Medha Choudhary

It was like we challenged ourselves by asking what the Papa Don’t Preach Bride would look like. So the motivation has always been experimentation and that path led us to The Ballad of the Bride.” -Sakshi Jain: Senior Designer

Most Likely To: be the office chameleon, merging seamlessly with all departments

Before you became a senior designer, you were the production manager for Papa Don’t Preach. How did that come about?  

“This was my first job right out of college, about 3 and a half years ago. I finished B.COM and then did a 2 year diploma in fashion design. I started off as an intern, working for all departments, it was a great way to get integrated into the company. Once I was retained full time, I thrived in production because I enjoyed fine-tuning the metaphorical machine of designing-to-final product. I moved to New York for a year after I got married, when I moved back, I re-joined and was promoted to production manager.”

You moved to New York for a year after marriage. What was that like and how did you find your way back to Papa Don’t Preach? 

“I moved to New York for the experience, the freedom and the people. For the duration of that year, I was working part time at a perfume store and I also did a diploma in skincare. I learned so much about hustle culture and the need to always be on the move. I came back to India with an invaluable experience. I moved back to be closer to my family and my in-laws. I am from a joint family of twenty people, so I have always been very family-oriented. Fortunately, I had kept in touch with my PDP family and Shreya was going on a sabbatical, so they hired me back as the production manager. It was perfect timing and it gave me the much needed grounding after New York.”

As production manager, you took on the mammoth task of moving the production unit to Vashi and spending time with the newly employed women’s department. What did you learn from that?

“It was difficult at first, just to move and set up the entire unit into a new place. We had to get khaats, appliances and safety proofing. I spent many of my work days in Vashi and learned so much from the women there. They gave me important insights into maintaining a work-life balance. Their responsibilities to their work, family, and households are tenfold, so it was inspiring to watch them tackle each hurdle that came their way. I became closely acquainted with their lifestyle and thanks to Divya Jain, we were able to understand and implement policies for their well being. My main priority was to ensure that they felt safe and respected while they worked for us and I feel lucky to have walked away with so much knowledge from them.”

The newly launched bridal collection is your first big collection as a senior designer, what was the motivation behind the avenue?

It was almost four months in the making. We’ve always been known for our out of the box, bold and bright designs which makes it the perfect mehendi or sangeet look, where experimentation is welcomed. Bridal couture for pheras, is a very traditional, conservative territory. We wanted to respect that, while staying true to our brand ethos and the result is a shimmering wonderland of bright reds, pinks and graceful motifs. It was like we challenged ourselves by asking what the Papa Don’t Preach Bride would look like. So the motivation has always been experimentation and that path led us to The Ballad of the Bride.”

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Have you always been interested in fashion or what made you move away from production and towards design?

“I did study fashion and have always had an intrinsic passion for it. Although production gave me more stimulation. Production is something I am naturally good at but my foray into designing happened when I moved to the design HQ, which is in Lower Parel. I was hesitant at first because even though I had studied design, I had no formal training in it. All my learning happened on the job. I am in charge of pattern sampling, embroidery setting, color setting and pattern grading. While it requires a lot of creative energy, it also requires a lot of practical knowledge, time management and a structured approach. That experience came from my time as the production manager. Both design and production have been interconnected in every way possible so it does help to understand the nuances of both sides. With time I learned that it wasn’t fashion or production, it was the discipline required to get anything (design, sales, production) done. My PDP family taught me a lot about hard-work and it’s something I try to remind myself even today. That anything can be done with the right blend of dedication and commitment.” 

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