It’s not everyday you get invited behind the scenes at a lookbook shoot for an established Asian fashion designer. Shalini Gupta Patel of Red Dot Jewels extended a kind invite to a sneak peak at her upcoming collection called White Mughals.
“This came about from a book by William Dalrymple where a British dignitary falls in love with a Hyderabadi princess so it’s all about that fusion between Western and Asian culture, which is very relevant for British Asians”, Shalini explained.
It isn’t uncommon to see a fusion of west and east when it comes to Asian fashion particularly for a western market. However basing a collection around a particular piece of literature hones in on a specific time in history where South Asian fashion trends were unlike the kind we see in the current marketplace.
By reinventing fashion during this era and completing a look with colourful jewellery – and hair and make up by Bashy – Red Dot Jewels achieved glamour with an air of regality.
The company was started three years ago after Shalini’s nine year career in IT.
“Like most young Asian girls growing up, I loved Asian fashion. I try and travel to India every year and buy clothes and jewellery there,” Shalini explained. The current jewellery market consists of two extremes; real gold, authentic stones that are at the highest end of the price scale and everyday imitation jewellery that can be found on the high street.
In order to compliment luxury designers like Tarun Tahiliani, there needed to be a meeting point where jewellery still reflected exquisite design and detail, but for a fraction of the price. This is where Red Dot Jewels provided a solution.
“I’ve always loved gemstones and diamonds and wanted to take that a bit further. We did a few trial exhibits for people we knew in the industry and got some incredible feedback. After that, I quit my job, travelled to India and spent some time finding the ideal workshops that would produce the work I wanted done. I often go out there and whilst I do design the collection, I have a team out there that I work with to develop concepts.”
Being inspired by literature makes for a beautiful collection, but what about other pockets of inspiration?
“I think anyone in the creative industry is inspired by several aspects of day to day life whether it’s buildings, something you eat or an outfit you see. I recently went to the V&A and came away buzzing with ideas. There are so many design elements within the V&A such as showing the first telephone to exploring what luxury means. You get get inspiration from anywhere.”
Their extensive range currently available on their online store may still be quite a stretch for some, but it is definitely far more affordable and accessible than top tier jewellers. Designed strategically, several items can be worn with both traditional Asian and western clothing. Versatility is an important factor when investing in jewellery and Red Dot Jewel’s behind the scenes shoot of their White Mughals collection exhibits this perfectly.