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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.