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Designers Payal Khandwala & Rana Begum Speak On Drawing A Successful Career While Tracing Family Love

  • IWB Post
  •  July 28, 2018

We’ve long been reading articles about working women discussing work-life balance and enjoying their ‘having it all’ moments. Doesn’t it feel nice when these wonder-women reveal the victory moments they experience after the struggles they’ve gone through for years? This particular Elle interview featuring two ace Fashion Designers – London-based artist Rana Begum and Mumbai’s Payal Khandwala – recites exactly that.

As Rana puts it, “In those moments, it becomes clear to me that being a good parent doesn’t come from reading books or researching solutions online; it comes from accepting that you will mess up, and each time that happens, you have to learn from it and continue. I want my children to see my struggles and my successes; I want them to learn from their own mistakes in the same way that I do. I do struggle — with finding the time to push my work and wanting to spend all my time with my kids. Both drive me equally mad.”

Rana Begum

Rana Begum

The two artists recently put across their views on how (differently) they’ve been living a life that motivates them to be at the top of their game without compromising on the personal front. For example, both Rana and Payal think the process of creating a garment is a way of expression. While the former calls it her visual mode of expression, the latter considers designing therapeutic. “To be able to create something that is personal and speaks to another is a powerful thing. Being a painter and a clothes-maker allow me to give my ideas a voice — and that I make a living doing what I love is a bonus I don’t take for granted,” says Payal.

Interestingly, according to Rana, her creative work often hints towards some major social issues prevailing in our society. She explains, “My identity and creativity are inextricably bound. I aim to produce pieces that transcend the boundaries of race, religion, and class. However, my heritage, and being the mother of two mixed-race children, highlights the complexity of identity in post-Brexit Britain and Trump’s America. Identity has become tangibly quantifiable. When my children ask me about their parents’ history, culture, religion and childhood, the answers I give them suddenly feel more loaded and heavily weighted than they did a few years ago.” Wonder what inspires and shapes Payal’s aesthetics? The answer is colours. “I’ve painted my whole life, and my journey with it goes back to when I was a little girl. But I’m also deeply inspired by proportions and architecture. I love line, shape, geometry, origami, the simplicity of math, and logic. And I try to use these elements in my work. I prefer my designs to be minimal, but I can be inspired by almost anything — music, painting, philosophy, even a carpet or a flower. As long as I can find a way to make it abstract and graphics, I’m open to all points of inspiration,” she shares.

Payal Khandwala

Payal Khandwala

During the interview, the artists also shared their views on feminism. Scroll down to read their simple yet powerful quotes below:

Payal: “Feminism is nothing more than being treated as an equal. Women must have the freedom to choose, even if that choice is not something you approve of. Being a true feminist is sometimes about understanding that having the luxury of choice is more important than the choice itself.”

Rana: “I love what feminism has achieved so far. But I personally see being female as only half the battle. Growing up, not only did I face gender issues, but also with the colour of my skin and my culture. And in the UK, experiencing racism was simply a part of life.”

h/t: Elle

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