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Killer Heels by the Designers from DAS

By April 2, 2012 Designers, Shoes

Sureen and Neresh at MEG Magazine Party

Holy heel! The Bhagwandas sisters, founders and designers of DAS – short for Bhagwandas- Sureen, Reshnee and Neeresh tell us how their unceasing  fashion love affair lead them to pursuing their dreams and empowering women to strut the sidewalks with their killer six inch shoes.

Source: Philippine Star

Source: Philippine Star

two + seven: How did your fashion line come to place?

DAS: As far back at the age of 7 or 8 we’d already be sketching our dream clothes.  With the help of our mom (who was always very encouraging with our fashion exploits) she would make our thoughts become reality, when she invited our family’s seamstress over to the  house.  It was from that point onwards that we would begin receiving important lessons in design-from consultation to clarification with every detail to technique involved for what we wanted to achieve. It was because we were so lucky and blessed to have our designs to be made upon demand,  we got to wear our own creations all the time- especially during special occassions and events.

Having the opportunity and freedom to create really opened our eyes in our youth.  It encouraged us to be bold and allowed us to explore myriads of styles through creativity.  We firmly believe that  if you want to achieve something, you should not let the idea just sit dormant in your head- because nothing should get in your way from making it a reality. To say plainly that we “wanted to become a designer” wouldn’t be a statement that best describes our love affair with fashion.  We believe that designing runs through the blood, it should come naturally. It’s an involuntary attitude  just like the beating of the heart- you don’t tell it to pump blood for you, it just happens on its own. We have since pursued our own educational studies (political science, alternative medicine), choosing career paths that veered from our favorite topic of interest yet find ourself coming back to our first love.  Now we find ourselves designing and creating shoes! There is so much to learn, and so many new things to try and achieve. To help us along this new venture, we have immersed ourselves in apprenticeship to shoe design and architecture.

Kim Chu in DAS21

Kim Chu in DAS21

2+7: When did you realize you were interested in fashion?

DAS: Growing up, we’ve always been inclined to fashion. The three of us lived in a house that gave us so much inspiration that it’s great to be different and unique and to be able to experiment and express ourselves through the way we dress. International magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair were some of the literature that served as our fashion text books.  Glamour shots of  Cindy Crawford, Agyness Deyn, Gemma Ward functioned as bywords in our household when describing a certain look or peg. Our grandmother was also a wedding designer;  as children we would spend hours delving into our mom’s color-coded organized closet going gaga over her extensive collection of jaw-dropping signature dresses.  She possesed the most amazing bags and accessories, complete with a hair and makeup section- and a nail polish station too!  We would have fun trying on her very impressive shoe collection, even though walking in them was a challenge. Any girl could go in there for a lifechanging experience, and come out as a totally different person! It was like a kid’s first trip to Disneyland. Our dad trained us very well when it came to the business aspect, helping us to understand the fundamentals of establishing a small buisness.  Being of Spanish, Chinese and British Indian descent surely made us open to embrace fashion in its most unique forms.

2+7: Tell us about your personal style.

DAS: Style- The three of us carry different styles: Sureen has that edgy and funky fashion-forward taste, while Reshnee has that classic laid back model off-duty look, and Neeresh has that posh upper-east side teenager style. As for the quality and structure of our shoes, we are very meticulous about it.   We understand that every inch and every arch would make the biggest difference in how it would look: “Your legs should look longer and sexier than ever!”

Ryza Cenon in DAS17

Ryza Cenon in DAS17

2+7: Who are your influences as a designer? Can you describe any particular collections, pieces, or design eras associated with them?

DAS: We’re greatly inspired by the lavish living of the Baroque era. Where power was closely related to the exaggeration of the monarch’s outfits, wherein it was but natural to be overdressed in everything lace, bows and ruffles. In the time of Marie Antoinette, everything was elegant and extravagant. From the art to the architecture to the music- everything was truly inspirational.

And of course, who doesn’t love the 80’s?  One word: MADONNA!

2+7: Any city or destination in particular that inspires you? Please explain, or share any stories about it.

Our trips to India and Japan was truly memorable. The streets of Harajuku and Shibuya never fails to amaze us, filled with excited young teenagers walking around donned in the craziest outfits you could ever think of . The energy and freshness of the city makes any old soul young again. Last year we attended our cousin’s week-long Indian wedding celebration , and was surprised with gowns of the the guests wherein not a single inch of cloth wasn’t emebellished with crystals and beadwork. The workmanship was just divine- when they say “heavily beaded” they sure do mean it. Aside from the extravagant dresses, India’s rich culture inspires us in a way like no other. Where else could you find a country that the majority of the population still wears their national costumes for evryday life, that makes their everyday outfits beaded and embroidered always. We also managed to slip in a vist to Taj Mahal, it felt so surreal to even be there. The intricate details, carvings and drawings on the walls were just one-of-a –kind.

2+7: Do you have a type of person in mind when you’re designing your shoes?

DAS: We are inspired by the look of high fashion and the people surrounding it like models and celebrities. But at the end of the day, what makes us happy is to see the most unexpected people , who you think would never wear heels, wearing DAS.

Isis King in DAS32

2+7: What should your audience expect from your upcoming collection?

