With time comes change, and the world of fashion is a clear reminder of that.
As of late, many designers have incorporated foreign culture – particularly Indian – into their creations. For Ruby Bhandari, combining Indian and American styles is what her company, Silk Threads, is all about.
Bhandari uses bright colors, careful embroidery, and flattering silhouettes to produce unique pieces that nod to her Indian ancestry.
“The East brings color, it brings happiness, it brings fun,” she said. “And with the way the world is going, I think that everybody wants that.”
From Bollywood celebrities to the closets of Dallas socialites, Bhandari’s designs have grown in popularity and prestige since her company’s inception more than 25 years ago.
In fact, Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, has been among Bhandari’s clients.
“I always get compliments – every time I wear it,” said Sarah Crilley, managing director for Real News PR. “It’s so different, but it’s still … you know the shape of it is very whimsical. It’s even pretty in my closet. It’s a piece of artwork in my closet.”
Originality and quality are reflected in each piece, be it a custom-made gown or a ready-to-wear tunic, Bhandari said.
“We’ve seen everything – every type of fashion, every type of look, every type of makeup, every type of hair … so what’s new? What’s new is intricate embroideries, details, beautiful fabrics – things maybe they haven’t worn before or they haven’t experienced before,” she added.
That desire for distinction was passed on from her mother during her upbringing in Austin.
“I’ve always watched my mom,” Bhandari said. “We’d go to dinners every Friday and Saturday night – I had very social parents – and my mom just didn’t want to go to the store and wear what everybody else had. Just like a Macy’s, you just know that when you buy something from there, you’re going to run into someone who’s going to have the same exact top. All week she would be buying fabrics, and she would be stitching stuff for herself to wear.”
Soon Bhandari was stitching alongside her mother, competing to see who could create the best garments.
Fast forward to 2017, and Bhandari has a factory in India, a showroom in Dallas, and more than 400 boutiques across the nation and Canada that carry her lines. Clients from all over the world, both men and women, come to Silk Threads for custom-made fashion.
But she doesn’t keep the fruits of her labor all for herself. For the past seven years, Bhandari has held a fashion show gala to raise money for select nonprofit organizations. Previous recipients include the American Cancer Society, India Education Fund of The Dallas Foundation, Children’s Advocacy Center, and Mosaic Family Services.
“Every year, I think that we sort of analyze what has been going on and what has affected us and what’s close to our hearts,” Bhandari said.
The decision to choose Mosaic Family Services, last year’s beneficiary, was personal.
“Last year I lost two friends to domestic violence, and so that just seeped into my veins and it was just my whole body, soul, everything.” More than $10,000 was raised at last year’s event.
The beneficiary of the 2017 show is the Asia Center at the University of Texas at Dallas. All proceeds will go toward an arts-related scholarship at the school.
Guests can expect to see snippets of famous Bollywood and Hollywood movies playing as models take the catwalk at the function. To coincide with this year’s theme of Western and Eastern influence on each other over the years, Bhandari is creating a custom collection of decades fashion for the models to flaunt.