When I met Sunaina for the first time in 2011 in her store, I liked her in an instant. She was super sweet and super nice and I liked her cute store. On that day, I had bought 2 tops from her clothing brand, Summer Love, and now, when I look back, I have had the maximum number of FB profile pics on Summer Love clothes (and I couldn’t have used a better way to describe my love for summer love). Almost all my stuff from Summer love are still intact, the fabric used were of top quality(mostly cotton and very soft) and Sunaina always gave her expert tips on which design will suit what body type etc. I never felt like giving away my Summer Love clothes, even when I may not fit into some of those now. So you have now got the intensity of the love and hence, Sunaina and her journey had to be in our “Sunshine people”.
How did Summer Love begin?
I am an apparel designer by education, so it was definitely not a hobby that I decided to pursue. The idea of Summer Love was born because I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. Not with export/manufacturing houses, nor with a design house. I find it hard to work within the constraints of themes, mood boards, rules and boundaries. So I needed to carve out a niche for myself. I guess you can say this was my “That’s it!” moment. It was purely for this reason I started out on my own. But owning a shop was nowhere on my list of plans. I was planning on only working through exhibitions and pop up stores. But somehow in the middle of all that, opportunities opened up and POOF! Before I knew I knew it, I had a shop! 🙂
What was the basic inspiration for the designs?
Sunaina: Four things drive me to design:
- Affordability: I hate how fashion drains everyone’s pocket. If it was good it was expensive, if it’s cheap it’s because it’s a reject/export surplus or its mass produced with bad fabric. I sincerely wanted to bring out a brand that had the right aesthetics, the right fabric and the right price.
- Style: I love designing simple styles, with the right fit and shape. It didn’t have to be the “IT” top or the “IN” silhouette. I just wanted to make nice clothes. It didn’t have to be trending, but it had to be a good design, in terms of aesthetics, proportion, colors, feel and fall.
- Suitability: I didn’t want to do high fashion clothing that people Oooh and Aaah about, love to own, but can’t wear. So suitability was a big factor for me. It’s incredible how women in India are trapped between the new world and the old in such a complex way. So it was important to me to make stylish clothes that not only made women feel GREAT, but also meant they could wear it without thinking twice! And they wouldn’t have to cover up the garment with a jacket, shrug or stole (our classic camouflage tools).
- Quality: Usually, if a garment ticked the above boxes, it unfortunately didn’t tick the quality box. It would usually be a synthetic, non-breathing fabric, or the stitching quality would be poor and it wouldn’t last long after regular wear. I wanted to change that.
How long has it been for you and Summer Love? And looking back, how would you describe your journey?
Summer Love and I complete 7 years this June. 🙂 Being a sole proprietor has been a rewarding roller coaster ride. The main downside of being the sole torch bearer is that you don’t get a break. You’re working all the time. A business is something that’s ALIVE, and unfortunately never sleeps. Lol. So even if you are taking that much deserved annual vacation, it’s never a complete break. You’re in touch with your tailors, machines are malfunctioning, customer orders are delayed, customers are inquiring about styles, etc etc etc. So yes I do find myself wishing sometimes, that I had a partner. So that there could be times I could switch off. But I have no regrets. Because it also meant undiluted gratification! I cannot express how Summer Love completes me. It is such a big part of who I am. And I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world. I must clarify I wasn’t entirely alone in the whole process. My immediate family and my then boyfriend now husband provided the backbone I needed to do this. They stepped in whenever I needed them without expecting ANYTHING in return. And without their unconditional help, this literally would have been impossible. And that’s not a sugar coated line meant for sentiment. That’s a hard fact. I am lucky and I am blessed. 🙂
On choosing to close “Summer Love”
Shutting down Summer Love is the hardest decision I have ever had to make, and I struggled with it for a long time. But after moving to Australia with my husband in Dec 2016, I knew this was coming. I finally decided in April 2017 that I will have to shut down Summer Love. I did try keeping Summer Love alive while being off shore. But it was getting harder and harder, with more complexities cropping up than I had previously imagined. Closing down a brand that is dying is easier to accept, but closing down a healthy brand is much harder. May 2017 will be the last month for us. I just want all our customers and well-wishers to know that this is not the end,but just an inevitable break. Life works in funny ways. I have to follow the route life has put me on for now. But believe you me, I will be back! 🙂 It is on this note that I want to say Thank you & Goodbye.
As an ode to Summer Love, I thought of sharing 4 pics in Summer love clothes since 2010 🙂