14 QUESTIONS WITH DESIGNER NASHA MEHTA
WORDS BY AARTHI SAMBASIVAN
Five years ago, Design by Nasha introduced Mumbai to her stationery, all stamped with her signature infusion of bold graphics and popping colours. Since then her prints have appeared on everything from clothes on a runway to furniture to fashion accessories. The City Story caught up with Nasha Mehta to learn more about the woman behind the work.
TCS: In three sentences, tell me about your typical day.
NM: [Laughs] I’ll try to keep them to three. My day starts between 7:00 and 7:30. Since I work with clients in both Mumbai and NYC, most mornings are spent replying to emails and following up with clients. I use my afternoons to execute projects. If I’m lucky, I get to do something inspiring in the evening, even if it is just a short walk on a pretty street.
TCS: Where and what did you study?
NM: I studied graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design. I started off wanting to study textile design though.
TCS: Could you define your design aesthetic?
NM: These sound contradictory but here goes: soft elegance, bold sophistication, and contemporary chic.
TCS: What are the key elements of your work?
NM: My products are hand-crafted using the printing process of silk screening. Every item is custom-made. Silk screening is akin to putting paint on paper. This technique is how I achieve the bold and rich colours prevalent in my work.
TCS: In a parallel universe, what do you do for work (graphic design is off the cards)?
NM: I would like to work for an NGO that uses art form as a healing process for children.
TCS: Tell me one big difference between your works from the year in which you started to now.
NM: My medium has evolved. I started working with paper but later realised that I need not restrict myself to paper. My prints now go on anything and everything. That is, without a doubt, one of the biggest changes.
TCS: What are some of the other mediums that you have experimented with?
NM: I worked with Payal Singhal on two of her collections – we put my prints on her clothes. My prints have gone on home accessories like trays, napkin holders, and coasters. I have worked with a Singapore-based furniture company to get my prints on furniture like bar cabinets and console tables. I am currently working with an accessories designer to get my prints on a handbag collection.
TCS: Is there a project that you dream of but have not gotten to?
NM: I would love to design for a public space. I am already working with Taxi Fabric for Mumbai taxis, so that is a project in motion. I would also love to do an installation involving a community that has not had an opportunity to be exposed to art.
TCS: Where did you go on your last leisurely holiday? What do you remember the most from it?
NM: My last holiday was to the Yosemite National Park. I remember the giant sequoia trees.
TCS: I love stationery. I would love to hear why you love it so much?
NM: I love giving people gifts, and that is where it all started. As a child, I was as interested in the packaging of a gift as the gift itself. I would make the wrapping paper and cards myself, always trying to make the package as inviting as possible.
TCS: Tell me about a nightmare job you had.
NM: I have never had a nightmare job, but I have had nightmare clients [laughs]. That said, my client always has the final say. I guide them to the best of my ability with sound, professional advice.
TCS: Have you ever used the dog filter on Snapchat?
NM: I have a confession to make: I have never used Snapchat. I do however love Instagram.
TCS: Give your younger self one piece of advice.
NM: Don’t expect to know everything. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I hope it’s okay that I gave myself two [laughs].
TCS: It’s 2020 - what is DBN up to these days?
NM: Hopefully doing some of those dream projects that we talked about earlier. I would love to expand my line of work in home accessories.
You can see more of Design By Nasha's work on her website, Facebook and Instagram accounts. You can buy products at Filter, 43 V.B. Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda, Behind Rhythm House, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 2288 7070