Gaining experience, discipline and accuracy. A graduate story from Renu Modha.

Renu Modha‘I’m a Textiles Designer based in Lancashire. I have always been interested in Fashion and Embroidery and started making clothes for my dolls as a child. In 1994 I gained a BA (Hons) in Fashion Promotions from the University of Central Lancashire, Preston and designed a range of embroidered shawls for my final year collection. I then went to live in India for a while and during my stay there my passion for embroidery led me to travel extensively to remote villages in Gujarat and Rajasthan to see embroidered textiles.

In September 2006 I decided to enrol at the School of Stitched Textiles to do a City & Guilds Level 3 in both Embroidery and Patchwork & Quilting simultaneously. Both courses enabled me to get back into designing and helped me to focus on where my interests were and I thoroughly enjoyed doing them. I was lucky enough to have the guidance of highly skilled and experienced tutors who were always there to help when it was needed.

The Embroidery course gave me the freedom to experiment with different materials as well as teaching me different hand and machine embroidery techniques, where as the Patchwork & Quilting course gave me the experience to work in a more disciplined and accurate manner where each piece had to be sewed perfectly, paying great attention to details and finishing.

‘Celebrity clients who admire my work include Joanna Lumley and Sophie Kinsella.’

Having already done a design degree I felt that in doing both the C&G courses I was able to explore and gain extra creative skills. The final pieces I had to make gave me the opportunity to follow a design brief from a prospective client; this process involved researching and conceptual design development which then led to the final product being made. This was a great help when I started my business.

In June 2008, I completed both the City & Guilds courses and was nominated for the Award of Excellence for both courses. This gave me the confidence to start my own business incorporating my textile skills. It was always my dream to have my own label; hence I opened my Studio at Heskin Farmer’s Market and Craft Centre where I launched my brand ‘Ishvari’, an exquisite range of bespoke handmade Scarves and Handbags. Ishvari is a Sanskrit word meaning supreme female form or goddess who reigns over the world. Each piece is handcrafted to the utmost standard using the finest luxurious fabrics mainly silk, wool, cashmere and linen.

Handbags by Ishvari, graduate from the School of Stitched TextilesAs well as the scarves and handbags I also like to experiment with different types of silk and embellish it with various embroidery techniques in order to make bespoke wall hangings and accessories for the home.

My work reflects my love of colour, texture and embellishments particularly embroidery. I draw inspiration from my travels to India, from the rich and vibrant colours, the embroidered textiles, the festivals, the jewellery, the architecture and the nature around me.

My products are aimed at women in the 35-plus age group, who appreciate the workmanship, detail and quality of the range. They want unique and bespoke accessories to enhance their image, all with the best possible hand-finished quality. Celebrity clients who admire my work include Joanna Lumley and Sophie Kinsella. I am getting interest from mall of the region and from around the country through my website and Facebook page.

handcrafted scarves by renu modhaOne of my best selling items is a scarf which I have designed; it is a gently fluted necklace scarf which softly enhances the neckline with a splash of colour. The necklace scarf design is registered and is individually hand made by myself. The necklace scarves are also available to buy at ‘Things British’, which is a shop at St. Pancras Station, London that promotes British designers who make their items here in Britain.

As well as making my own scarves I also have a manufacturer in India who makes up some of my other designed woven scares to keep up with the demand. I am presently working on designing a range of woven digital printed scarves for the wholesale market that will help me promote my brand to a wider audience.’  

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