Rekha is wearing the PS monogram print kurta with mirrorwork embroidery, all Payal Singhal
Payal Singhal started out young. She won the Designer Of The Year Award at a competition organised by Shopper’s Stop at the age of 15, and later, she launched her own label at 21. All this time, the woman behind the scenes making it all possible was, no surprises here, her mother. But theirs isn’t just a mother-daughter relationship. As her business partner of 25 years, Rekha Singhal has practically trained Payal in the business of selling clothes. Her own experience running London Fashions with her husband provided the backdrop for young Payal’s creativity. “I literally grew up on the runway. As a child, I was going to their office where we made denim wear and western clothing, and my first memory of making fashion sketches was at age 11. Both my mum and dad’s influence has been very strong. However, my mum has had a huge role to play in my label’s success today. I wouldn’t have been able to start out at 21 without her. I needed complete guidance from her in terms of how to run the business, how to run a retail store, and how to give orders,” says Payal.
As the administrative arm of her family businesses, Rekha Singhal has no formal education in the garment sector. She is self-trained in aspects of the trade such as pattern cutting and sizing. “My mum is Marwari and all Marwari women are entrepreneurial and creative. So that comes through culturally. I enjoy the sales aspect of my business as well. In terms of design, you’ll notice that my pieces are sensual while also being a bit conservative, which my clients really appreciate,” she elaborates.
Speaking of their evolving relationship, Rekha Singhal says, “As we are growing older, I have started understanding her temper tantrums and taking it in my stride instead of feeling sad or hurt. In the same way, she is becoming more patient with me as my reflexes are getting slower.”
Their bond has always been unapologetic. “In fashion, it’s frowned upon to take your mother with you everywhere. But I have never been embarrassed or shy about it. I’m like ‘This is Mrs. Singhal, and she is the owner of the company’. She comes to Fashion Week with me, and often gives her inputs on the choreography backstage,” shares Payal.
PHOTOGRAPHS: Yusuf Lokhandwala
HAIR AND MAKE-UP: Courtesy of Geetanjali Salon