How to Make it in Mumbai as a Fashion Designer

Moving countries is a big deal, but Sapana Amin knew it was a step in the right direction

Sapana Amin took a huge leap of faith. Close to 12 years ago, she packed up her life in the United States and moved to Mumbai to pursue her dream of designing South Asian wear.

“I didn’t really know anything about Indian fashion or how it was to work in a completely different country,” says Amin.

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It was the lack of options in the U.S. that led Amin to make the jump. “The Indian outfits we used to wear were so gaudy and fit so badly,” says Amin. “I saw that there was a huge gap for Indo-western garments that had the perfect blend of east meets west.”

Her plan was to first try to live in Mumbai for six months, but now years later, she is still there, carving out a path to build her own label. “It made me independent and made me realise what I was capable of doing outside my comfort zone,” says Amin.

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All of her designs are made in India by her team of tailors. She also has embroiderers and an assistant. “Sometimes I miss that feeling of working in an office environment where I am around like minded people and have a set timing to go to work and get back home, but that said, I do enjoy being my own boss and doing what I love,” says Amin.

“I create timeless pieces that my clients will wear years down the line without worrying about them going out of style.”

Her signature look is florals mixed with other prints like polka dots. “I don’t really follow trends,” says Amin. “I create timeless pieces that my clients will wear years down the line without worrying about them going out of style.”

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Starting a business from scratch was a challenge, but Amin says she never got intimidated by the process. “I focused on what I needed to do in the moment and took small steps to get where I needed to go,” says Amin. “My Mom and brother were the ones that helped me kick start my business and helped me financially when I first moved here and for a few years down the line as well because initially it’s all about money going out and little coming in.”

With her family by her side a world away and the drive, Amin has been able to build a business that has clients around the globe.

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“Make sure you are truly passionate about what you are doing because that is the only way you will give it your all and do whatever it takes to make it,” says Amin. “Everything I have done has led me to where I am today and I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”

All images courtesy of Sapana Amin.

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