Co-owner of the fashion label MadSamTinZin and a personal stylist in California, Tina is a true boss lady! After moving to California in 2017, she expanded the brand’s reach to the US and received an overwhelming response. Along with managing her label, she also works as a wardrobe stylist in the Bay Area, offering personalized wardrobe revamp service based on the client’s personality, lifestyle, and daily needs, creating fashionable and timeless looks from their existing closet.
DissDash: How did your fashion journey begin? What was your inspiration?
Tina: My fashion journey pretty much started when I was about 8-years-old and I used to design clothes out of candy wrappers. I would cut out candy wrappers into shapes of clothes and paste them on shoe boxes and call it “my collection”.
I remember my excitement as a child when my mom gave me fabric and asked me if I wanted to do something from it and I went ahead and designed a dress for my birthday. So it became a kind of tradition that I would get new fabric every year and could design whatever I wanted. Then my mother would get it stitched from a tailor and I wore it for my birthday party.
DissDash: How was the support at home from family, did they agree with your choice of career or did you have to convince them?
Tina: While my parents were proud of the fact that I was pretty creative with clothes as a child, it came as a shock for them when I asked them to pursue fashion as a career. I come from a family of doctors and engineers and my wanting to be a designer was like being the black sheep of the family and they were not okay with that. However as fate would have it, my elder brother got married to an architect and my sister-in-law warmed up my family towards a creative career. That’s when resistance became lesser and lesser and eventually, my parents agreed to have me pursue fashion only if I got through the most premier college in India, which was NIFT back then.
So I did and they came on board!
DissDash: Tell us a little more about your company and brand.
Tina: MadSamTinZin is a brand started by 4 college friends; Madhu(MAD), Saumya (SAM) , Tina (TIN) and Stanzin (ZIN).
We met in college and did most of our group projects together. After our second year of college, we starting talking about how amazing it would be if we could always design together, since the college projects we did, brought out some of our best work.
Coincidently 2 years after college and after working in different states, we found ourselves geographically in the same location, wanting to do something very similar in our lives, and had a very coherent vision for creating a product; With that MadSamTinZin was born.
We started in 2012 and brought forward the concept of non-traditional Indian wear with age-old hand embroidery techniques. It was a relatively new concept back then and there were hardly any brands that experimented with non-Indian silhouettes incorporating rich Indian hand embroidery techniques. We were very well received and went on to open a store within 6 months of starting our production. MadSamTinZin’s journey since then has not only been the growth of a brand but also the ups and downs in the journey of four women and four friends. The brand goes on to tell our personal stories and is an inherent part of our lives.
DissDash: What makes your brand different from other fashion brands?
Tina: Besides being the only brand with four women owners; MadSamTinZin finds its uniqueness in being one of the very few brands to offer 100% hand-embroidered outfits. While the fashion industry of the world is moving towards wholesale production and cheaper ways of surface ornamentation, we take pride in creating an outfit that is not seasonal, rather something that goes on to become a coveted piece of clothing in your closet and survives the test of time.
Our clients all over the world love our outfits because even with hand embroideries, they can wear them for an Indian event and also style it for an American wedding. It’s the versatility of our pieces with rich Indian roots that attract clients to our brand from all over the world.
DissDash: As a stylist, how do you pick and choose for your client?
Tina: While working with a client, the most important criteria is the need of the client!
Understanding their requirements, expectations, and lifestyle gives a clear direction towards styling. I often work with clients to bring out their innate fashion sense which makes them feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. It’s almost like unmasking their stylish side.
From there, the designer in me takes over and I choose and pick outfits, based on what color would work best for their skin tone, what silhouettes would flatter their body types, what prints would enhance their outfits. Thus creating looks for them with shoes and accessories, which they feel their best in!
Something like creating a new dish out of the ingredients that my clients had been cooking with, for years.
I also educate my clients on the importance of re-wearing and re-styling their outfits to be able to make the most of what they have in their wardrobe. Not only does it save money but also helps reduce the waste that we create. We all have a responsibility to wear fashion with full awareness. I believe in empowering my clients with knowledge about their color palette, body shape, etc, so that they eventually become more confident in making their own fashion decisions. This helps them develop a personal style and confidently shop in the future.
DissDash: Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Tina: This last year has given me a chance to understand the value of being fulfilled in my career. If you would have asked me this question a year back, I would probably be talking about numbers and growth patterns, but today my aim is to be able to connect and work with an array of people with varied professions to be able to help them achieve their most confident image while exerting my creative juices.
Currently, I’m working on red carpet styling, Indian wedding styling, and wardrobe styling but going further I look forward to styling American weddings and getting a chance to style for Indian series/film here in the US, as I feel there is a vast difference in Indian fashion as represented on screen and as it truly exists in India today.
I hope to be able to bridge that gap with my work.
DissDash: What is the aim and mission of your business?
Tina: MadSamTinZin aims to continue bridging the gap between the East and the West with its product. With more and more inter-cultural weddings, we aim to celebrate this love with no boundaries by creating outfits that bind different cultures into one strong bond. Now that the four partners are in four different locations; Mad in India, Sam in Los Angeles, Tin in San Francisco, and Zin in Dubai; we would like to create awareness of Indian fashion and its rich traditions at a global level.
With LadyTin (my styling venture) I not only aim to elevate people’s daily wardrobes but also aim to bring forward the progress that Indian fashion has done in the last decade. I wish to create awareness of the plethora of creative Indian designers and products to the American market, who have evolved Indian fashion to an international scale. Also, I would love to style South Asian actors in the US in new-age Indian fashion. I want them to be able to proudly wear Indian fashion with current aesthetics and still feel suitably dressed for a global event.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.