Love at first sight. That’s how I felt when I saw the Frozen collection by Papa Don’t Preach. And I’m not the only one. Shubhika Sharma Davda’s fan following has skyrocketed since she launched her collection in 2010. With attention from mega bloggers like Miss Malini and Rhea Gupte to features in Indian Vogue and Elle, Papa Don’t Preach is blowing up. I spoke with Shubhika about her label, which is breaking barriers and creating a space for rebellious risk takers who want to showcase sexy, yet adventurous moods via bold wardrobe choices. Learn how Papa Don’t Preach creates high drama in new and exciting ways and challenges global fashionistas to think outside the box.
Shubhika, tell me about your roots. What drew you to fashion as a career?
This may sound off tangent but this one is for the parents. Observe your child before you pack them off to bharatnatyam classes and cricket coaching classes. What a child does early on, in those empty spaces during the day, is where her natural talent lies. As we grow old, we stop listening to ourselves, and start to let the noise of the outside world in.
In my youth, I made clothes for Barbies and glued fabric onto their feet for cool shoes. I cut off pockets from my six-pocket cargo pants, attached a string and wore them as a sling bag to school. After university and internships, I had an opportunity to buy out a local tailoring shop that was deeply in debt. My dad helped me make my first business acquisition. And at the age of 19, I owned a tailoring shop with three tailors and one masterji (pattern cutter), and there was no looking back.
Post-graduation, my best friend looked after my shop for a year while I studied at the London College of Fashion. In 2008 I returned to launch Papa Don’t Preach, combining my two loves, music and PAPA.
Your Fall/Winter 2014 show, “Frozen”, was described as magic on the catwalk. I saw a mix of style icon Emma Watson and quirk goddess Luna Lovegood walking down that runway. What do you hope viewers take away from this collection?
Thank you for the use of magic! I do love that word so! In Frozen, I was inspired by our innate need as humans to freeze all things precious in a moment of perfection. This collection is a glimpse into the secret worlds bubbling inside of some seemingly simple girl’s complex imaginations.
It’s a wonderfully snow-clad place, which lies tucked away, behind love-locked gates. It shines, bejeweled with all things precious and moments dear to her. Be it a lover’s rose, mummy’s soft kisses or marathon journeys along rough roads; these precious memories all reside here, enshrined as glorious mementoes, frozen into a state of exactness.
When it comes to fashion, what’s in is out in quicker than a blink. How do you stay ahead of the curve, regardless of trends, with your brand?
One enters into fashion or any arts field because of an intense need to create. Driven by this need, ever-changing fickle trends become irrelevant.
Yes, it is important for a business owner such as me to respect the value of trends, as they are what drive the sales. We absolutely do that here at Papa Don’t Preach. BUT one cannot get consumed and deviate from the core and what makes you/your label unique. And a creator always enjoys the challenge of coming up with what’s new. It is the natural fuel that drives us.
Brides are always looking to break the mold with their wedding dress. What kind of bride shops Papa Don’t Preach bridal couture and why do your gowns make waves?
We are not essentially a brand that makes gowns for brides. We like to mix quirk, add interesting color, and keep it traditional in this modernized world. The wedding day is the one ‘get away free’ pass day where brides indulge in tradition head to toe with élan and we repot that. We use interesting cuts and embroidery techniques with classic and simple silhouettes in lehengas and sarees.
Name three people dead or alive you dream to see head-to-toe in Papa Don’t Preach.
Sonam Kapoor, Gisele Bundchen and Kangana Ranaut.
For a woman who prefers to dress more modestly, but does not shy away from fashion, what pieces from your collection do you recommend?
We recommend the wrap dhoti saree with embroidered tabs. It flatters all desi body types. Also the wrap dhoti skirt with a peplum top.
Drama – good or bad?
Always and always good!! Here at Papa Don’t Preach this is our motto: “IF you LOVE DRAMA, FASHION & LOVE you LOVE Papa Don’t Preach.”
How can we shop Papa Don’t Preach in North America?
All images courtesy of Papa Don’t Preach.