In the wake of a global pandemic, oversized clothes, loungewear and athleisure still dominate menswear. However, the lure of crisp, structured silhouettes—is an everlasting one. I mean, who doesn’t like the empowering prowess of a well-tailored suit? Especially now that ‘dressing up’ is back in demand?
Sarah & Sandeep, both the brand and the designers behind them— recognise the command of power dressing and exclusive made-to-measure and immaculately tailored formal wear! The eponymous label set up in 2012, by partners in life and business, Sarah and Sandeep Gonsalves, was initially called SS Homme. The rechristening of the brand was intentional. “A lot of people wanted to know more about the designers behind the label, and it seemed like a more authentic approach for the brand trajectory. Plus, the combination of our names perfectly described our take on contemporary fusion attire,” explains the duo.
The brand was not launched on a whim: A lot of time and research (in England and Italy) went into it before the co-founders set up shop. “We started this label because we found that there was a huge scope for an Indian bespoke brand—which offers customised fits in modern design aesthetic and uncompromising quality.” Initially, Sarah and Sandeep micromanaged every aspect of the business. There’s no denying the fact that this clearly shaped the brand into what it is today!
Sarah & Sandeep designs are known for being the perfect amalgamation of the designers’ impeccable personal style, love for minimalist sophistication and geometric detailing. “Wearable geometry is what best describes our designs,” says Sarah. The emphasis is on functionality as well. Their garments have great repeat-value, are future-forward and definitely have only elevated the sartorial stature of those who wear them. At the store located in the bustling streets of Khar in suburban Mumbai, there are more than 700 outfits on display. No two pieces of garments are the same! No wonder then that their impressive clientele includes industrialists and celebrities from India and abroad! They also have occasion wear and minimal and unique accessories.
Earlier this year, the brand launched Equivalence (Summer Festive ’21-22)—their maiden couture bridal collection for Power Brides and Statement Grooms—where they reimagined menswear classics like tuxedos not only for grooms, but also for brides who are looking to shatter stereotypes and challenge the ‘status quo’.
The label’s latest line Dominion (Power Suits ’21-22) is a lesson in power dressing! With silhouettes inspired by armour, the constructed tailoring is a knockout! The husband-wife team modelled for this collection. “I’m a relatively shy person and very uncomfortable in front of the camera, but if there were ever a collection for which I had to be a part of the campaign for, it would have been this one,” laughs Sarah. “I love suits.” “For me,” reveals Sandeep, “it has to be safari jackets and blazers to wear as separates with well-tailored trousers.”
Fabrics make an integral part of the Sarah & Sandeep bespoke experience. “Fabrics are the foundation of any garment, and they dictate the ‘fall’ of the outfit and its lifespan,” explains Sandeep. “Keeping this mind we offer high-quality English and Italian fabrics by known houses like Dormeuil, Carlo Barbera, Scabal, Huddersfield Fine Worsted, Vitale Barberis Canonico, Vercelli and many more.” Sustainability also forms an essential part of the brand’s ethos. Says Sandeep, “We’ve started making suits using bamboo fabrics. We also use a biodegradable Bemberg lining and instead of fusing, we also now have fully canvassed suits that have reduced our use of polyester by a great deal.”
The co-founders are a regular fixture at exclusive trunk shows in New York City and in India, and frequently collaborate with reputed international brands. Before the world came to a complete standstill, the designers crafted bespoke sherwanis for the entire Sacramento Kings team during their visit to Mumbai for the NBA India Games 2019.
Incidentally, it was Sarah who studied fashion at the London College of Fashion, and Sandeep, on the other hand, holds a Master’s Degree in business management. However, Sarah’s well-organised ways made her focus on the operational side of things while Sandeep’s innate flair for design made him take over the creative side of their business. The couple, who have an almost one-year-old son, have cracked the ‘working together’ code. “We function well as each other’s sounding board—critiquing rather than contradicting the other’s opinion,” says Sandeep. According to Sarah they “give each other individual space to grow without interfering in the other’s jobs.” Much like their creations that fit like a glove, I think it’s safe to say that this formidable husband-wife team’s a perfect match in the tapestry called life as well!