Stylist and designer Pernia Qureshi on why you shouldn’t take fashion too seriously
When Pernia Qureshi, of Aisha fame started her online boutique in early 2012, it was during a time when shopping for high end designer wear online was not at all as common as it is today. “We had to go to them with presentations about the concept and why it will work,” says an energetic Pernia. “Today, the designers approach us,” she says of her venture, Pernia’s Pop -Up Shop which has become the hottest place for India’s best designers to sell their garments. We spoke to the stylist- designer- fashion entrepreneur and now, author, at the launch of her book Be Stylish with Pernia Qureshi at Taj Krishna this week. “Writing a book is something that I’ve always wanted to do; it was just a matter of when,” she explains, “So when Random House called me with the idea of writing a book on style, I thought ‘Why not?’ the opportunity was given to me on a platter and from such a great publishing house.”
While the book is an easy read, it contains fashion advice for people of all ages and took Pernia over a year to complete. “I have been dressing up since I was a little girl and I think the part I enjoyed the most was going through a lot of old birthday photographs that were stashed away. It was great fun to revisit those memories, for both me and my mom. I also enjoyed the photo shoot which we did for the book. As for the writing, I gave a couple of days to every chapter and I enjoyed every one,” says the stylist.
A Kuchipudi dancer, stylist and a designer, Pernia has a flair for donning many hats but having a lot on her plate is what keeps her going, she says. “I have made this life for myself where I get to do everything.” “I spend two hours a day dancing, and three hours in office where I design, I style and would also work on this book for the last year. I enjoy switching my energies between all these things. It keeps me excited,” she explains.
While high end brands have all taken to selling their products online, Pernia remains unfazed about the prospects of her store. “I sort of paved the way for everyone else who is starting online boutiques now so I had a great learning curve. Starting a website is easy but maintaining it requires a lot of perseverance because you need to constantly keep your customers excited. I am glad I have competition out there because it keeps me from becoming complacent.”
Although she is something of a brand in herself in Indian high fashion, Pernia believes that fashion shouldn’t be taken too seriously. “It is something that should uplift you; it is something you do for leisure.” To people who spend hours critiquing the clothes donned by celebrities she says, “I think fashion is very subjective. There is nothing wrong with taking fashion risks and having fun with it. And they are just walking the red carpet, not going to war without armour on. Don’t get me wrong, I think making beautiful clothes is an art that involves not just talent and creativity but also technique but if you are taking it too seriously then you cross the line to being a ‘wannabe’.”