H

ow do you take a flair for dressing well and turn it into your own internationally-recognized fashion label? Just ask Dipika, Monika and Ravika Gupta, the brains behind fashion house Kavi Kavi.

Three years after launching the label, the Gupta sisters are riding high. Their creations are available in boutiques from Montreal to San Francisco and are shown off on the runways of Toronto Fashion Week. Kavi Kavi was one of only three Canadian labels invited to show their designs at last year’s Bell Celebrity Gala, a star-studded fashion event that takes place in Toronto every year. There, the sisters’ designs were showcased alongside celebrated designers such as Hugo Boss and Missoni. And now, Kavi Kavi is eager to unveil its spring/summer 2007 collection at Toronto Fashion Week this month.

Kavi Kavi

Find It

Kavi Kavi designs can be found in boutiques in Toronto, Montreal and San Francisco, and online at KaviKavi.com. But the trio is just getting started: They plan to expand to New York, LA and Miami in the near future and eventually take the label to an international audience.

What inspired this trio to start their very own label? Let’s just say that it’s all in the family. Dipika, her twin sister Ravika, and their older sister Monika inherited their love of fashion from their mother. “When we would go to the mall, we either wouldn’t like what we saw or our parents wouldn’t approve of our choices,” says Dipika. “So we would come home, tell our mother exactly what we wanted, and she would help us sew it.”

That early education in design and construction helped when the sisters grew up. In 2003, Dipika moved back home after finishing her education in fashion design in Ottawa, Ontario. Together with her sisters, who had also finished degrees in business (Ravika) and economics (Monika), they decided it was now or never.

“We read a lot of books, attended a lot of conferences and really did our research on what it would take to start a label,” says Ravika. “Then we decided to take the plunge. A friend of ours who was with us when we came up with the name (which comes from Dipika and Ravika’s middle names, Kavita and Kaveri) recently said to us, ‘I can’t believe that you guys have made it real!'”

“When we go traveling, we like to take the best of everything—the best dress to go clubbing in, the best outfit to go out to dinner in, the best bikini to hit the beach in. We wanted to bring ‘the best of’ concept to our customer.”

But “made it real” they have, combining their skills to run the business smoothly. Dipika, the head designer, creates the collections while Monika runs the business side of the company. Ravika, meanwhile, with her business education and creative flair, works on both aspects.

This spring’s collection, their third, is inspired by their recent travels to London, Paris and New York. “When we go traveling, we like to take the best of everything—the best dress to go clubbing in, the best outfit to go out to dinner in, the best bikini to hit the beach in,” says Dipika. “We wanted to bring ‘the best of’ concept to our customer.”

Kavi Kavi

This collection is also different because it’s the first that hints at their Indian background. So why haven’t they incorporated more of their South Asian heritage into their designs?

“It’s so typical for people to think, ‘You are Indian, you will do the South Asian thing,'” says Dipika. “Every other South Asian designer is doing beading and embroidery. Our designs are more about tailoring, clean lines and a good cut. That’s what we want to be known for.”

So is it hard to live together and work together too? “Yes!” laughs Ravika. “It’s hard because there are no boundaries. And of course we get sick of each other. But in the end, you know you can always trust your sisters. It will never be perfect—but it will always be perfect.”n

Roxanna Kassam Kara lives in Toronto.
Published on October 2, 2006.
Photography: Courtesy of Kavi Kavi.

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  1. November 8, 2007, 4:47 am dipika

    i love u sooooo much ! and i would lyk to join your organisation please consider it … thanks
    mwah mwah
    xxxxxx