Multi-talented, self-taught designer who ventured into fashion after more than twenty successful years in the real estate industry, Kanchan Kulkarni is so much more than a dedicated professional who shows us how it’s done. Fearless, wilful and determined, Kanchan has never wanted to fit in. Although industry norms and society dictate what we should do, how we should dress and conduct ourselves, Kanchan knows that in order to succeed in such an environment, you have to be yourself. Her prêt-à-porter evening wear is feminine and modern yet has a strength of a bold, unstoppable woman who knows exactly what she wants.
Kara is far more than just a fashion label; it represents a lifestyle, a mentality and a way of being.”
While her designs are distinctive, timeless, and absolutely stunning, they are also comfortable and easy to wear.
Her podcast, “Unapologetically KK”, gives answers to some of the deepest life questions. From health and fitness to happiness, trust and self-appreciation, she finds inspiration in stories she hears and questions she has on various topics. She is an avid reader with an inquisitive mind and does not miss the opportunity to pick up the latest book recommendation.
Besides being a dedicated mum, wife and entrepreneur, Kanchan is also a philanthropist. Her Kara Foundation funds regular projects in India that help crop farmers send their children to school.
We love the message you’re sending to the women out there. What inspired you to start your podcast?
Over the last year or so, I wanted to share some thoughts, ideas and conversations, things I wanted to talk about and people I wanted to meet. It’s more like an inner voice that you want to let out. This idea was on my mind for a very long time and at a yoga retreat in Bali last year, after a deep meditation and conversation I had with my teacher, she said to me, “If it keeps coming back to you again and again, you have to do it.”
If it keeps coming back to you again and again, you have to do it.”
You obviously take very good care of yourself. How do you manage your time and what do you do to make sure you always take a moment to yourself to nourish your body and rejuvenate your mind?
You have to have your “me” time. There is no pressure on me to do certain things that I do not want to do. I won’t conform to doing things that won’t make me happy. When my kids were younger, I didn’t feel the need to travel and go out, I wanted to be with them. At that time, I was ready to step back from work and I was OK with it. I have a very supportive husband and it makes a big difference to have somebody who understands your journey and is fine with you doing whatever you want to do.
What are some beauty products you can’t live without?
My moisturizers. I take very good care of my skin. I do change my brands and I find that I haven’t been brand loyal because I do experiments with whatever works for my skin at a particular moment.
Do you shop online and what is your favourite online store?
I usually wear my own clothes but I do purchase bags and shoes online, it just depends on what catches my eye. I do love online shopping and I think that’s the way forward, but I also enjoy going to a mall, and as a creative I love finding what people feel comfortable in. Somebody who wears their clothes comfortably is somebody who understands their body.
What about your favourite brands?
I love Carolina Herrera, I absolutely love her designs, and that’s where I shop if I do shop. I’m always in malls, usually in Zara where you can find something that is casual and easy to wear.
When it comes to brands, I am a person who really likes to look at something, try it on and see how it makes me feel. So, that could be a high-end brand or a brand no one’s ever heard of.
Where do you find inspiration in Dubai? Any hidden gems you’d like to share with us?
I live in Business Bay and we have an amazing community here. Just being able to go down and sit on the grass makes a big difference. I am bit of a tree hugger and I’m also an energy healer. A walk in the park is amazing, you get to see how wonderful nature is. Just sitting outside and allowing your mind to go where it wants to go is something I want to do more of this year.
For my creativity, I love to just walk the streets or spend time in malls. That gives me an idea of what people like to wear and what they enjoy.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is just starting out and in unsure of their purpose and goals?
Be kind to yourself. Do the things that you say you want to do. It’s the smallest steps that bring you to the big goals and results. The only thing you can control is what you do.
Our life isn’t one thing or the other. It’s miraculous and mundane, messy and perfect, calm within chaos, all things at once. In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. We are all interwoven into the energy that exists on Earth and therefore are affected by several things around us either consciously or sub-consciously. Let’s explore these connections and how they affect us one conversation at a time.