GIRL ON TOP: Dipika Gupta Discusses What It Takes To Thrive As A Fashion Designer & Opens Up About Her Journey To Success

| June 5, 2012 | 0 Comments

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This week’s “Girl On Top” interview is very special to me because I have followed the career of the design team behind the brand Kavi Kavi for years. Unbeknownst to Dipika, I have admired her work since I was in my teens. I remember watching Toronto Fashion Week for the first time, years ago, and the very first show that I laid eyes on was showcased by Kavi Kavi. I watched in awe and was simply amazed by the attention to detail and beautiful color palettes and told myself one day that I would make the connection with my own passion and become a house-hold name like these sisters. Since then, I did move on to excel in my own career path(s) and I will always remember one of my influences, Dipika Gupta. Moving forward, I want to introduce her story to you. She is a woman of self-discipline and incredible work ethic and those of you who would like to pursue a career in fashion can learn many things from her! After studying business and making the transition into fashion, her risk was totally worth it and now after a whirlwind of challenges, she is thriving in an industry she loves [alongside her sisters of course] and is happier than ever. What have I learned from Dipika? I’ve learned that anything you love is worth fighting for.

How old are you? 20s/30s/40s?
Early 30′s

What is your zodiac sign?
Twin sign Gemini and a twin!

What is your educational background?
I studied Economics & Accounting at the University of Toronto. Then I went to George Brown college to study fashion design.

Where were you born? Raised? Live now?
I was born in Zambia as a twin. Raised in India during the 80′s for 4 years.  Now, I live in Ontario, Canada and I’ve been here for over 25 years. I love to travel though! So whenever I get a chance , I like to travel for work and pleasure.

Single or Taken?
Single but….

First job ever?
1996 – Le Chateau, a retail clothing company while I was in high school. I worked as sales rep and intern.

First “real” job?
Information technology analyst at the Bank of Montreal corporate office.

What are your 5 “must haves” [for the summer]?

GUCCI HIGH HEEL PLATFORM ANKLE STRAP

GUCCI HIGH HEEL PLATFORM ANKLE STRAP

J BRAND JEANS

 JBRAND JEANS

NEON BAGS

NEON BAGS

CROP TOPS

 CROP TOPS

SHORTS

SHORTS

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How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my personal style as alluring, elegant and sometimes risqu�. I do love to be comfortable as well so I try to integrate casual with dressy.

What is your favourite book?
I don’t really have a favorite book. I used to read a lot of philosophy books, but I can’t even remember any names. Oh!Someone did give me a book by Alice Rawsthorne. It was about his Yves Saint-Laurent’s biography. I enjoy reading non-fictional material. Bookssuch as: Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings don’t interest me at all. I have such a busy schedule that I now read fashion blogs, magazines, news online etc.

What are you currently listening to?
Gotye, Jennifer Lopez, Flo just a lot of top 40 to be honest.

So what do you do?
I am a fashion designer for my own company called Kavi Kavi

Take us along the path (personal & professional) that took you where you are today.
Well I took interest in fashion and sewing clothes from the age of 7. My mother used to sew clothes for us all the time. She actually started sewing at age 13 for her younger sisters back in India. After moving to Montreal, Canada back in the 80′s she attended Concordia University to study fashion design. My dad used to bring home Vogue magazines for her and she would also watch Fashion Television and all the Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Versace shows. I always sat next to her and was mesmerized by all the beautifully designed clothes on the runway. She then went on to take on a professional design career at a very well-known lingerie design company called Warners. I started sewing when I was ten years old and used to wear my own creations to school. I actually sold a pair of pants at the age of 12. A friend at the time loved them and said she will pay me 50$ for them. I was really flattered especially when she wore them to school. I just knew that someday I would become a designer.

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My father never really encouraged my artistic career, he wanted me to be a doctor or an engineer especially at the time of the high-tech boom. He thought those were more realistic career choices. So I went to the University of Toronto first to study business courses then right after I found the courage to go to Fashion Design school. My father later was happy with my decision because I showed him that I was dedicated in this field. After graduating fashion school I decided to start a company and not intern anywhere. I felt I knew enough to start my own label and then asked an older sister to join with my twin sister.

