Since first launching Papa Don’t Preach in 2010, Shubhika Sharma Davda’s fans have skyrocketed gaining attention from bloggers across the globe like Miss Malini and Rhea Gupte with features in Vogue India and Elle. Davda’s collection fuses traditional South Asian style with groundbreaking innovations making her a highly coveted designer.
Featured on Bangles & Bungalows, I spoke with Shubhika about her label Papa Don’t Preach, which is breaking barriers and creating a space for rebellious risk takers who want to showcase sexy, yet adventurous moods via bold wardrobe choices. Her designs challenge global fashionistas & brides to think outside the box.
Shubhika, tell me about your roots.
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.
What drew you to fashion as a career?
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 onemasterji (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 quicker than a blink of an eye. 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.
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 THE BRIDES
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.
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?