Last month, one of my closest friends, Shuchi Kothari, co-launched the ecommerce site, Porte Mode, as a platform for emerging designers. The current collection comes from Korea and India, and other countries are in the lineup for next season. This month’s issue of InStyle features them as #BestofDigi!
During their trunk shows in September, I desperately wanted to buy everything. Unfortunately, my baby bump curtailed those consumption dreams…
Instead, I bought the one “one-size” item—a black, geometric cutout, felt top (pictured on the model above). I can’t wait to get back to a “normal” size again to purchase more from their edited selection. In the meantime, check out their website and learn more about what makes these girls—and their company—tick!
Louise McCready Hart: What is the philosophy behind Porte Mode?
Neha Chinai: Our philosophy is that of educated consumption—we don’t simply want to sell clothes. We believe that each Porte Mode item will acquire more meaning for its owner when she learns the story behind it, the technique and labor that has gone into creating it, and the designer’s thought process. In a world where resources—space, money and time—are limited, our clothes aim to awe and inspire you every time you wear them.
LMH: What inspires you?
Shuchi Kothari: Travel is a constant source of inspiration. We are constantly discovering new foods, cultures, materials, and, of course, people as we venture into new countries. And of course, our own Indian and Korean roots inspire us. Think of the Indian age-old zardozi embroidery technique, neoprene fabrics in every color from Korea, and India’s luxurious jewel toned raw silks.
LMH: Who is your idea client? Your muse?
Jaewha Choi: The Porte Mode woman has a strong point of view. She makes her own rules. She is an early adopter. She has a keen appreciation for culture, travel, beauty, and art. She is adventurous and fearless, and wants to share her new experiences. She wears her clothes; her clothes never wear her. She wants to promote talent and is excited to be part of the process of discovering emerging designers. She plays an active role in her community—engaging, educating and encouraging others.
LMH: Any personal Styling tricks? Insights?
NC: Don’t be afraid to try something new. Start slowly and build from there. If you’re afraid of prints, start with a scarf or a purse and progress to a printed dress. If you’ve never worn anything embellished, begin with minimal embellishment on a collar or a sleeve. Before long, you’ll wear a piece like our bejeweled Moko dress from Nachiket Barve with confidence and élan!
LMH: Where do you see yourself, and your company, in a year? Five years? Any upcoming plans or projects?
SK: We hope to represent many more designers and countries in five years. We want to be the go-to site for edgy, fashion-forward collections from designers in emerging fashion economies. We are in the process of creating our own small showroom in New York to showcase our clothes and hold private appointments. We are also excited for our next round of buying for Spring Summer 2015!
LMH: Is there anything you’d like to add about your company, your designs, etc.?
JC: Everything we carry is unique and limited in production. We are also the exclusive platform for many of these brands in the US. Some of the designers work with us to create or alter some of the styles so the chance that someone else in the US will have something that you buy from our website is literally one in a million!