My sister’s closet
By Shaan Bajaj
Fashion is highly indicative of an individual’s personality, and none embody this more than the Sukhadia sisters. As one of a pair of sisters myself, I can attest to the fact that it’s not easy to be seen as an individual by society when your sibling is so close in age to yourself, and fashion is one way that you can truly stand out. 18-year-old Sonika Sukhadia (Instagram: @sonkasukhadia) and 23-year old Kanika Sukhadia (Instagram: @kkanikadesigns) echo that sentiment: “Fashion allows us to express ourselves,” they tell me.
RAJKUMARI VIBES (Pictured Above)
For an Indian wedding or reception, Kanika and Sonika step into traditional lehengas from TAMANNA and Anita Dongre, respectively. Kanika dons a stunning, light seafoam-green lehenga with floral embroidery and a beautiful mint-green polka set, while Sonika looks regal in a powder-blue lehenga with a metallic gold pattern, and a set of precious stones.
“Fashion is everything to me. It’s about experimenting and breaking boundaries to find your personal style,” Sonika tells me with a dreamy expression on her face, when I sat down with Kanika and her to ask them what fashion means to them. “For me, fashion is art,” Kanika adds on. “I use fashion as a tool to make myself feel empowered.”
Born and raised in Bangkok, both sisters have sought to create careers through design and fashion, with Kanika having just completed her Master’s in textile design from the University of the Arts London, following her Undergraduate degree in the same speciality from the University of Manchester. Sonika, meanwhile, is currently enrolled in Parsons School of Design to complete a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in strategic design and management.
Sonika’s wardrobe is inspired by a clean and classy aesthetic: “My outfits need to match, and I want a super clean and feminine look,” she explains. “Social media has a significant impact on my fashion, and I strive to curate a classy look. Modelling with Pomelo and Blackdog BKK has helped me express myself through fashion, while remaining comfortable in my own melanin skin. I like to shop at Alexander Wang, Topshop, and Zara; more high-end shops, which is my aesthetic.
My sister is the opposite, but one thing about her is that she can style anything and make it work.” Kanika flips her hair ironically and laughs, admitting that she doesn’t like any of those brands: “I buy my clothes from vintage stores, thrift stores and weekend markets,” she reveals. “It does not need to be expensive; it all depends on how you style it. I want to be comfortable but also funky. I like to mix and match. Travelling and art has always inspired my fashion. To me, clothing is a form of art. I used to follow trends but after experimenting, I want my fashion to be more personal and unique.”
Coming from a family that specialises in rubies, sapphires, and coloured gemstones, the sisters developed their personal sense of style and eye for design at home. With a deep sense of pride and gratitude to her family, Sonika says, “My father’s business, Sukhadia Stones, has influenced us a lot. We love jewellery and it’s as important to us as clothes. My mum’s love for fashion also inspired us; she was our idol and we developed our sense of style by looking up to her.” Kanika adds with a cheeky smile, “When we were young, we used to sneak into her room and steal her makeup!”
I ask them what role their Indian heritage plays in their fashion styles, and they both agree that it’s quite significant. “Indian embroidery has always inspired my art and fashion, and wearing Indian clothes has helped me appreciate patterns and colours,” Kanika says. “When I’m wearing Indian clothes, I feel like a princess. Since they’re so heavily decorated, it feels like another level of luxury.” Sonika adds, “Indian outfits are detail oriented, hand-stitched, and require a high level of intention. They are so beautiful; wearing them makes me feel empowered and cherished.”
As for their fashion inspirations? “One designer I love is David Kuma,” Sonika answers after some thought, while Kanika draws inspiration from fellow UAL-graduate Charlotte Knowles: “She has her own brand, KNWLS, and all her clothes are hand-dyed.”
I end our chat with a question that can make or break any sisterhood: would you trust your sister to pick your outfit? They both laugh before cautiously saying yes. “Although our styles may be different, we do share clothes,” Sonika shares. Kanika adds, “She knows what my style is, and she knows what I want to wear. I rely on her to give me honest feedback on my outfit.” And at the end of the day, what else are sisters for?
Do you have any fashion tips for our readers?
Kanika’s Top Three Tips:
• Be sustainable in small ways. Instead of buying new clothes, try to refresh your old clothes by stitching or dyeing them. Be creative.
• Find your own style, do not follow trends.
• Recognise the power of accessories.
Sonika’s Top Three Tips:
• Balance your outfits to create aesthetic harmony.
• Play around with colours, patterns and accessories.
• Choose your outfit before doing your make up.