Masaba Gupta at her store in Mumbai. Gyaltsen Wangdi
Masaba was only 19 when she applied to showcase at the Lakme Fashion Week for the first time. She was hailed as the queen of kitsch right at the start. “I think I lived up to the title. I have managed to be fairly consistent with my work. A designer doesn’t need to only dress celebs or be on the front page. It’s great to do that for the first couple of years, but after that you need to get your act together,” she reasons. Today, her designs are at once considered statement makers and relatable. She designs for every girl next door to make her feel special.
“Replicas don’t bother me”
The biggest challenge she faces is getting one step ahead of the onslaught of fakes. Her work, after all, is the most replicated after Sabyasachi’s. “Initially, I thought this was the end. They’d managed to copy at such a short time — it was literally hot off the runway. But our pricing is so affordable that it doesn’t come in the way of people who actually want to buy our stuff.” Masaba has a line titled Masaba Lite and its description on her website reads: ‘Why buy a fake when you can get the original at the same price?’
“I’d make more money by suing than selling”
The designer states that you’d find the maximum fakes at shops near Vile Parle station in Mumbai or Lajpat Nagar in Delhi. “I know I’d probably make much more money if I sued the number of people copying me than I’m doing now, but you really can’t control it,” she laughs. It definitely feels strange when she spots them though. “Did you know that in the opening scene in 2 States, there are two cushion covers with my prints?”
“I’d die on a film set”
Masaba admits that designing for a film is something people are cashing in on with their tie-ups with e-commerce sites. But she also agrees that characters on screen are defined by what they wear.
“You wouldn’t have felt Kangana Ranaut’s character evolve so well if it hadn’t been for her outfits in Queen. Anju Modi’s costumes for Deepika Padukone in Bajirao Mastani made her character come alive,” she says. “If a role requires a bohemian, gypsy kind of vibe, you might get a request to create the entire wardrobe for the film. It could even be a backpack. Today, what you wear on screen reflects who you are.”
She pauses when you ask her if she’d design for a Bollywood film and then giggles: “I think I’d die on a film set. There are far too many people to please.