Starting a fashion label was a lot more work then I had anticipated. It’s a business after all and we are creating products. It wasn’t all glamorous. Once Kavi Kavi was launched in 2006, it received a lot attention. We were asked to do all types of shows In Toronto from Toronto fashion week to major Charity fundraising shows. Kavi Kavi sold in stores located in Montreal, Toronto, California and Online.

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We (the sisters) all had 9 to 5 professional jobs while working in KaviKavi. Sometimes it wasn’t easy at all especially when it was starting to take over our leisure time. You really have to be dictated and love what you do and learn from trial and errors. We made many mistakes. Things weren’t always smooth. For example ordering fabrics from Italy at a time when they shut off for the summer and the delivery arrived 2 months later. No one just gives you a manual with a list of A to Z on how to start a fashion company and especially how to find the right suppliers and manufactures. I started to go to India because I wanted to manufacture there. I just loved how the tailors worked. I can also speak the language, so it made it a little easier to work with them.

For the spring summer 2012 line, I traveled to India to work with talented embroidery hand crafters. I went to Rajistan, which is the most historic state. Many well know European designers also go there for inspiration. I worked at the factory for about ten hours a day with 15 employees. It was so exciting for me. Just creating and seeing my designs come alive after putting in a lot of thought and research made me feel good. I get excited choosing fabrics, beads, zippers and then creating the actual garment with my team. I feel really elated when creating. My soul gets content.

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Kavi Kavi is now sold in New York City and also has been relocated out of the USA, but we’ll still continue to sell in Canada. The new line is getting a lot of positive reviews from many established fashion editors. Kavi Kavi will be in the summer issue of Lush Luxury as well as other publications such as Instyle etc.

I never thought of myself as an inspiring woman for others. I just do what I love enough through tough times. It has not been an easy journey, but I learned that if you keep working hard towards your goals you will start to see results and watch your passion and company grow.

Somaya Reece (left) wearing a Kavi Kavi shirt on the red carpet

Somaya Reece (left) wearing a Kavi Kavi shirt on the red carpet

 What’s the toughest thing you’ve been faced with thus far?
Launching a label. It will not run by itself and it’s a lot of hard work. You have to constantly invest your time and money in a competitive industry. I’m not complaining but it’s very though, just starting a company period.

What did your parents want you to be?
Parents wanted me to be a Software Engineer, Doctor or a Lawyer.

What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
“Listen, observe, listen observe” – my dad

What advice do you have for women who want to follow in your footsteps?
I would say to get proper education in fashion design, find your niche, do internships, follow mentors, have a plan, keep up with latest trends and do it for the passion not for the money. Money will eventually follow.

Is it possible for a woman to successfully balance both love and career? Why or why not?
Yes, it’s possible for a woman to successfully balance love and career. The key is “balance” And “prioritize”

What’s next for you?
Next for me is to launch a new website which is in works at the moment and design the Spring/Summer 2013 Collection which I am really excited about!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years… 10 years?
Married with a couple of kids and selling my line internationally! I’d like to show Kavi Kavi at Paris fashion week. It’s my dream to showcase there!

And last but not least, where can readers find you? Facebook, Twitter, Website, etc.

Website: www.kavikavi.com

Twitter: DipikaguptaFD

Facebook: Kavi Kavi by Dipika and Ravika

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Category: Blog, Girl on Top

About the Author ()

I am the co-founder of New Girl on the Block, a mentorship platform for millennial women who are dealing with major life and career transitions. In addition, my passion includes advocacy for anti-bullying and mental health in which I contribute my free time spreading awareness, providing expertise on media platforms and delivering keynote talks in schools nationwide. When I'm not working with young adults, I am growing my brand as a content strategist. I have successfully crafted a business in storytelling as a Journalist, Author and Ghostwriter.