"Ignite the fire" – that's what Ishana Tolani aims to do with her label EYSH which means fire. The stunning designer embodies the very qualities she seeks to promote in every woman who wears her...
W elcome to the world of EYSHism... reads her Facebook page. Simply translated, that means a fashion philosophy where individualism is revered and elegance celebrated. It quite encapsulates Ishana Tolani herself. Moving from the exciting yet maddening world of advertising to the more creative and fascinating field of fashion was a natural progression for this stylista. Her label EYSH consists of exquisite sheer anarkalis, soft dresses with traditional embroidery, lush lehengas, shimmering saris and other gorgeous ensembles that bring out the essence of Indian couture. The gorgeous lady behind the brand tells us all about its creation.
You started your career in advertising. What was the most exciting factor of being part of the ad world?
The crazy ad world is exciting, fast moving and exhilarating! I belonged to the account management team, also known as 'The Suits' in advertising parlance. Starting my career at a multinational agency like Ogilvy, I had the chance to work on a portfolio of consumer and lifestyle brands that helped me develop my interest in brand marketing. The nonstop adrenaline rush of working with an agency, the churn of creative ideas and the pressure can get really addictive. I would say the most exciting factor of being part of it is not only learning to work under pressure but also making a significant creative impact!
How did you develop an interest in fashion designing then?
Fashion is an inevitable part of every girl's growing up years. To me it came naturally; I had a good eye for detail and a tasteful style. I did however start at the basics with "DIY" methods before getting serious about fashion enough to further study it professionally and ultimately launch my own label.
Could you tell us about your time at Central Saint Martins, London?
When I decided to start my own fashion business, I turned to Central Saint Martins to refresh my design skills. My stint at their King's Cross campus was enriching to say the least. The classrooms have seen the likes of Alexander McQueen, Mathew Williamson and John Galliano in attendance. It only inspires you to leave with much more than you arrived with. The faculty, the global mix of student profiles and being at the biggest fashion hub of the world was the icing.
How did you come up with the name EYSH by Ishana?
I believe that the name of a brand has to stand for the product, its owner and her vision. I was looking for a term that was easy to remember, crisp and had the flexibility of becoming global and I found it in EYSH which means 'fire'. This instantly resonated with how I felt about my concept at the time and exactly what I wished it did for an EYSH wearer – 'help ignite the fire within'. Besides, EYSH (pronounced as 'ai-eesh') also came close to the nickname given to me by my dear ones – 'Ish'. It felt like a perfect match.
How was your experience showcasing your collection at Vibrance exhibition?
Vibrance is a professionally run multi-designer exhibition. My experience with them was nothing less than perfect. As an exhibitor, they make sure all details are attended to right from reaching out to the right audience up to how each designer's collections are displayed and marketed. The vibe of the exhibition is very infectious and it attracts the luxury and fashion couture spenders.
Who is your most inspirational designer?
Alexander McQueen. His bold sense of looking at fashion is incomparable to date. It would be an honour to match up to as much as one tenth of his creative and theatrical style sense. His death is a sad loss to the fashion world.
How would you describe the woman who wears your designs?
Confident and style hungry.
Name one Bollywood celebrity who you would love to see wearing your designs?
Sonam Kapoor – she is a true style diva! She is experimental, bold, has good taste and knows exactly how to complete every look.
What is your target market?
A bespoke enthusiast. Women who believe in the philosophy of style and couture. That's who EYSH caters to.
Do you have any expansion plans?
Yes, while I have had trunk shows in international markets such as Spain, currently we are focused on building the brand in the Indian luxury couture wear segments within the UAE market before expanding into other markets.