DAS: Colors! Colors! Colors!  Our upcoming line will be a vibrant array of classic and futuristic pieces set to intricate detail with a touch of some unique hardware.  We love our hardware, and we have been waiting for a month patiently for it to arrive.  We have some interesting pieces in mind to produce with studs of varying shapes and designs.

2+7: Where do you see your brand in a few years?

DAS: At the moment we are in the midst of retrofitting our factory to produce larger volume orders.  It’s a slow, arduous process, because we do not want to sacrifice the quality and worksmanship of the shoes.  All of our shoes are handmade, and with the increasing demand of customized DAS shoes, we pay close and careful attention to our clients needs.  It is inevitable that we will be venturing into clothing in the near future. Only time can tell.  Our travels bring us to unique parts of the world sourcing materials for our creations.

DAS18 Black

DAS18 Black

2+7: What’s your fashion must haves this season?

DAS: Heel-less shoes are hot right now.  We are in the midst of launching new designs with unique  materials.  Everybody should have a pair of wedges, pumps, platforms and heel-less shoes as part of their arsenal to look good when hitting the scene. 


Twitter: @DASmyshoes



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Martin Ahn + House of Montague

By January 30, 2012 Designers, Menswear, Shoes

If Romeo wore sneakers (and also happened to be a stylish hipster) House of Montague would surely be his brand of choice. Former FIT student and designer Martin Ahn takes us inside for a look at his fashion forward footwear collection that includes a wide range of handsomely made sneakers in a variety of styles and colors. The Capulets would be totally jealous.

House of Montague exclusive lookbook video

House Of Montague SS 12 from Martin Ahn on Vimeo.

two+seven: Congrats on this new found business! The collection is fantastic and we are so excited to hear more about your business an as a designer. I know while attending FIT we spoke a lot about next steps for you and that creating a footwear line was in the works. How do you feel finally having this dream come true?

Martin Ahn: It is sort of unreal in away because I started drawing some of these sneakers even before I attended FIT, about 5-6 years of ago, so having the actual shoes in my hand the first time was fucking crazy! I remember just sitting and staring at the protos send from our factory in Portugal for an hour or so before even going into the details and small correction that had to be made. The dream is becoming a reality and it feels weird when people are complimenting me on the shoes during tradeshows we attend. We had the fashion director from Monocle magazine coming straight to our stand, which was hidden down in the farthest corner, to look at the collection. It was weird to hear that he really liked it and wishing my partner and I good luck for the future. But all in all it a fantastic feeling to work and succeed in make ones dream a reality, now I just have to keep pushing so I may live the dream in the future.

2+7:  So of course we want to know all the deets on the founding on the brands name “House Of Montague”? Where did this originate from?

MA: Well the name comes from the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. It’s the name of the house where Romeo is from but I first took notice of the name in a song by the Artic Monkeys. I had other names for the brand in mind but somehow House Of Montague just stuck with me and slowly everything came together like a puzzle. The name went well with the logo I had in mind, which is a crest and the fact that I named all the shoes after girls, like Romeos obsession with different women. Therefore, I decided on House Of Montague.

 2+7: Ex-girlfriends eh? Most of us want to forget about our ex’s but you seem inspired by them. How did this come about and how do they influence the collection?

MA: Well, unlike a lot of people I have a pretty good relationship with most of my ex’s but the shoes in the collection are actually to some point inspired by the person they are named after. Not saying that when I designed each shoe I was thinking of the person in that specific moment but the first shoe I designed was the style MALENE, which is inspired by a Chuck Taylor silhouette. My first girlfriend back in the 9th grade, Malene, always wore Chucks when we dated, so it was kinda obvious that she would get the first shoe. Another silhouette, ROZANNA, is inspired by a derby shoe and named Rozanna, because like her personal style, its classic but with a twist. So the shoes relates to each girl in some way.

2+7: If you could describe House of Montague in a few words what would they be?

MA: Classic with a contemporary twist.

2+7: The collection seems it would meet the need of different men. If you could pick “the guy” that would wear the collection what is he like?

MA: I am that guy, I design shoes for my self to be honest. I always think about what I want in a shoe and what I believe is missing or could be fun to change in current silhouettes.

Style: Cecilie

2+7: Where do you pull inspiration from?

MA: The Inspiration comes from everywhere but I always start a new design by looking at shoe silhouettes that I like and build from there. I spend a lot of time looking at pictures that captures people on the street, blogs like the Sartorialist, Jak and Jill, and Guerreisms are great because they capture peoples individuality and uniqueness. Music is of course another big source of inspiration, I NEED music when im drawing or else I cannot work.

Style: Cecilie

2+7: Where are you sold?

MA: At the moment House Of Montague is only sold in stores around Europe and Asia but we are shipping to the US through our webshop found on the website.

Style: Malene

2+7: What’s next and where do you see the collection going?

MA: Next move is to keep it going and be consistent in every collection I put out, which is the most important. I believe that if we stay consistent and introduce fresh ideas in every collection success is evident, just have to be patient. We are trying to expand through out the european and asian markets with help from agents and distributors, and acquire the best accounts in every major city in Europe and Asia.

Style: Malene

“Hopefully we are able to introduce some new “girls” in the coming seasons but I think four is more than enough for guys to handle around the world for now. ” -Martin


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Check out the exclusive House of Montague lookbook video

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