This article is part of a series of interviews conducted by LIM students with winners of the Accessories Council's 2021 Design Excellence Awards (DEA). Students are enrolled in the College's Introduction to the Fashion Business classes.
Their jewelry is delicately hand beaded, embroidered, and made into a statement piece that will elevate any look. The luxurious pieces from Deepa Gurnani are extravagantly beaded and ethically-made with care and have a high-end, avant-garde feel. With good reason, Jay Lakhani and wife Deepa Gurnani won the Accessories Council's Design Excellence Award for their Popcorn Earrings. As we interviewed Jay, he was informative yet down-to-earth and we could feel the passion he had for his creative designs. From the minute we joined the interview with him, we knew it was going to be a success. We came prepared with a few questions, and Lakhani swiftly answered them, leaving us with amazing responses.
Our first question was where Gurnani found inspiration to create the award winning Popcorn Earring design. Stunned by the answer, Jay told us that the design came to him and Deepa after watching multiple movies and shows on Netflix during the pandemic. We loved his honest reply, stating facts of how buried we all were in Netflix during lockdown. What better accessory than popcorn earrings to go with the popcorn we were all eating as we binged our favorite Netflix show? “We were looking for something fun and whimsical,” Jay added. Lockdown, seemingly, caught all of us searching for a creative way to distract society from the environmental issues swallowing us all.
As individuals interested in the fashion industry, we were curious to find out what a typical day like for Jay entails. Bluntly stating that his days are “madness," Lakhani wakes up at five in the morning and works until six pm. His day consist of calling his team in India, overseeing deliveries, and working on upcoming seasons.
To learn a little more information about brand we asked Lakhani about all the social work and organizations in which the brand is involved. He spoke about his love for the handcrafted jewelry of his culture and wanting to give back to the artists in India. “We focus on keeping the work detail-orientated and traditional. That’s been lost over the years in fashion,” he mentioned. For our next question, we asked him to tell us a little bit about the organizations and social involvement the brand takes part in. “Deepa Gurnani has a huge passion for giving back.” One of their major priorities is to donate to organizations funding for better education, building schools, and providing food for those in need in which the jewelry.
To close our interview we asked Jay what advice he had for us as fashion scholars interested in one day starting our own business. “Everyone has the opportunity and there is no right or wrong answer. Stand out and be different and never be afraid to chase your dreams no matter how big or small.”
We are very grateful for the opportunity to have met with Jay Lakhani. His industry insight and advice was very valuable for us upcoming fashion students. It is clear to see Jay Lakhani’s love for the fashion industry and desire to keep fashion sustainable yet unique. The fashion industry needs more brands like Deepa Gurnani, who strive to bring fashion back to its roots and give back to communities in need.