The Green Fashion Designer of India from Sikkim
Original, Multitalented and Ingenious Omi, is all set to swim along with the big fishes of the fashion industry. Sandeep Gurung professionally known as Omi Gurung is a 25year old Bangalore based Fashion designer cum writer who originally hails from Gangtok.
After completing his schooling from Holy Cross School, Tadong in the year 2003 he went to the Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore to pursue his fashion studies. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the Sri Sri Centre for Media Studies, Bangalore. At the age of 22 he was the Editor for Dateline Bangalore and also worked as a fashion editor for a youth magazine.
Not just a designer Omi is also a social activist. Also known as the Green Fashion Designer of India Omi is the founder of the social group named Oh My India (OMI) which focuses on environmental conservation and managing waste in a fashionable way.
Omi Gurung is synonymous to creativity. This multifaceted designer shares his experiences with Devika Gurung from Sikkim Mail on his journey from Sandeep to Omi.
SM: Tell us your journey from Sandeep to Omi.
Omi: I am a spiritual person and a firm believer in the power of ‘Om’. So, whenever I start any work, I begin with drawing the symbol ‘Om’. This is how, my friends named me Omi (Om + I =Omi). It’s been more than 8 years, I am known as Omi in the fashion field. The name has certainly brought me good luck. There are many designers or artist with the name Sandeep. I think in India, I am the only designer with the name Omi. At least if you search in Google with key words ‘Indian designer Omi’; my profile is in the first!!
SM: Parents generally want their children to become doctor, engineer or a government official. So were your parents’ fine about your decision or was it hard to convince them?
Omi: OMG! It gives me goose bumps to even think of it …. Fashion designing was an alien culture in Sikkim and for a guy to pursue it as a career was questionable during those days (2003). But I was focused in life and I knew it very well, one day I will make the cut. By the time I was in second year of my college, I had arrived in the fashion field. My creativity had carved a niche and I was making news.
My parents were unhappy initially with my decision of studying fashion designing but they had confidence in me and I believed in my dreams.
SM: What does fashion mean to you?
Omi: For me, Fashion is the way we live, it is everywhere! It is about you.
SM: What do you think about the fashion sense in Gangtok?
Omi: People in Gangtok are fashionable and blessed naturally with good fashion sense. However, having said that, people should learn to know their body and dress accordingly. If there is a little red dress in the market, you will find many wearing the same dress; it may suit some and for others it may be a fashion disaster.
I would love to see more of individualistic style among people, not clones.
SM: Your favorite designer and inspirations.
Omi: I love Jean Paul Gaultier, his designs are so unique and every creation of his is a master piece in itself. Back home, I absolutely adore Sabyasachi’s designs, he is truly a creative genius. He knows very well how to blend tradition with modernity. I draw my inspiration from the surroundings; it may be living or non-living entity. My designs are mostly eco- friendly and I love to play with natural textiles.
SM: Your accomplishments as a designer.
Omi: Well, I think my biggest achievement was winning ‘The Most Creative’ Designer Award at Vogue Mystique Designer Award 2006, Bangalore, which was given to me by my Grand pa’s and Dad’s favourite actress Vyjayanthimala Bali . I have won first prize in several inter college fashion shows in Bangalore. I have been featured in several media like The Hindu, Times of India, Deccan Herald, Deccan Chronicle, Mid-day, The New Indian Express, Bangalore Mirror, Vijaya Next, Vijaya Times, Prajawani, Usha Kiran, News 9, Zee Kannada, The Recycle Now, Dateline Bangalore and many more. I was also the fashion editor for a youth magazine in Bangalore. I have been a judge for several inter college fashion shows in Bangalore. It gives me immense pride to be known as a green fashion designer in India. I had recently organized Go Green Exhibition in Bangalore for JOY OF GIVING WEEK 2010.
SM: Where do you see yourself after 10 years?
Omi: My dream is to open up several Green Stores in different cities in India where you can get all fashionable products which are natural, hand made and eco friendly. I would also love to open up a fashion institute in Sikkim, which will give high priority about organic fashion and also promote the art and craft of Sikkim.
SM: Brief us about Oh My India.
Omi: Oh My India! (OMI) is a social group based in Bangalore. OMI catalyses change in the lifestyle of people by creating awareness to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle domestic waste and helping them to get started. We believe that by following 3R concept and going green, we can do our bit to protect the environment and is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint.
OMI is not an NGO. We are a small group, who love and care for our environment. We also believe that no law or no campaign can do anything unless we are willing to change ourselves. At OMI your participation is the charity, your involvement is the donation.
We use the social media to reach out to people to educate and create awareness about excessive household waste. We also help people to find solutions to their household waste problems in a fashionable way.
The motto of OMI is to Care, Share and Inspire (Care for your environment, share your green ideas and information and inspire people).
For more details you can visit www.ohmyindia.co.nr
SM: Do you think OMI is making a difference for real in the society?
Omi: Absolutely YES, Oh My India has been successful to create awareness among tech savvy people from around the world. Mind you, today everyone is a part of social media like Facebook. I get lot of enquires from people with keen interest to know about waste management in a fashionable way. A small step in form of OMI has made a difference in its own little ways. Few months back, we had posted pictures of garbage dumped openly on the roads of Bangalore in social media. Many did take an initiative and cleaned the place, making it no- garbage zone. Today, plastic is banned in Bangalore.
SM: Your advice to the youngsters.
Omi: Be smart and dress intelligently. There is nothing wrong in wearing a backless dress or a deep cut halter or micro mini but wear it right and most importantly wear it at the right place. And as I always say…Guys, Go Green!
SM: Fashion tips for this summer.
Omi: White is the colour for the season, it is a classic hue. The mantra to play with white is selecting the right accessories. Keep it simple and bling- bling are passé, so pass it on.
The biggest trend for S/S 2011 is going the natural way. So choose linen, cotton over synthetic. Bring out your wooden beads and mix and match with your wardrobe. If you have time, flex your creative muscle and create a cool accessory out of waste. It will certainly turn heads.