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Aparna Badlani
Aparna Badlani

Behind the line-up of models, under the flurry of ‘showstoppers’, exists a platform for fashion designers to sustain themselves through serious business. Retailers, promoters and stockists – the fairy godmothers – are as vital a part of Fashion Week as the designers themselves. For the buyers’ edition of our Fashion Week Survival Guide, we decided to speak to Aparna Badlani, co-owner of Mumbai’s multi designer store Atosa. The brightest smile in the room and a noteworthy sense of style, she brings a lot to the table, besides a fantastically curated outlet. Taking time out of her busy schedule, Aparna shares her Fashion Week survival tips with us.

Team MissMalini: It’s Fashion Week – first thoughts?
Aparna Badlani: Excitement, Frenzy, Budgets, The New Crop.

Team MM: What’s your game plan for fashion week with respect to shows, sales, press conferences, networking, etc?
AB: While fashion week is a great platform for all of the above, one really needs to space themselves out. Personally, I attend shows of designers that I feel will have a synergy with the store aesthetics. I do make it a point to take recommendations from the Lakme team about the must watch shows. While I’m not watching shows, I’m either meeting with designers in their booth to discuss the way forward or meeting with other fashion enthusiasts to get their inputs and store owners to exchange notes.

Aparna with Kalki Koechlin at a store event
Aparna with Kalki Koechlin at a store event

Team MM: What are the key things to keep an eye on during fashion week?
AB: The gen next show is something that I most look forward to, since we are a store that promotes a lot of young talent. This show is very special and important to me.

Team MM: Anything one should avoid?
AB: Please, please avoid dressing outrageously just because it’s fashion week! It’s a place for business, not a Halloween party!

Team MM: What are your weapons of choice – tools you need to battle through those 5 days?
AB:  Bottle of water, lip gloss.

Anjana Sharma, Aparna Badlani, Kannika Saluja
Anjana Sharma, Aparna Badlani, Kannika Saluja

Team MM: We’ve all been through this, you watch a show you absolutely hate and then you bump into the designer who asks you that dreaded question, ‘what did you think of it?’ Do you let him have it or do you have an escape plan? Any stories you can share?
AB: It really depends on my equation with the designer and how experienced the designer is. If it’s a new designer, one understands that it is a process and one needs to be given a chance to grow. So while I would be honest, I would not bring their morale down. With a more established designer, I would be upfront.

Team MM: What stresses you out the most during fashion week? How do you cope?
AB: The long days and even longer nights. It is most often very stressful and tiring to keep up with watching shows and doing meetings through out the day and then going to party at night. I feel that the parties should be restricted to the first and last day only.

Team MM: What’s the energy supply that takes you through the 5 days of shows, selling & parties?
AB: It’s important every now and then between shows to catch a breath, so that one does not get exhausted between shows and meetings. I find myself most often finding a corner and just gathering my thoughts, planning myself and then moving on.

Aparna is all smiles
Aparna is all smiles among these Nikhil Thampi dresses

Team MM: What’s your post fashion week detox/revival secret?
AB: Leave town! Go to a calmer, quieter place for some solitude and fresh air.

Team MM: One piece of advice that you can give the buyers who are new to the game?
AB: Know your designers and more importantly, know your product. It makes the selection process easier.

Fashion Week madness begins today! Have you read our Fashion Week Survival Guide series?