Sohni Patel is, by virtue of being the founder of House of Sōhn, the OG #SohnSister. Sohni is a multifaceted, multi-talented woman who can kick a soccer ball while rapping lyrics she writes herself. Having spent time around the world, her diversity and experiences are what inspire her on a daily basis. House of Sōhn is her way of bringing a small part of her story to life, and the clothes reflect her laidback, easygoing nature. We caught up with Sohni and picked her brain a little:
Q: Tell us a little about yourself, where did you grow up, study, etc.
A: I was born in New York City and spent my childhood in Singapore, Toronto and Bombay. Having graduated high school from Toronto, I moved to Boston to study Psychology and Business. Design has always been a part of my life in some capacity and I eventually followed those dreams to Paris where, in addition to soaking up every corner of the stylish city, I worked with a local trend consultancy, Martine Leherpeur Conseil.
Next stop was NYC where I had the opportunity to work with design and PR teams such as Duro Olowu and Nanette Lepore, as well as learn about the craft of design at Parsons, The New School. I’ve always loved living a life scattered around the globe, and this nomadic lifestyle has eventually, through many detours and stops along the way, brought me back to Bombay to start House of Sōhn.
Q: What made you decide to start HoS?
A: It was a combination of fulfilling my 10-year old dream of bringing those countless notebooks filled with sketches to life, using my love of design and a unique global perspective to create something that will one day impact my community and recognizing a gap in a nascent industry for something fresh and youthful.
Q: What was your first collection like?
A: My first collection was inspired by a trip I took to Morocco the summer before I started HoS. It’s where I found the free-spirited, nomadic identity of the brand. We played with Moroccan blues and flamboyant pinks and blended them with calming desert tones. With big skirts and reimagined chic harem pants, we brought to life an Indian bohemian.
Q: How have you grown since then?
A: Since then we’ve been inspired by countless other travels, women who are doing cool things in life, poets and artists. We’ve explored India to find fabrics that tell the story, not only of the culture, but also of our label. We’ve incorporated the ideas of sustainability from herbal dyes to scrap management so we can stay true to our values as a brand while still making things we love. We’re constantly thinking about the kind of impact we want to make going forward, and the kind of women we want to dress.
Q: What is the philosophy behind the brand?
A: I want to create a tribe of vastly different but strong, cultured, and kind women who see clothes as an instrument to help tell their stories with the brand. We use fabric as our medium, and women as our blank canvas and we’re creating a brand where it’s as much about the fashion as it is about the woman wearing it.
Q: What do you think about the fashion space in India right now? It's definitely growing but is the direction something you'd like to comment on?
A: The fashion space in India is somehow reminiscent of a toddler learning to take her first steps, a rebellious teenager, and a wise grandmother, all at once. It’s exciting and chaotic; with a beautiful ancient clothing tradition juxtaposed with a new, unknown future that is burgeoning with endless possibilities.
Q: How have you seen your customer base change through the years? Has the rise of social and digital media offered any benefits?
A: House of Sohn is all about stories, and social media is one way for us to be able to visually take ours directly to our customers. We have seen a very consistently growing customer base of all kinds of women doing all sorts of awesome things
in their lives, all with an eye for style. I’m also incredibly grateful to have such a loyal clientele who’ve been with us every step of the way.
Q: What does fashion and style mean to you?
A: Style is just one more way of expressing ourselves – just as we use our words, carefully curated social media profiles, and the people we choose to hang out with as a way to say something about who we are, we use the clothes we wear to tell the world what we’re about.
Rapid Fire Questions
Q: First thing you do in the morning?
A: Frantically search for the snooze button on my phone.
Q: Your typical breakfast?
A: Oatmeal and honey and on cheat days, pancakes.
Q: Your go-to outfit?
A: High-waisted anything and a white t-shirt.
Q: Your style in 3 words?
A: Minimalistic, classic, and occasionally whimsical.
Q: Three style icons?
A: Francoise Hardy, Amrita Sher-Gil, Solange Knowles.
Q: If you could dress anyone, who would it be?
A: So many! But Selena Quintanilla definitely comes to mind.
Q: Three people dead or alive you would invite to dinner
A: My great-grand mother, Tupac and Salvador Dali (despite the weird combination).
Q: Vintage or modern?
Q: Favourite holiday destination?
A: Gun to my head, still couldn’t pick one. Istanbul for the street markets, Sicily for the food, Kyoto for the zen temples, Capetown for the Stellenbosch vineyards, Peru for the sunrises, Paris for Le Marais…and the list goes on.
Q: Favourite restaurant in Bombay?
A: I follow the truffle fries, so The Table is coming to mind at the moment.
Q: If you weren't in fashion you'd be...
A: A psychologist
Written by Devika Pathak