In Conversation with MIOD - Interview Series
Q1. What motivated you to start 17thartstreet.com?
Aalie: In all honesty, I had never thought of starting a venture of my own (and people close to me can vouch for that) ! I always visualised myself as a design professional working in a design house or with a lifestyle brand.
However, in 2016, as they say, life happened, and it happened like an un-forecasted ‘thunder strike’, catching both me and people close to me completely off-guard, when things took an unexpected course in my career. After battling a seemingly endless rut of dejection and disappointment; undergoing nothing short of a renaissance; it took every ounce of my will-power to try for a rebound and most importantly, to re-invent myself.
Through such trying times, the only one I could rely on to pull me out was my-own-self and, the only things that I could think of doing to get myself back on my feet were those, that I could majorly do all by myself with as minimal reliance on anyone else as possible.
That is when my childhood passion for ‘making art’ re-surfaced. It wouldn’t even be the slightest exaggeration, to say that by way of self-teaching and “Making” Fluid-art, I truly re-discovered myself. That indeed was my ‘renaissance’ moment, the one that reinstated my self confidence, that I have always had ever since I was a kid, but; that had gone missing in that span of; as I like to call it; ‘The Dark Times’, with no pun intended.
So, post two years of recovery, trashing off of umpteen ideas and an endless amount of researching into the art skill, 17th Art Street by Aalie Tandon came into being in 2018.
Fast forwarding to today, what truly motivates us as a label to continue and build are our precious clients and patrons. It is a source of utmost satisfaction, to see our underlying philosophy, ‘A Thing of Beauty is joy forever’ resonating with our connoisseurs in the form of accolades and compliments that they garner or, when they appreciate our work, expressing how our creations exude an aura of beauty, joy & positivity. The little sublime sense of happiness and bliss that our art is able to infuse in their lives, is what makes what we do all the more worthwhile, keeping us all charged, every morning, when we enter our atelier.
Q2. How has the NID/NIFT experience helped you in your venture?
Aalie: I did my Bachelors in Textile Design from NIFT Delhi and Masters in Apparel Design from NID. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to receive my design education from two of the most prestigious design institutes in India, and more so, for having few of the most amazing mentors along the way.
NIFT & NID have been much more than just a critical influence towards shaping my approach not only as a skilled designer, but also, as a holistic & a responsible creative professional.
What my alma maters taught me essentially was how to be a truly responsible professional and the importance of how immensely impactful and meaningful could a designer’s role be, towards fostering and inspiring new perceptions & expressions. They encouraged liberal thinking and reasoning, mindfully exploring newer dimensions and having an empathy; some of the crucial aspects leading to a good and meaningful creative outcome, that goes beyond just being a ‘pretty piece of design’ (or Art in our case).
Over and above the core design courses offered, the micro learnings from the plethora of little capsular modules about lateral, but absolutely integral aspects, pertaining to the business of design are, what I feel, coming in extremely handy, perhaps almost as much as the focal hands-on design courses.
All these learnings largely define, rather embody, not only how I approach various aspects of my venture, but also my entire brand experience offering as a whole. Right from planning the concept & execution, to understanding & translating the client’s vision, looking for right vendors, planning promotional creatives, styling the photoshoot, handling client queries, building client relations, product presentation & packaging, etc etc etc… (a million other responsibilities to handle) to name a few; I feel the approach and the thought would never have been the same, had I not been a part of this fraternity.
So all in all, it is all those essays & research project documentations, guest speaker sessions, case study analyses, IPR & POM presentations, and capsular photography sessions to name a few of the many more, that made the entire NIFT and NID experience immensely enriching and value packed for me, not forgetting the brilliant mentorship of my tutors that made the entire training all the more worthwhile.
Q3. Describe the genesis of 17thartstreet.com.
Aalie: 17th Art Street by Aalie Tandon was essentially born in 2018, out of the need to regain my lost footing and to bring my life back on track as I had always envisioned it to be. My background in design, keenness for art and a love affair with colours led to organically start this venture.
I have always loved the process of making/crafting with my hands and have forever been both; immensely attracted to and fascinated about, combining different textures and elements, exploring unique colour combinations and looking into ways for incorporating as much detailing into my design concepts as possible, which also characterises 17th Art Street’s signature style.
I have always loved the process of making/crafting with my hands and have forever been both; immensely attracted to and fascinated about, combining different textures and elements,.......... Continue Reading...
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