By Josie Robinson
Astha Sachdeva has always welcomed challenges with open arms by placing herself in new situations, whether that be through networking and collaboration or designing for an unfamiliar demographic. Her constant desire for new experiences brought her to Vancouver, from Edmonton, to pursue her passion for the apparel industry.
During her time at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, she was introduced to a different definition of design: one that is functional and innovative. This sparked a new passion and inspired the direction for her thesis collection, THE N[IX]NE.
THE N[IX]NE will be unveiled at 2018 The Show presented by Tamoda Apparel Inc., on April 19 and 20 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) new purpose-built Wilson School of Design building. The beautiful and innovative $36-million building houses a range of design programs including the fashion-design-and-technology program. Thirty-one other lines by KPU fashion design and technology students will also be showcased.
Josie Robinson: Describe your collection.
Astha Sachdeva: The N[IX]NE is a women’s golf-apparel brand that offers function without compromising style and allows women to look and feel their best whether they are golfing for a corporate event or at tee time with the ladies. While doing initial research, I found that this market was underserviced as golf has continuously proven to be a male-dominated sport.
I repeatedly heard comments from friends who golf about how they wished they had an alternative to a basic polo. My goal was to give these women a fresh new option, contrary to what is traditionally seen in golf wear.
JR: Walk me through your creative process.
AS: It starts with a lot of visual brainstorming: creating a giant board full of magazine tearsheets, paint chips, fabric swatches, and runway images. Then I proceed with logistics such as conducting research, seeing what’s already on the market, and forecasting what’s yet to come; for example, what’s selling versus what’s on the sales rack.
This is also where I start making numerous samples, testing fabrics, and using different machinery to analyze what would work best. After all that, I mesh together my brainstorming and initial ideas with research and samples. This is how I create the best possible outcome.
JR: What aspect of design are you most passionate about?
AS: I’m most passionate about the process of bringing together extravagant ideas and sketches, and putting them into context depending on your target market, season, price point, etc. I also love the digital component of it all: creating style cards, presentations, and branding. It’s so rewarding seeing all the different components come together.
JR: What’s the most helpful thing you’ve learned at KPU?
AS: The most helpful thing I’ve learned is that process is far more important than final product. And that it’s okay to fail because in moments of failure you pick yourself back up and create something 10 times better.
JR: How do you set yourself apart from other designers?
AS: I think my openness and desire to constantly try new things sets me apart from others. I am always thrilled to collaborate with others because in the end that usually creates a more powerful message or product.
From the moment I started this program, I wanted to explore as many markets as possible—couture, men’s tailoring, activewear, and lingerie, just to name a few. Although I have developed a growing passion for technical apparel, I am looking forward to continuing designing for various markets throughout my career.
Josie Robinson is a final-year fashion design and technology student at KPU’s Wilson School of Design.