Aarti Sethia

"When I was a young kid, I loved playing with dolls. Dressing them in cute little outfits. I even used to imagine some designs and roughly draw them on papers. My mother was highly skilled in embroidery and watching her often, I had tried multiple times too. So I began trying to create those designs I had drawn for the dolls. One of them came out good. That brief sensation of achievement pushed me towards fashion and by the time, I reached 8th standard, I was pretty clear on what I wanted to do after school. But when I completed school, my parents weren't ready to rely on my decision. They believed I was too naive to take a sensible one. So I did an undergrad course of their choice, throughout waiting for it to end and pursue what I had in my heart.

As soon as it did, shifted to Jaipur and enrolled in a fashion designing course. Few months into it, I topped the entire batch. My track record remained consistent and I was awarded a scholarship from N Sethia Foundation in London. Along with confidence in myself, I was gaining trust from my family.
I was all prepared with good knowledge and eagerness to work when I joined my first job. It was a good one and made me feel the professional life is as smooth as college, only until I had to move to another. This one began on a good note but gradually introduced some new rules that barred even the national holidays and regular weekends. Work life balance went for a toss and I had to again look for switching. I had begun to feel everything seems sweet in the beginning but shows real colors later on. In the next job, this fact was bolstered. Employee satisfaction was high. Being assigned all tasks, I felt important, trustworthy and capable. But soon realized it was sort of taking undue advantage of my inability to say "no". Which manager makes their subordinate handle their children and household chores? It made me feel resentful and her behaviour didn't seem to alter. I was beginning to doubt my past studies and future career.

It crossed my threshold one day. We were backstage. Fashion show was about to begin. All the models were getting final touch-ups and we were setting the order. I committed a slight mistake and suddenly, she yelled at her loudest. Even threw a glass at me. Every colleague and model was watching. It was extremely humiliating and I left that place never to come back. Fortunately, I got a better job. It reinstated my self-belief and motivated me to start something of my own. The experience had showed me right and wrong to much extent. I set up my own studio and picked up a few clients from referrals. Began from men clothing - a less crowded target market. My team understood my thought process and clients believed my ideas. That helped the word go across and demand increased. So picked up for women clothing as well. It was a rejuvenating phase.

I got a call for participating in a show one day. It was one of those models from that time, who had seen the unjust treatment I was subjected to. He was sincerely inviting me over and I was glad to discover my boss from that job was participating as well. I was waiting for such a day when I could prove my ability to stand beside her. On the day of the event, she was infuriated to see me and moreover, to know I would be showcasing my designs in competition to hers. She couldn't stand the thought of it but I was too calm to react. It went off peacefully and after that, I worked for various fashion houses along side plush designers like REME, White Lily, Kirti Rathore, Ekta Bakshi, Sethia sales and more. I discovered more intricacies of the industry along the way.

Some positive like having a good and cautious lifestyle. Some negative like art sometimes does not get the respect it deserves. Specially in Jaipur where I've been rejected to present at a show but lesser active ones got in, just on the basis of some contacts. But it has all been a learning and it always will. I have my direction forward and I don't want to halt because of what others are doing. I am working on Khadi and Gota Patti and determined to revive Rajasthani embroidery, craft and textile."

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