INTERVIEW: Swati Padmaraj, Founder of ATIZ Fashion House

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Swati Padmaraj is founder and owner of Àtiz Fashion House. Her designs are rooted in her previous life as a chemist, where she spent 6 years understanding the theories and structural composition of the molecules, which are relevant to her work today.

With Master Degrees in both inorganic chemistry and business, Swati takes a science-based approach to her luxury womenswear collection. Fashion has been a lifelong passion, and her ability to combine her inorganic chemistry knowledge to this love has resulted in some incredible designs. Her background guides everything from product development to environmental choices. Some ways in which she is combining her knowledge of both science and fashion include:

  • Environment: Although “green“ and “organic” are current buzzwords, her insights into the natural make-up of certain fabrics paired with manufacturing processes reveal which popular choices can actually harm the environment. Did you know that polyester may be more environmentally friendly than “organic” cotton?
  • Product Development: Àtiz features striking hues of color on garments that are lasting pieces in the wardrobe. The chemical make-up of fabrics determines how fibers will accept color saturation and at what level it will compromise the fabric. Using the highest quality materials such as silks, jacquards, tencel, rayon/linen blends, Padmaraj is able to produce garments that last.
  • Finishes: The possibilities with chemistry are endless, especially when selecting or manipulating synthetic fibers such as acrylic, polyether, or spandex and applying innovative fabric finishes. We've seen this in activewear that offers UPF protection, and in the dyes and pigments selected by Padmaraj that deliver shiny or opaque colored threads to enhance the designs.

The current and debut Àtiz collection features the trench gown, a classic, elegant statement piece that works to bring out the personality of the woman wearing it. Additional signature design elements include floral embroideries, intricate stitching, detailed inserts, translucent layering, and dresses in silhouettes that flatter the body. HYPEFRESH® Magazine's Clark Kennedy had the opportunity of a lifetime to speak with the genius behind the vision of ATIZ Fashion House exclusively. Check it out, and don't forget to leave your comments below!

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What called you to the fashion world to become a designer after being established as an inorganic chemist?

I was always interested and passionate about designing and styling. Growing up, I was inspired by my fashionista mom who always made me conscious of what I wore. However in India the culture was to get a degree in the sciences and have a well paid job so I opted for chemistry and got my masters in it. Out of all the sciences I could relate with chemistry the most as it was close to the elements of life. Who knew that knowledge of chemistry is going to play a very important part of me being a designer!

Later when my kids were in high school I decided to pursue my true passion and got a bachelors degree in fashion from the International Academy of Design & Technology.

For you, what is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?

My favorite part of being a designer is to sketch. I conceptualize a design in my mind and then draw the illustration. That is a very great feeling. I would love to share a quirky fact about myself. When I am I am sketching I never use a eraser. Whatever flows on the paper becomes my design.

I also love the process of deciding what fabric to use for that design. The touch and feel of the fabric is really exciting. I just love that part of designing.

Let's talk about ATIZ... What inspired this line / style of fashion your presenting to world?

Atiz is a luxury brand for the global woman who loves to travel. The spring Summer 2015 collection was inspired by the Seattle skyline. There is a lot of muted colors like the grey, pale rose, blues etc., My statement piece, the sequin Trench Gown is inspired by the Columbia tower; the tallest building in Seattle.

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The quality.. What was the process you used to select the materials for your collection?

I take a lot of time to decide what fabrics to use in my collection. It has to a good quality, should be comfortable and luxurious to feel. And most important is how environmentally friendly it is and how well it takes the color saturation. After all that is taken into consideration, I take time to decide what lining to use. For me the lining is equally important as it is this part of the garment that is close to the body and dictates the comfort and that is super critical.

Overall, walk us through your creative process ?

Usually a design process consists of concept, sketch, design, prototype, sample and actual production. I am always thinking about designing. I do not wait for the season to decide what to have in my next collection. I do look at the trend reports do decide on the colors and fabrics to use and make informed decisions but most of my designing is a very practical process. I think of what I like to wear and analyize the needs and then finalize the design. I think it is a both right and left brain activity.

Lastly, what's your plan moving forward with ATIZ?

My vision and mission is to establish Àtiz as the region’s leading women’s wear and one of the most trusted names in the fashion. I have taken constructive steps towards making this possible. I have my supply chains lined up and manufacturing sorted. I have a great marketing team for branding and sales and now it is time to do product placement and reach make Atiz brand available nationally. I think if you have the passion things fall into place and start happening. So they will!!!

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