It seems like a lifetime ago since I last wrote a blog for Elevated Saunterer. A lot of time and many experiences have unfolded and guess what.. I’m about to let you in what I’ve been up to. After moving back to my lovely Pune city, I decided it was finally time to stop procrastinating, gather up the courage and chase my dream – to open up my own fashion label.
Ridz Castell – founded by Sue Castellino and Reema Kudalkar
Since I was a little girl growing up on a merchant navy ship, all I saw was the beautiful horizon over the ocean and people. My best memory which sparked my love for fashion was when our ship pulled into Sydney Harbor. Anyone on sea long enough can tell you the first thing you’d do is try and get a little signal. However in those days (we’re talking early 90s) with no mobiles, internet etc, you’d run to the TV antennae and try and capture some cable. In luck and with a little scanning, I stumbled upon a Gianni Versace fashion show. Vividly I still remember just how beautiful those bombshell models (not the sickly skinny ones you see nowadays) looked in those draped risque gowns. High slits, form fitting and fabric that looked like magic – it was then, at age 5, that I realized all I want to do is create garments that make women feel beautiful.
At the Studio – Sue Castellino and Reema Kudalkar
With all those emotions and an eagerness to start a label, I was lucky enough to meet my partner, Reema Khudalkar. Both of us believed in wanting to design garments that were feminine, pretty, versatile and could be worn more than once. Clothes that we would love to wear and be able to style with other pieces in our wardrobe. Reema and I both love our Indian outfits and embroidery but as modern women we needed to assimilate the Indian aesthetic with the contemporary. That’s how Ridz Castell began.
Studio space in Koregaon Park, Pune
Almost immediately, women started to gravitate to our collections. They were amazed that they could feel this good in our clothes and that designers like us even existed in our little Pune city. Within 2 years, we’d grown a huge client base in Pune, did bi-annual collections, had our own little design studio, got featured in Grazia and Femina magazine -. things were going amazingly well for two unsavvy business girls! What we felt most proud of however was being able to dress some of our clients for their big wedding day. Nothing is more rewarding than happy customers. However, fate had a different plan for Reema and I, and while all our pieces from our last collection sold out, we had to shut our doors due to personal reasons.
Ridz Castell – Summer Resort 2015. Model Jaspreet Dhillon (My Hot Bestie!)
The last couple of months have been rough, living your dream and then it suddenly being taken away is a hard thing. However, I always look at the positive side of things. I got the chance to start a business and run it successfully, it wasn’t because of bad design that it had to close, but more like a series of unfortunate personal events that are beyond anyone’s control. It’s a great feeling to get phone calls from clients even today asking if they can come and buy from the new collection!
Ridz Castell – Fall Resort 2015 (last collection). Model: Blogger Natasha Shrotri
The new plan? Like a cat that falls on it’s feet, I’m gearing up to start again with a label that is all my own. Till then, I’m going to keep blogging and urging people with every chance I get to chase their dreams!
Image Courtesy iiSuperWomanii – Video: Superwoman and Humble the Poet – Leh
Ridz Castell – Summer Resort 2014 (First ever Collection)
Ridz Castell – Winter Festive 2014 (First bridal collection)
Ridz Castell Winter Festive (First Catholic Bridal collection)