ON THE COUCH WITH: SARAH AND MANINDER OF SAFOMASI
Sarah and Maninder, the highly-talented makers of Safomasi, creatively capture their travel stories as inspirations for their distinguishing prints and patterns to elevate your house into a home. We talked about their adventures, initial challenges when setting up their business and their brand’s journey to date.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what exactly is SAFOMASI about?
Safomasi is a home and lifestyle brand creating unique, illustrated home textiles and accessories, handcrafted in India, that tell the story of our travels all over the world.
2. So how did 'SAFO' stumble across 'MASI' / How did you two meet?
We met quite randomly, at a photo shoot, a little over 6 years ago. We started working together, in the evenings and weekends and slowly Safomasi was born.
3. What is the one thing that struck a chord between you two to start a homeware brand?
We have both always been interested in interiors and drawn to the idea that home is a reflection of your life and personality. We wanted to create homewares with meaning that people could feel a connection to so that our patterns evoke memories or a sense of wanderlust.
4. You two would have shared amazing experiences working together. What has been your best one till date?
Travelling to Turkey last April was definitely one of the best. We went for inspiration for this year’s collection to Istanbul, Cappadocia and the Aegean coast. We’re really lucky to be able to make holidays count as ‘work’!
5. It wouldn't have been easy to start something which is a great success today, or was it? What are some of the challenges you faced initially?
It’s not easy, it never is, at any stage of a business – unless maybe you have a lot of money, which would make it easier! Initially, production was a major challenge, as we didn’t have our own setup. Now we produce in house, we have a team of tailors in our studio and can control quality and work more efficiently and creatively.
6. A lot of brands have their own trademark or a distinctive feature. Do you have one or is every product unique in its own way?
We have a distinct style of illustration. Every collection is inspired by a different place than we’ve travelled to, so in terms of themes and motifs, they are quite unique and different from each other. But at the same time, all our designs are playful and figurative with a sense of storytelling which we hope make them stand out as Safomasi.
7. We know you have a thing for beautiful bright colours. Do you follow any trends in particular?
We don’t follow or research trends, all our designs are part of a bigger concept to tell the story of our travels and personal experiences. It’s funny when things coincide with trends, though. Our latest collection, Tiger Safari, is based on adventures on safari in India. One of the prints is a camouflage pattern, with tiger stripes and leopard spots hiding amongst the camo shapes, inspired by how tigers and leopards are camouflaged in the jungle. It seemed to come out at the same time as animal prints and camouflage did, but we had no idea it was in trend while designing.
8. Can you tell us a bit about what you're wearing today? What is it that you like about 'Anomaly'?
Sarah – I love how Anomaly is everyday wear, it’s practical but also considered and constructed with attention to detail. This dress is going to be perfect for the summer, I know it will become one of my favourites! I like how it could be styled up or down, too.
Maninder – The fabric of this shirt is really nice, a handwoven fabric that gets better with time. I like the simple but modern cut and the fact that it can be worn with anything.
9. Do you have any favourites from our collections?
The drawstring pants are pretty much the only pants I wear. I have three pairs and just rotate between them. They’re so comfortable and easy to wear with everything. I love the boxy shirts and the kimono top too. Plus the jumpsuit... the list goes on.
10. What's the most inspiring city you've visited so far?
Probably Istanbul. We really loved it. London is always inspiring as well, it’s such a creative city and it’s always good to catch up with friends there.
11. What's 2017 looking like for SAFOMASI?
Busy! We’re just off to New York to do our first trade show in the US. Then we’ll get stuck into this year’s collection, inspired by last year’s trip to Turkey. And we might get married, if not this year then next.
Thanks, Sarah and Parvat for sharing your inspiring journey with us!
Sarah wears our Modern Boxy Shirt, Modern Workwear Pant and Relaxed Shawl Collar Dress
Maninder wears our Modern Double Pocket Shirt
Photography: Tenzin Laghlayal (@tenlhagyal)