Going by the idea of ‘Corporate Couture’, Funky Dory is a made-to-measure label that breathes life into otherwise boring casuals. Having completed her MBA in marketing and after working in the corporate space for over five years, Gayatri Thampi, designer/owner of this label, finally decided to start something on her own. Funky Dory arose from her personal struggle in finding fun corporate pieces that were anything but the staple white shirt and trousers, as well as her knack for sketching and designing outfits since long. In no time, her ideas converted into reality. The brand is a one-stop shop for women who seek out for formal workwear pieces that also have a dash of quirk in it. WODROB caught up with Gayatri Thampi at Above & Beyond, Andheri (E), on her design aesthetics and future goals. She also doled out some style must-knows for every working woman. Excerpts from an interview…
1. With startup culture booming in India over the recent years, the dress code for working women is now ‘business casuals’. How does Funky Dory cater to this market segment?
In India, the options for corporate wear are typically a white shirt, button downs, or grey pants with boxy fits and standard sizes. What we bring with Funky Dory is a fun aspect to formal wear. Our clothes have design elements like bell sleeves, ruffles, cutwork and more. Now we also work with pop colours… so ours is not typical office wear. It’s for a very fashion-forward corporate woman. In fact, the clothes easily transition into cocktail wear. Hence the name Funky Dory — it’s a funky take on otherwise boring corporate wear.
2. What’s the inspiration behind the silhouettes? Is there a point of reference for you in terms of corporate trends?
While it is important to know what’s trending, it’s not easy to incorporate that in corporate wear. Our brand is for the masses. And the everyday working woman obviously wants to be in trend.
Right now, bell sleeves are in. So, in our recent collection, we took a spin on the basic black and white shirt and added bell sleeves to it. We are also playing with peasant sleeves, which looks both chic and corporate.
3. Your corporate wear collection includes a lot of solid colours. Is that a deliberate choice?
When we started off, we knew we needed uniformity. Which is why our first collection was monochrome. Now we have included colours like mustards, blues and pinks, one step at a time. That said, I have a personal affinity for solids. In colours, mustard has worked very well for us. It’s nice, vibrant and elegant at the same time. It’s also perfect for office wear and suits the Indian skin tone incredibly well.
4. Your collection has a lot of emphasis on collars. Does that come naturally to you?
That comes from my personal sense of style… I love collars. All the pieces I have designed are the ones that I would want in my own wardrobe. Collars look really chic and there is so much that can be done with collars.
We don’t do bodycon dresses because the women we cater to are aged 25 and above. Our collection is a day-to-day, wearable line. Which is also why we are a made-to-measure label.
5. Funky Dory is known for detachable collars. How did that idea come about?
It arose from a personal need. A detachable collar is something I tried to make for myself when I was in the corporate space as I struggled with finding the right clothes for work. I had seen metallic collars that resembled a neck piece in Singapore. I decided to make a fabric version of it. When you wear it, the collars look like it’s a part of the ensemble. A round neck tee with a detachable Peter Pan collar will seem like a whole new top. Also, no one makes detachable collars in India and is quite a cool product that’s both useful and versatile. That’s when I realised that this untapped category could just be something big in the apparel segment.
6. Corporate wear is almost already collared. So how does one pair up a detachable collar with it?
Detachable collars work best with round necks. But we’ve seen our clients style them with off-shoulders and tube tops as well. Even I was surprised looking at the multiple ways people pair these up. Once a client wore a detachable collar with a Mandarin shirt, and that just fit. We intended that these would be worn with typical round neck tops and that;s how we’ve designed them. But luckily, they work with absolutely anything and are super versatile.
7. Do you follow fashion seasons? Also, what are the fabrics you specifically work with?
Right now we are in a phase where in, on a weekly basis, we come up with two or three new designs. Out of these just some stay in the collection. We constantly create new pieces and don’t follow the fashion calendar or seasons yet.
As far as fabrics are concerned, a majority of the collection is made of lycra and cotton blend. These are wrinkle free fabrics. We’ve used them as our clients generally are in office wear from day to night, for almost 10-12 hours. Keeping the Bombay weather in mind, we have also included chiffon, georgettes and voile cotton. Then there’s French crepes; it gives the garments more shine.
8. How did the idea of diversifying into casuals and evening wear come about?
It happened due to customer demand. Earlier we were all about office wear, but we had a lot of women telling us how corporate wear was never appropriate for a party that happens post work. Also, the LBD is forever in demand; we have 10-12 designs in an LBD alone. So we decided that it’d be practical to move from corporate wear to cocktail dressing, with transitional pieces that work both at work and post office hours. Wear a Funky Dory outfit to work, and if you want to let your hair down, dress up, wear that red lipstick, and it’ll instantly transition into party wear. We have pieces like the detachable glitter collars as well that can amp the entire outfit.
9. You’re about to launch your collection in Hypercity as well as on Shoppers Stop Online. Tell us a little about that.
Since we are a startup space, we jump onto any opportunity we get to make Funky Dory noticeable. Getting into a big box retailer like Hypercity is pretty much a dream for a year-old brand like ours. I met the team to show them my collection and they loved it. Apart from shirts and pants, they don’t really have much in women’s formal wear. So it just took us one meeting to crack the deal, which is pretty amazing. Shoppers Stop is launching us online and they are more keen on the detachable collars as that’s where they see innovation.
10. What are the different ways a customer can buy your outfits since its made to measure?
Our website has the custom sizing option so you can click and key in your measurements on it. We’ve recently started a service where in if you book for it, we come to your house to take your measurements. The third is, the customer can visit the studio, touch and feel the fabric, and also discuss with us what kind of clothing would suit them. This is a more collaborative approach so they can sit across the table, we understand their problem areas, show them swatches and the design on the spot. I think every woman’s body needs are different. And at Funky Dory, we make the clothes exactly to a customer’s liking, even if that means changing the colour of the thread we are using on the garment.