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Kajal Patel

I am feeling extremely privileged to have crossed paths with this beautiful soul this year at a networking event.

She is kind, she is creative and she is definitely the sweetest person who loves supporting women in their ventures and ideas.

She is a Kiwi Indian Fashion designer from Wellington and loves to explore her own identity through fashion and has recently

had her first ever magazine feature in “Apparel Magazine 2020 February Issue”.

With no further suspense, let me introduce yáll to this week’s #HustlinKween, Kajal Patel.

Kajal was born and raised in New Zealand and both her parents are Gujrati. She identifies herself as a Kiwi-Indian. “I have never felt solely attached to one, being born and raised in New Zealand, being kiwi is my identity as much as being Indian.

This also reflects a lot in my work as a fashion designer expressing my personal conflict of being caught between two different worlds, India and New Zealand”.

“Growing up, I have always had a strong interest in my creative subjects such as arts and textiles in college. My love for textiles got me into fashion.

From a young age growing up, I always found myself gravitated towards the textiles and details seen on traditional Indian garments. I am inspired by them and use them within my work to express my Indian roots”.

Kajal is also one of the statistics like many other brown girls who have experienced an ”identity crisis” being a child of immigrants.

The idea of being seen as too “Indian” or too “Kiwi” hence never feeling enough for both. This led to Kajal exploring her own identity through fashion design.

“My designs act as a canvas of personal expression for me to help establish a common ground for both my cultures in a world where I constantly feel torn between the two.

This journey led me to celebrating a statement of my individuality and cultural identity.

Through my designs I aim to spark individuals to explore their own diverse identity”.

She currently showcases her designs and the processes on her instagram page but has goals to open up her own online store in the future.

“Having graduated from university two years ago from now, my fashion instagram page has definitely opened up many new opportunities for me as a designer.

Opportunities such as being able to connect and collaborate with like minded individuals locally in New Zealand and around the globe.

I am so grateful for the endless love and support I get from this group of people on social media that uplift me and inspire me to challenge myself and grow,

being a part of a community like this makes a world of difference”.

Kajal’s proudest moment was when she was featured in the fashion magazine for the first time earlier this year. “My first ever magazine feature in a fashion magazine! Proud of the fact a New Zealand fashion magazine had reached out to me. As a lot of my work has always been a statement of my identity being a kiwi-Indian designer . It was a heartfelt moment to know my work is noticed and appreciated within the New Zealand fashion industry.

As a Kiwi - Indian designer sometimes i feel this can be a challenge on its own, either my work is seen as too Indian to some, or less kiwi to others”.

Kajal’s biggest inspiration will forever be her Grandma who lived a full content life of 92 years. “She is one of the most strongest women I know in my life, growing up listening to her stories of battles she had faced in life, inspire me to be as strong as she was. My Indian roots also have a strong influence on my designs. As a designer it enables me to explore and celebrate my own identity”.

Kajal’s life motto has always been ‘I would rather try and fail than not try at all’.

“As a person I am determined to always push myself out of my comfort zone. And if I put my mind into doing something I do it with a 100% percent or not do it all.

I am determined and focused on building the best version of myself and inspire others around me to do the same”.

“This queendom is an amazing platform for brown girls like me to tell my story, in hope to inspire many more boss ass desi babes to do their thing.

Alongside expressing their identity loud and proud and to build a platform for women to uplift each other and build confidence”.

To check Kajal's latest designs check her page @_kajal.p

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