Arti Sandhu Draws Style Inspiration From Her Roots

The DAAP associate professor’s fashion is mix and match, eclectic, and all about the textiles.
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Photograph by Devyn Glista

OCCUPATION: Associate Professor of Fashion Design at DAAP

STYLE: Mix and match, eclectic, all about the textiles

Where do you find inspiration for your looks?

It’s from a lot of places. One thing that’s very much a part of how I dress is the fact that I’m from India. My research [is] on Indian fashion, so it’s just natural that Indian textiles and designers are on my radar. I also find it inspiring when I see someone my age or body type wearing something—someone I can relate to.

What made you want to pursue fashion as your career?

When I was little, I used to make clothes for my Barbie dolls. This was in the ’80s and early ’90s in India, and design as an area of study hadn’t formally existed for very long. In the ’90s there was a lot of talk about fashion design, and I loved drawing and making clothes for my Barbies, so that’s what made me pick fashion.

Tell us a little more about your book Indian Fashion: Tradition, Innovation, Style.

Like everything else I’ve done in my life, it was something that I sort of stumbled into. In the early 2000s there was a lot of conversation about Indian textiles and clothing, but no one was talking about it in a contemporary sense. I felt like there needed to be somebody to write about it.

What’s the key for someone who is trying to find or elevate their personal style?

Find what gives you joy. I think joy is really important. I think it’s reminding yourself that if you want to wear something, and it gives you joy for a reason that is personal to you, then that’s OK. Find things or people that you can relate to and clothing that makes you feel good. One of the things I’ve learned too is that it gets easier as you get older. You break away from peer pressure. It takes a very long time to get there, but that’s something nice to look forward to.

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