are two of my young students. Some of you have seen the young man in a previous post, Gangsta Rap. He has cleaned up his act since then. The young lady is a budding creatives person and seems to have a bright future in the industry.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dreams crafted in Silver --- Romika Johar

Markham-based designer and consultant Romika Johar, founder of Silver Jewelry brand, "Romika Jewels" is known for her bold and colorful jewelry designs. Romika’s creations have sparkled on actresses like Tonya Lee Williams of the Young and the Restless. Romika’s designs are also seen on the cast of ET Canada, as she sponsors all of the jewellery for the show.

She has spent years designing beautiful and wearable Jewelry and feels that it’s time for a change in the trend and thought process with which women go about selecting Jewelry. A lot of focus is given to expensive clothing, but when it comes to buying Jewelry, then cost-cutting comes to the fore. Romika believes that it’s important to know that poorly designed jewelry simply makes an expensive dress loose its sheen. It is important for women to celebrate and appreciate classy Jewelry with beautiful yet affordable designs. Here are some excerpts from an interview with this talented designer.

When did you start designing jewelry?

I started designing jewelry about 6 years back. Initially I started with gold and diamonds but about 3 years back I fell in love with silver! I found that jewelry is always either very high end and expensive or it is very low end costume jewelry but there was nothing in the middle. Considering the need for such jewelry I decided to launch my own brand, called Romika Jewels, of high end silver jewelry to be made available at affordable prices, where I can give different finishes while using a lot of precious and semi precious gemstones giving colours not seen in the market before. It was just not the designing part alone that I wanted to focus on but I also wanted to make a difference by providing highest standards of finish and class to my brand of silver jewelry.

What inspires your jewelry design?

There are so many sources of inspiration for me from people I converse with on a daily basis, including my wonderful clients, by asking them what kind of jewelry they like and hope to see more in jewelry. I will add here that I draw a lot of inspiration from the beauty of nature that offers us so much colour and ideas. Another thing that has always helped me is when I look at different women, their face cuts and body types, which makes me analyze what style will suit a certain face or body type. Different clothing types is another great inspiration for me where I like to judge what kinds of different gemstones to use that can match wonderfully well which certain types of clothing.

What are your other interests and hobbies?

I like to read… I love nature and I love the ocean; it’s so peaceful! I love to travel and experience new places, and of course shopping!!!

Were you creative as a child?

I was a very creative child. I loved arts and crafts and painting and always knew I wanted to do something artistic and creative.

Why have you chosen jewelry design as one means to express your creativity?

I personally love jewelry and think it is such a beautiful accessory. The great thing about jewelry is that you can be as creative as you like and you can experiment with shapes, forms and colors. There is no right or wrong. It’s all about being different, constantly creating something new. It is also personally challenging and it has helped me grow as a person. Through jewelry I have found that each day is new and different where you get a chance to have new experiences by meeting new people and understanding their needs and desires. Now ensuring to meet their needs and making them happy is the best thing I crave for and Jewelry designing helps me do that. I take immense pride when I say to my customers: "Wear Romika Jewels and start receiving compliments".

What makes your designs unique?

I am very passionate about what I do and I strive for perfection. I started with a new concept with this line of silver jewelry. I try to keep each piece unique one of a kind, I have a lot of clients who move in the same circle and then I have some high profile celebrity clients. So the whole concept is to keep creating something new and one of a kind so that no one else is wearing exactly the same piece. It’s like having your own signature piece.
What my brand promise is quality with affordability. Why should a woman spend thousands of dollars when she can have the same look at a fraction of the cost.
For us quality is key, we have a great quality control team in place to ensure each and every piece is perfect for our customers. Creative designing, perfect finishing, real gemstones with beautiful setting, anti tarnish plating etc are some of the key elements that make Romika Jewels as a brand unique and trustworthy.
I recently launched a service called "Build Your Dream Piece" where if you have ever liked or dreamt of a design of jewelry, we will actually build that for you in the finish of your choice. This has been a huge success and we have created some very unique items since the launch of this service.

Who has been your favorite client? Please name others who have worn your jewelry?

See, I would say that all of my clients are favorite to me but if I have to mention a name as one of my favorite then it would be Mrs. Shah, she is an amazing person and is one of my oldest clients, she is a very simple but classy lady, her support has been tremendous; she has recognized my passion and always encouraged me. I created a bridal package for her lovely daughter where I not only designed the Bridal set for her but also the arranged all the gifts and trousseau jewelry. Along with this I created over hundred jewelry piece as gifts for their family and friends who had flown in from all around the world. They gave me a budget and outlined what kind of gifts they wanted to present to different people, attending the wedding. I worked very closely with them and created very unique jewelry from Diamond earrings to silver bangles. Each gift was perfectly wrapped in special pouches to match the wedding theme. They were very appreciative of each and every little detail I had put into it.

I am an official sponsor for Entertainment Tonight, and Miss World Canada plus various other beauty pageants and TV shows. Some of my celebrity client list include names like Cheryl Hickey, Rosy Edah, Kim Dion, Miss India, Miss Canada, MP Ruby Dhalla, Actress Tonya Lee Williams and Hanna Simone -Much Music VJ.

Name some women whose personal style and jewelry you really like.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis - She was very stylish, and classy and owned some amazing jewelry and of course the classic Audrey Hepburn.

Monday, April 7, 2008

WLIFW - Ritu Kumar

Another collection that I just loved from the Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week was the Ritu Kumar Collection. Ritu Kumar has long been a favorite and I have several pieces from her collection in my own closet. In India, every bride must have at least a few clothes from her bridal collection. Of late, Ritu Kumar has become brighter and bolder in her color palette and designs. Designing for decades, Ritu Kumar is largely considered a revivalist in Indian fashion Industry. Her designs have been known to reflect the ancient traditions of Indian craftsmanship with a modern twist. Her new collection was a welcome change from her affinity for muted tones and earthy colors.

Here Ritu went all out with opulent floral motifs on brightly colored backgrounds. The accessories were an all too visible part of the collection, be it the massive handbags, or the very in-your face bangles! The lengths varied… as did the style and seeming inspiration. What remained common, however, was color, color and more color!

Mirror work made an appearance from pieces as varied as this sari with a captivating print and interesting fabric and this lovely poncho with a muted grey background.

The very Indian color, Indigo, found a new expression. My personal favorites were the very Western cuts blended seamlessly with distinctly ethnic motifs! Awesome!

Shiny, shimmery, sequined skirts made their presence felt, through different sections of the collections. Whether with the vibrant florals, or with the fiery Indigo, they made a chic statement.

The fabrics included jersey, silk, satin and indigo Khadi. And the color palette was, well, limitless. Crimson, however, seemed to be the designer’s real muse, appearing on the models’ lips, in the flowers in their hair, in the accessories and the shoes! All in all, a very satisfying collection from one of India’s foremost designers. I am waiting for it to hit the stores.

All images courtesy