designer karishma kasabia

Melbourne-based Karishma Kasabia says she was "your typical Indian" at high school. She studied all three sciences and a bit of history. "No fine arts till I took a risk in the last year of high school," she says. That decision has set her off onto an altogether different and creative path. After studying a Bachelor of Art and Design in Auckland, and completing her Masters at Monash University in Melbourne, Karishma freelanced for a couple of years and then set up her own design studio. Two years later, after a trip to Mexico, where she was inspired by the art of Frida Kahlo, and the local culture, she has launched a range of scarves handmade in India - Kish & Evie. Both projects have been done side by side with her husband Vivek "Evie" Dugar. He makes all of Karishma's designs come to life for Kish & Evie, thanks in part to his textile connections in India, where he was born. The silk/wool fabrics are made in Ludhiana in Punjab, and the embroidery is done by hand in Kolktata, a region known for that style of work. The launch range is called "Take me back to Mexico".

Which five words best describe you? Kooky, honest, smiley, sensitive, hungry.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Doodling in physics. Bachelor and Masters in art and design. Quitting a full-time job within a month and having a mortgage. Going from freelancing design to running a studio in two years. Getting burnt out with business responsibilities and using that to create a scarf range. (Somehow marriage, in-laws, a few trips to India, and a big one to Mexico, happened in between!)
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Watch the numbers. Trust your own judgement - cause you're the reason why you got to here in the first place.
What’s your proudest career achievement? A tear in my father's eye when I told him we sold a scarf to someone in Brooklyn, NY.
What’s been your best decision? 1. Marrying Evie. 2. Being defiant (this is an ongoing, reoccurring decision).
Who inspires you? Frida Kahlo was hugely inspiring for the range. She was so real, flawed and vibrant. I'm also inspired by my peers; Ms Critique, Lucy Feagins and Tess McCabe, and great women with a saucy tale to tell. I don't believe in perfection, it's a huge turnoff. Clothing: Charlotte Taylor and Bibhu Mohapatra.
What are you passionate about? Raspberries and chocolate ganache get me in bed. Sometimes the violet ice-cream from Cutler & Co can actually make me sleepwalk. Pinterest is my latest obsession. I thought it would wear off. It hasn't. Beautiful things that serve great purpose.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My dream would be to be friends with (because meeting them wouldn't suffice and choosing one is much too hard) the creatives behind Maricor Maricar - I adore their work - and the brain behind Osho.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I'm really putting myself out there with this one, but I want to be on the cover of Times (or some super highly reputed mag) for being in The Design Top 100 list. That and adopting eight children, seeing my pieces on a runway, travelling to Japan, having a second home in Mumbai and being loved (on a regular basis). No high expectations of life at all.
What are you reading? Conversations with creative women by Tess McCabe.

images courtesy of kish & evie; portrait via creative women's circle