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Neeta Lulla – An Incredible Story From First Sewing Machine To Fashion House

by Saumya Gaur

Who would’ve thought that the girl whose favorite attire was a pair of jeans and tee, would go on to win national awards and accolades for dressing people in the finest of garbs? Well, certainly not the girl herself.

Much before her formal entry into the world of fashion, the National award-winning fashion and costume designer, Neeta Lulla’s first contact with it was established when she was introduced to fashion glossies. It was while flipping through their pages that she found herself gravitating towards the world of Bollywood and fashion, charmed by its glamorous appeal. Keen to know how these first steps proved to be instrumental in her journey to become a giant in the fashion industry? Read on.

Neet Lulla: The Early Days

neeta_lulla / Instagram

As a kid, Neeta’s bent wasn’t towards academics, which was a source of worry for her mother, who according to her constantly worried about Neeta’s grades. She wanted to mold her daughter into the perfect woman who would also know how to cook and stitch. On the other hand, her father encouraged her interest in sports. In fact, he was responsible for Neeta’s first brush with fashion, for it was he who provided her fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Seventeen. While these magazines did introduce a spark of a lifelong affair with fashion, Neeta’s road to becoming a powerhouse of fashion was still quite far away.

Spurred on by her disinterest in the world of academics, Neeta sought a way out in the form of marriage! Yup, you read that right. At the age of 16, she got married into a well-established family. Alas, her way out turned into her way in when her new family decided that she would complete her education either in the field of cooking or tailoring. And it was then that her fashion education began in the earnest.

Talking about that time in an interview with an online portal she says, “My brief but exciting encounters with magazines led me to pursue a Diploma in Pattern Making and Garment Manufacture, at Mumbai’s SNDT University. I had a brilliant guru in Hemant Trivedi who saw my talent and groomed me in the art of make-up, fashion choreography, and styling shows.”

Soon her innate talent was recognized by a guest lecturer of the college, Jeanne Naoroji, who also happened to be a very popular fashion choreographer. She recognized Neeta’s knack for fashion choreography and offered her a position as her assistant. This stint continued for almost two-and-a-half years, and during this time Neeta was also asked to be a lecturer in her alma mater, in the discipline of fashion coordination. Her earlier drab academic life had taken a 180-degree turn!

But life had planned something more exciting for her. While her career had finally gotten on the right track, spiritual fulfillment was lacking. So, when she got the chance to work on Tamancha, a movie which was being made by her brother-in-law, she took it. This was the beginning of a new era for her.

From Being Star’s Favorite Designer To The Empress Of Her Own Fashion Kingdom

houseofneetalulla / Instagram

While Tamancha paved the way for her in Bollywood, it was Sridevi’s Chandni that got her the recognition and put her on the map as the new costume designer to watch out for. Soon, other offers followed. Very soon after she got the opportunity to work with the leading actresses of that time such as Juhi Chawla, Aishwarya Rai which further made her more famous. And her prolific and brilliant work in the movies made her a force to reckon with.

neeta_lulla / Instagram

Who can forget the ethereal costumes in movies like Devdas, Manikarnika, Jodha Akbar? She even worked on international movies like Bride And Prejudice, The Mistress Of Spices. That she went on to win 4 national awards for her work is a testament to the magic of her threads.

houseofneetalulla / Instagram

While she cemented herself as a great costume designer, she also developed a formidable reputation as a great designer. Her business that she had begun with a single sewing machine and capital of 500 rs has now catered to a client base of over 10 lakh clients, over the course of about 30 years!

Today, her eponymous fashion house, House Of Neeta Lulla, is composed of four verticals, which cater to different client needs, and also includes a bridal line called N Bride. If that is not a phenomenal success, then we don’t know what is.

Neeta has proved that when it comes to success, hard work and perseverance coupled with genuine interest are the only governing criteria. Do you know of any other such inspirational success stories? Share your views with us in the comments section.

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