Q&A with Fashion Connoisseur and Trailblazing Entrepreneur Sourabh Sharma
![Alt Text](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1616642738633-15GTBADEEDO0SSA4XEJ9/image0-8.jpeg) Some people have an inherent knack for fashion—and not just for following trends announced by Vogue, fashion influencers, and mass-produced mainstream brands (like Zara or H&M) as gospel. These types of people feel it, they set trends and are able to forecast them with the precision of an economist. There is so much more to fashion than blindly cycling in random pieces regardless of whether they work with your own style, body, and wardrobe arsenal. When done right, fashion is an art form, something Sourabh Sharma knows all too well. The creative director, serial entrepreneur, and overall multi-faceted creator is a fashionista by nature. He is a regular at fashion weeks around the world, has a digital marketing company FIG or out that works with numerous brands on scaling their creativity and commerce, been featured in and contributed to Vogue, Allure, Yahoo!, Kaltblut, L’Officiel and F*cking Young, and is on the founding team of Print All Over Me, a leading on-demand print fashion and custom clothing brand. Sourabh goes through the world with intense sensory experiences and is never one to shy away from bold looks, which is why we chose him for a Q&A on his take on the industry, trends to come, and so much more. Flaunt: What do you think qualifies someone as having a “good fashion sense?” Sourabh: Style isn’t a display of wealth but an expression of imagination. I am drawn to nonconformists who are comfortable in their own skin. This is similar to what attracts me to people in general. Flaunt: How did you get interested in fashion? Did you like it from a young age? Sourabh: Observation. I was always intrigued by cuts and styles and colors, and having grown up traveling transatlantically from the US to Tanzania to India to Western Europe, I viewed a kaleidoscope of trends. It also helped that my parents and older friends embraced a crackling nightlife which demanded that they dress up, thereby guiding my fertile observations into a fashionable realm. Flaunt: What is your favorite city in terms of fashion? Sourabh: Florence for its sartorialism and utmost refined elegance (borrowed from Milano!), and New York City for its laissez-faire effortlessness, where everyone’s individual expressionism is alluringly stylish. Flaunt: Which Fashion Week is your favorite, and why? Sourabh: Paris for the scenography—they really put on a spectacle which irons out any critiques I would have of the apparel. Milan for style, cuts and couture of contemporary Italian style. And a special mention to Mumbai or Delhi for craftsmanship—think heavy embellishments, rooted in the likes of Naeem Khan and Bibhu Mohapatra. Flaunt: Do you see ready-to-wear as mainstay or can it coexist with couture and made to order? Sourabh: Ready-to-wear versus made-to-order is simply an attempt to balance what brings in the profits and what brings in the paparazzi. I believe both can coexist. Robe inspired attire and the WFH couture has become a mainstay and replaced the OOTD, and virtual attendances have gradually mandated made-to-order apparel with longer lead times. Conversely, ready-to-wear is the reason why fashion weeks began to taper off in the end of the 2010s, with designers focusing on commerce over shows. Flaunt: Harnessing the success of FIG or out, how can fashion brands survive in a digital age? Sourabh: Embrace and position yourself and your brand on the forefront of fashion tech. Embrace virtual reality and augmented reality to showcase your styles. And ensure you are operating sustainability and giving back to the environment. As a high waste industry, reversing the hands of time is one of the finest offline things any brand can do, which will enable the acquisition of the highly critical Gen Z market. Flaunt: What advice would you give to fashion brands to thrive post pandemic? Sourabh: Originality is difficult, creativity is easy, but relevance is a challenge. Have a definitive, and relevant point of view, and understand who your target audience is. It is a very, very saturated marketplace and having a niche is essential. Also, diversify the marketing mix; snail mail is making a comeback for those perched at home, as the digital ad space becomes crowded with everyone from your jewelry brand to plumber putting up an ad on Facebook and Instagram! Flaunt: Can you tell us a little bit about Print All Over Me’s business model? Sourabh: It is a platform where art meets design and commerce. Almost anything can be printed on anything! We have collaborations with artists, apps, musicians, designers, and more, where they can choose to print their art on silhouettes we create with high end fabrics and couture cuts, thereby marking a collaboration which works for branding, commerce, editorial, and both D2C and B2B. The combination is an unlikely one, and I hope others find it as exciting as I do! Flaunt: Who do you consider to be a fashion icon, or icons? Sourabh: I have never idolized a mortal since everyone is a combination of strengths and vulnerabilities, of good days and bad days, and that is what attracts me to them… without idolizing. I idolize the notion of individuality and confidence instead, which shows up in one’s unique style. Flaunt: What is your view on gender neutral or androgynous fashion? Sourabh: Everything should be unisex. Gender constructs in terms of apparel are highly passe and I feel the lines have always been blurry. Flaunt: Which fashion trends do you want to see have a comeback? Sourabh: Shoulder pads, long tailcoats, bouffants, mullets, bubble gum pink lipstick, long lace gloves, unisex corsets...the list is really endless. Flaunt: What trends do you foresee being huge for 2021? Sourabh: Robes and tie-waist jackets, kimonos and long tail jackets. These are classics inspired by the WFH-loungewear-meets-contemporary outfits of the day. I also foresee shoulder-padded and boyfriend jackets to be a mainstay - think big and cozy versus tailored or cropped. Folk and tribal inspired prints are making a comeback, which is exciting owing to the geometry and color scheme combinations. And sorbet hued tones as well as Pantone’s yellows and greys that will melt into golds and silvers by winter will ensure that sparkles, metallics and embellishments never languish.