10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wendell Rodricks’ Protégé Schulen Fernandes
Wendell Rodricks’ show, Trapezoid — on the opening day of Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016 — was special for more reasons than one. Besides the fact that he got real women to strut for him (something we’d definitely vote for becoming a fashion norm) and celebrated women of all sizes, a pleasant surprise was his protégé, Schulen Fernandes. Taking the runway with her mentor, the 37-year-old will also take over the reins of brand Wendell Rodricks. Now that’s a rarity in Indian fashion, where handing over a label to someone outside the family (and oh-so-graciously) is still unheard of.
I caught up with Schulen for a quick tête-à-tête to find out more about this girl-next-door (until now!) who will steer one of the country’s most renowned designer labels. Here are 10 things you should know about the new Co-Creative Head of Wendell Rodricks:
1. She was first approached by Tarun Tahiliani to intern with him after her graduating show at SNDT in 1999. Schulen gave up that offer and called Wendell instead. “I moved to Goa for three months for an internship and ended up staying there for four years working as Wendell’s assistant from 1999-2003,” she recounts.
2. She moved back to Mumbai in 2003 and started working in menswear. In 2005, she joined Raymond as a buyer for ‘Be’ and was there until 2008.
3. She was working as a stylist in fashion and advertising between 2009-2012 post her stint at Raymond.
4. She went on a break for 8 months in 2012 to travel the world (now, this is a girl we love!).
5. In early 2013, she joined Rodricks as a consultant. And her anointment as the successor for the label was part of the big plan.
6. An alumnus of Villa Theresa High School and Sophia College, Schulen is a Mumbai girl and lives in Andheri. She will shuttle between Goa and Mumbai, and is not quite looking at moving base immediately. “A lot of work and networking happens in Mumbai. So I will be here half the month, and in Goa the other,” she says.
7. She loves her mentor’s humility, admires his knowledge and adds, “He’s very nurturing as a person and I couldn’t have asked for a better guide.”
8. She loves photography and architecture (hence her love of geometry when it comes to design and patterns). Ladakh, Iran, Cambodia, and Vietnam are her list of must-visit destinations.
9. Among international designers, her favourites include Raf Simons, Marc Jacobs, Ralph and Russo, and Donna Karan.
10. She will be introducing a hint of print in next season’s collection with a dash of sporty and quirky elements — keeping the young, millennial woman in mind.