Akshada Khaunte, born and brought up in the capital city of Goa and married to a prominent businessman, today runs a successful venture of her own, a fashion studio: her dream, label named Akxada Counto.
According to Akshada, her journey into the fashion world began right from her childhood. Akshada is one of those self-made ladies who pursued her dreams in the world of fashion despite no formal education in the field. She is also an inspiration to many others who believe in their dreams.
“Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been inclined towards fashion, being well-dressed and keeping up with the trend. My love for fabrics and passion for dressing and designing is what lead me to start my own label AKXADA COUNTO”.
“I’m a commerce graduate with specialization in Business Management and I do not have any formal education in the field of fashion designing, it’s just out of sheer passion and dedication that I create my own designs under my label,” said Akshada, She also added that, despite having it on her mind to pursue her dream of being a designer, after her marriage, her main focus was on her family and upbringing of her children as she knew that being in this field would require a lot of time. Now that her children have grown up she realized that she has enough time on her hands and to give 100% to her dream project.
When we learned about her passion and her pursuit of a dream, we decided to meet her to find out more about her journey, and here are the excerpts from the interview with Goa’s upcoming fashion designer, Akshada Khaunte in conversation with Shreya Prabhu.
SP: How did your learning process begin, was there anyone or anything that helped with the same.
AK: I think it all began when I was a young girl when I would see my mother design and stitch beautiful dresses for me. My mother was a very talented and creative lady and she too had a passion towards designing and stitching. Back then there were neither designers nor a large choice of fashion stores in Goa, so she would design some of my outfits herself.
Going back to those days I remember myself stitching handmade dresses for my dolls from the leftover fabrics used for my outfits, so that’s probably where it all started from.
As far as being influenced, I was always been fashion-conscious and believed in dressing up well so I would give my own designs to the tailors and customize my outfits. Since I didn’t have any background in fashion designing, I took some assistance from my designer friends who have been in this field for quite some time. They assisted me with the basic know-how, sourcing the raw materials, and the other requirements that go into the process.
SP: Were there any hurdles you faced while entering this line and field? Tell us more.
AK: Definitely, Goa being a small state it isn’t as well-equipped as other states in terms of production houses, the supply of raw materials, etc so, yes we faced a lot of challenges in the beginning.
We have a team of craftspeople such as Masters, tailors, Karigars for different types of embroideries, who work behind making the garments along with the designer and it’s not easy to find skilled craftspeople for these jobs in Goa. All the sourcing of fabrics, other raw materials, and skilled people took some time for me.
When I started my journey there was a lot of traveling involved to source the right and good quality fabrics and other raw materials which were very time consuming but over a period of 3 to 4 years I’ve gained enough knowledge to know where to procure my raw materials from, we’ve also built an excellent rapport with our suppliers and with the advent of technology, it’s much easier to communicate and place orders making it convenient to work with less travel, although most times I always prefer in personally seeing and buying the raw materials myself as that gives you the real feel.
I would still like to add that in Goa, we lack the resources on many fronts, therefore, making us dependent on other states.
SP: When you launched the label, “Akxada Counto” what aspect or segment of the society were you focusing on? Tell us more.
AK: As I mentioned to you earlier we focus on using pure fabrics and only good quality raw materials, as compared to synthetic fabrics used by other brands or designers, so it definitely adds up to the cost of the garments.
Another thing is we don’t mass produce so as to give exclusivity to our clients this also restricts the cost-effectiveness. As such our designs are preferred by the upmarket and conscious consumers.
SP: You are very well known for your exclusive designs and your materials, so would you like to elaborate more on this and tell us about your concept of design.
AK: “Akxada Counto designs are single piece”. When I started my own label I was very clear that our designs will not be repeated which offers exclusiveness to our clients. Goa being a small state, you end up being a part of the same social circle and we would prefer our clients to proudly wear our designs without a hitch.
I was also very particular that I would be using more pure and sustainable fabrics. Fabrics that are luxurious yet natural.
SP: Lastly what does fashion mean to you? Tell us more.
AK: Fashion according to me is being in your own skin and being comfortable in what you’re wearing and it is not necessary that you copy something or go in with a trend just because someone else is doing the same. When you feel comfortable in it, is what you’ll look good in.
Fashion is a way of who you are, and it represents who you are and what you are and for me, comfort comes first.
Concept and styling – Alexandra – Faye
Assisted by Tasha Zafar and Seema Prasad
Photography – Rawa fry Media
Location – DoubleTree by Hilton Goa