x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

'We understand each other - it all fell into place'

Bollywood's favourite designer duo, Falguni & Shane Peacock, talk about their life in fashion.

Falguni and Shane Peacock with some of their dresses at the Samsaara store in Dubai.
Falguni and Shane Peacock with some of their dresses at the Samsaara store in Dubai.

Falguni: When I was growing up I always knew I wanted to be in fashion - the big Bollywood stars, and all the fashion and styling, and trends? I just knew I had this in me. The moment I got out of school I knew I wanted to get into fashion. When I was in school I was very studious. When it came to leaving, I tried different things and over the years I wanted to do this more and more. Initially, my family weren't that supportive, but I always said to my dad: "One day I will become a big designer and show you." I always told him that. I lost my dad very young, but I know he's watching. My family is proud. When they see stars wearing our clothes, they really get excited and all the women in the family ask us to make them something for weddings.

Shane and I met through work. He was designing a collection and he wanted someone to paint onto the fabric. We met through a mutual friend and I painted his entire collection. Even now they don't do that any more, but seven or eight years back it was a really big thing, to paint on fabric and make things out of it. That collection brought us together. We understood each other and it all fell into place. We fell in love and got married. Then we thought we should do something together and take it on to where we are today. We barely even realised we were dating, and then we got married.

Ten years back, things were very different. Now in India, everything is on the way up, but then we didn't have access to so much, so we had to do whatever we could with what was available to us. The creative drive is split between us 70/30. Shane is very headstrong and very creative, but my role is to tone down the pieces for a more commercial feel. He creates crazy, mad pieces that I tone down into sellable pieces.

Shane: When I was young, there wasn't much designer wear, and I remember very clearly, for Christmas, everyone used to stitch their own garments and my grandmother used to get the fabric and wonder what to make. So I said to my granny: "Let me design something for you? Once I had made the sketch, I must have been eight or nine, she wore it and everyone complimented her on it. From that time I realised I wanted to get into something like this, although of course at that age I didn't realise it was an actual job, of fashion designing.

We were not aware of fashion so much. We only had catalogues, where we would go through and select the designs we wanted. So I used to look forward to every Christmas and Easter so I could draw something for my granny. It's only me who is artistic in the family. I went to boarding school, where we were cut off from movies and society things, so the glamour element was not there. Even when we had a show in school or something, it was the most non-glamorous show ever! We didn't know the songs, or how to walk or anything. It was only when I came back from being in a small town, to Mumbai, my hometown, that I thought, there is so much to see! My perspective changed and then one day I said to my dad, I am going to be a designer, and he said: "You want to be a ladies' tailor? That's not a man's job. You need to be an engineer!" It was hard and we fought a lot.

It took me about four or five years to get him adjusted to it, but because I had to fight for it, it made it easier somehow and I reached my goals faster. I had to prove something to him. Now he is proud. When Falguni and I got married, we'd had enough of us both working with other people and thought: "Let's launch this together." We did it in 2002. The first time we showed at India Fashion Week, we got an early Sunday-morning slot because we were newcomers, and I thought who is going to come for our show? But after the show I had the head buyer of Harrods placing orders.

Falguni & Shane Peacock is stocked at Samsaara boutique, Souk Al Bahar, Dubai.