Meet Mukta Barua, our Designer of the Month, and find out what inspires her as she gives us an insight into her namesake brand and work processes from her home studio in Columbia USA.
We came across Mukta Barua designs on Instagram and loved her aesthetic so we reached out to Mukta and asked her to become one of our featured designers.
Mukta Barua designs are now available to shop on the Fashion Formula website.
What first sparked your interest in print design?
Ever since childhood, I have always had an interest in art and painting. My love for sketching and designing kept growing while in school and very soon I realized this is the thing that I wanted to pursue as a career. Being from India, I have a huge love for textile fabrics, colours and jacquard patterns. I attended the Premiere Vision New York event where I was introduced to this new world of print design studios.
What is your background? Have you always been a Print Designer?
I started my professional career in 2011 working with major brands as a Womenswear Fashion Designer. I worked with the world-renowned designer Manish Arora. While working there, I showcased my work at India Fashion Week and India Couture Fashion Week. In the summer of 2016, I moved to the United States and started working on my own. I explored the textile print industry, learned about various design studios and started with commission and licensing work starting early 2017. I also worked full time in New York for a leading textile print studio for a while, which was a great learning experience.
Where did you study?
I graduated with a Bachelor's degree (B. Des.) in Apparel & Fashion Design from India's premier fashion design school, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi in 2011.
Describe your style in 5 words
Vibrant, Quirky, Bold, Detailed, Painterly
Describe your design process.
I always start with a mood board, lots of inspirational images from the catwalk runway, trending prints and/or travel images of my own. It depends on the project. At times I just create free hand digital illustrations directly on my computer using my Wacom tab. There are days when I really put a lot of time and effort into hand-illustrated detailed sketches and/or watercolour, which I then scan and manipulate in Photoshop to create beautiful repeat patterns. I don't stick to a single style. I love to explore new techniques and be versatile, as the textile industry always demands variations, especially when it comes to the apparel and swimwear industries.
What is your favourite medium to work in and why?
My favourite mediums are watercolour, gouache, micron pens and digital painting. I love both traditional and modern methods. Recently I became a big fan of the iPad Procreate app, where I am creating a lot of digitally illustrated motifs and illustrations for textile prints. So, as of now I spend more time on Procreate :)
What is your favourite part of the design process?
I love the initial stages of sketching out ideas and creating new motifs for the pattern. I also get super excited to see my print on the final sample fabric/product.
What/who inspires you?
Indian textile, modern art and art history paintings were a major inspiration for me when I started my design career. Recent Designer/Brand influences include Etro, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, Richard Quinn, Ulla Johnson, Zimmerman. I also love Instagram Art Influencers such as Jenna Rainey, Bijou karman, Justina Blakeney, Meagan Morrison and Sarah K Benning
Who do you design for/who is your target market?
I design for high-street fashion brands. Also, I have a small print collection for POD sites that include Society6, Patternbank, Case App, Caseable, etc.
What have been the best/most inspirational exhibitions/museums/trips/places for you?
Premiere Vision Trade Show, Botanical Garden in Washington DC and New York, Natural History Museum in NYC, MOMA NYC
What are the highlights of your career so far?
- Finalist of Wills Debut, India in 2011, when I was in the final year of design school.
- Working with my favourite designer in India and showcasing designs at the India Fashion Weeks (2014 -2016)
- Winner of Printed Village monthly design challenges for 6 times, USA (2017)
- Spotting my prints in many high-street brands, including Nordstrom and Target
- Showcased my designs at Premiere Vision via different Print Studios in New York/Paris (2018-2020)
What are your aspirations for the future?
I want to collaborate with few of my dream brands that include H&M, Zara, and Anthropology. Also, I want to start teaching online.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a designer?
There is a lot of hard work and effort that goes into each and every print but not all designs land on final products. This is sometimes because of pricing and at other times not being able to reach proper clients at the right time. It is a competitive industry with so much talent out there.
What advice would you give to new designers?
Starting out on your own can be overwhelming. Create your own style and believe in what you do. Certain things take time but if you are consistent and keep working hard, you can achieve your dreams. Always stay motivated!!
Tags: Designer, Print, Print design, designer of the month, botanical, paint, painting, Mukta Barua, vibrant, quirky, bold, detailed, painterly