It was a busy summer for Carmel High School’s Sanjana Jain, who took first place in the Fashion Design category at the annual Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Leadership Conference in San Diego.
The Carmel senior was selected for the national competition, which spanned June and July, after placing first in the state fashion design competition in Muncie. Her reward was full-year tuition to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.
“I entered a bridal garment named Scarlet Rose 3-piece Lengha. It incorporates both my Indian and American backgrounds, as this is what I ideally want to wear at my wedding to represent both my cultures,” Jain said. “It consists of a red blouse that is covered in a red lace overlay, a long-pleated skirt with two layers of lace and interfaced cotton, and a chunni that is chiffon with a lace border.”
The inspiration for the winning design was the many weddings Jain has attended and knowing she wanted to blend both of her cultures into her work.
“Making and constructing this piece took me two months,” she said. “I was also in school during this period of time as well and wanted every detail to be perfect.”
Jain called the fashion line for the competition Amalgam, meaning mixture or blend.
“This word describes my fashion line completely as my line is all about the mixture and the collaboration of American bridal and groom’s wear with Indian traditional wear,” Jain said.
Modeling at the completion was a dream come true.
“I walked across with more confidence than I have ever personally felt as everyone was screaming with excitement and clapping,” Jain said. “That was definitely a moment when I felt I had ‘made it.’ Walking up to the podium to get the first-place prize was one of the best feelings I have had in my life, as I know at that point, I have made my parents and the rest of my family proud.”
Don’t expect to see the winning piece featured for sale, however.
“I will not be selling my exact garment, as it is very special to me,” Jain said. “But very soon I will be launching my website where I will be selling clothes that are very similar as it will be inspired by this fashion line I made through this competition.”