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This jewellery designer is taking Indian craftsmanship to global shores

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US-based designer Deepa Gurnani and her husband Jay Lakhani are giving a global platform to Indian embroidery techniques and craftsmanship with their fashion accessories label.

This jewellery designer is taking Indian craftsmanship to global shores
Ever since she can remember, Deepa Gurnani always admired beautiful pieces of jewellery at every wedding she attended. “After returning home, I would try to sew pieces together that I thought were remarkable from the event. I still have many of those pieces in my archives and these make me smile each time I look at them,” narrates the 40-year-old New York-based accessories designer.
Today, along with her husband Jay Lakhani, the girl with glittering dreams in her eyes retails her eponymous label from over 1,000 stores worldwide, including Ensemble, Clove, Amethyst, Ogaan, Nimai and Bombaim in India. Her pieces have been worn by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, the Kardashians, Nicole Scherzinger, Paris Hilton, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Deepika Padukone to name a few.
US-based designer Deepa Gurnani and her husband Jay Lakhani are giving a global platform to Indian embroidery techniques and craftsmanship with their fashion accessories label US-based designer Deepa Gurnani and her husband Jay Lakhani are giving a global platform to Indian embroidery techniques and craftsmanship with their fashion accessories label
Born and raised in Mumbai as the middle child of three daughters, Deepa is glad her parents “raised them to be better than the boys in our society!” Her father pushed her to pursue fashion and her parents were always supportive of her choices and proud of all she achieved. After studying design, Deepa married Jay when she was 27 and moved to New York with him.
Sharing a common passion to create a label born of Indian aesthetics, they came up with a bohemian luxury label 12 years ago called Deepa Gurnani, featuring handmade bejewelled creations such as fashion jewellery, hair accessories and belts, amongst others.
US-based designer Deepa Gurnani and her husband Jay Lakhani are giving a global platform to Indian embroidery techniques and craftsmanship with their fashion accessories label
Each piece is created by hand in workshops in Sion, Mumbai, by highly trained artisans using embroidery techniques passed down from generation to generation. “The aim is to keep the exquisite art of traditional hand embroidery alive,” says Deepa, explaining why it’s important to educate their artisans in new techniques and innovations.
US-based designer Deepa Gurnani and her husband Jay Lakhani are giving a global platform to Indian embroidery techniques and craftsmanship with their fashion accessories label
Every piece they produce undergoes three rounds of intense quality control before leaving the factory. “Everyday objects inspire me,” says Deepa, who travels to India every six weeks. “I look at things with a different eye and try to convert everything I see into a hand-embroidered work of art.”
US-based designer Deepa Gurnani and her husband Jay Lakhani are giving a global platform to Indian embroidery techniques and craftsmanship with their fashion accessories label
Working with her spouse has been a ‘fantastic’ experience for her. “Both of us share the same vision for the company and handle two separate areas in the company to make that vision come to life.  The only area we overlap in is design and that is the best part of the business for me!” she smiles.
US-based designer Deepa Gurnani and her husband Jay Lakhani are giving a global platform to Indian embroidery techniques and craftsmanship with their fashion accessories label
The duo handles two brands: the Pret brand “Deepa by Deepa Gurnani” has items retailing under Rs 10,000 and the luxury brand Deepa Gurnani starts from Rs 10,000 per piece and works its way up depending on the embroidery techniques used as well as the quality of materials used.
US-based designer Deepa Gurnani and her husband Jay Lakhani are giving a global platform to Indian embroidery techniques and craftsmanship with their fashion accessories label
“The fashion jewellery industry is growing each day in India,” opines Deepa optimistically. “India is a strong force today. People understand fashion, style and trends that are popular worldwide. The growth opportunity is tremendous in India at the moment.”
Jay constantly inspires her with his hard work and his belief that there is room for everyone at the top. Deepa, who admits she is spiritual by nature, has developed equal respect for everyone and understands that life is short. “So live each day to the fullest potential!” she signs off.
 
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