Finds – UAE, – Khushboo Kaplesh


I first met Khushboo Kaplesh in 2013, when we both were attending a short course from the London College of Fashion, in Dubai.  The course itself was all about how to promote/market a fashion brand via social/digital media marketing.  We also had ice breakers and time to network with each other.

At that point in time, Khushboo had started doing one off custom made designer gowns, and I did not know much about her work. However in the past 3 years, she has grown from strength to strength to where she is today. She now has a well established UAE fashion label, under her belt, as well being a full time designer for British manufacturing house, Progress fashion apparel at the tender age of just 25!

Nadia Karmali – NK

Khushboo Kaplesh – KK

khushboo Kaplesh logo

The gorgeous brand logo!

NK – So Khushboo, how long have you been a fashion designer for?

KK – Forever! I’ve always wanted to do this for as long as I can remember.  After I graduated high school, I went to Esmond Dubai, and studied fashion design there. I then interned with some haute couture design houses, in Dubai as well as in Amsterdam. I first started of doing haute couture wear and have now moved onto ready to wear.  I have also been looking at potential design opportunities with fashion houses in Dubai, but that sort of structure does not really exist in this part of the world.  Working with Progress fashion apparel, in the last couple of months I feel like I’m learning so much!  Things such as how to place and deliver bulk orders as opposed to one of pieces every couple of weeks.   I love learning new things, and with this new job opportunity, that’s exactly what’s been happening.  I have even picked up on merchandising and buying, which is very exciting for me!

NK – How did you get into fashion designing, or decide that this is what you wanted to do, in terms of your career?

KK – I’ve always wanted to do fashion designing, since I was maybe 9-10 years old!  I grew up around 3 older brothers, and everyone thought I’d be very tom boyish due to that, but I think it made me even more girly! 🙂 I’m Indian, and growing up I would look at my mum, to see what she would be wearing. She had these gorgeous, vibrant, bright coloured saris and traditional wear, and as an artist it was very inspiring! When I was around 10,11 I had my own DIY projects, where I would experiment with my mums and my brothers clothing.  I would cut them up, and stick and sew beads onto them, so those were ‘my first masterpieces!’ 🙂 No one else in my family was particularly creative, my dad did have an interest in art but he never pursued it.  However my family has always been extremely supportive and encouraging of my ambition and passion in life, and I really love and appreciate them for that.

NK – What was your inspiration for this particular collection?

Khushboo Kaplesh Fall/Winter '16

Khushboo Kaplesh, Fall/Winter ’16

KK – Disco from the 70’s, as well as futuristic, but at the same time clothes that are elegant and wearable! The later part hones into my girly aesthetic, because I want the cuts and the lines to fall easily and be comfortable to wear.  Designing a collection involves a lot of work, as opposed to what some people may believe!  Initially it starts with a lot of research, to see what aesthetic will fit in with the concept I have in my mind.  Then it goes into sourcing fabrics and materials, as well as sketching ideas, keeping my mood board in mind, as well as what fabrics I’ll use for what outfit.

With this particular collection, I used a lot sparkly materials, fabrics and textures, as well as a lot of sequins.

Gold Sequins

(Image courtesy of

Some of my main inspiration for the collection sprang from 70’s diva’s such as Tina Turner and Donna Summer.

Donna Summers

(Image courtesy of

Tina Turner

(Image courtesy of

If you see the colour palette, it’s actually quite feminine, with a mix of tweed and pearls, juxtaposed to the louder colours of the reds and golds.  The clothes are very easy to wear, I like to think of my work as ‘wearable art,’ which you can mix and match to take you from day to night!

KK - Day to night looks!

How to work the Day to Night looks, with Khusbhoo Kaplesh’s Fall/Winter ’16 collection

NK – What’s your own personal favourite piece/pieces from the collections you’ve designed so far?

KK – I absolutely love the current collection, and all the pieces from it.  However I feel that way about the first collection too! 🙂 The inspiration for the first collection was marble, I’m currently quite obsessed with the idea of making clothes into pieces of art, I like to say ‘wearable art!’  (Seems to be a good tagline for the brand!)

The technique to create the marble look on clothes is called marble painting.  I painted on the fabric and material myself and then turned it into a print, using software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. For the Spring/Summer ’16 collection, I created one main print and 2 other smaller ones.

The marble effect on my clothes if you look closely, is not the typically black and white print, as I’ve used a lot of muted and pastel shades.

 The Volga DressThe Volga Dress

If I had to pick my favourite it would be the VOLGA dress, from the spring/summer ’16 collection.  However I also like the midi dress, the sheer print detail and reversible cape. (all from the spring/summer ’16 collection)

NK – How did you come up with the names for each outfit in each collection?

KK – For Spring/Sumer’16, like I mentioned before I used marble as inspiration.  So for that particular collection I researched different names of kinds of marble.

For the Fall/Winter ’16, since my inspiration was the 70’s era, I researched famous pop stars from that era.   Hence the names of my current collection are names such as ‘The Tina Top,’ after Tina Turner, ‘The Donna Dress,’ after Donna Summer, and ‘The Diana Top,’ after Diana Ross.

NK – How would you describe your own personal sense of style?

KK – I would say in all of my collections, you get to see a little bit of ‘me.’ I don’t like to follow any particular trend, it depends on my mood as to how I would dress.  I like to be unique, and stand out in a crowd.  In the mornings generally, I like to be more causal and comfortable, and minimal makeup.  I believe it’s not necessarily about what you’re wearing per se, but about your attitude and confidence.  For example, if you have a smile on your face and carry yourself with confidence, you can wear anything!

Even though I would summarise my sense of style as feminine, I still like to experiment with different colours and materials.

NK – What’s your favourite article/articles of clothing/accessory to buy?

KK – Hmm, that’s a tough one!  I like bags, shoes, clothes and accessories!  If I had to pick one out of this list, it would have to be accessories!  Today, I left without wearing earrings and I felt naked, it’s like a piece of me is missing.  I literally had to talk myself out of losing my mind over it, and trying to move on and go about my day! 🙂

Kate Spade_carousel bag

The Kate Spade Carousel Bag (image courtesy of

To me accessories and clothes go hand in hand. I love unique and vintage bags the most, it’s not about how expensive something is but how it looks to me.  I love the brand Kate spade for their handbags,  I own their cage with birds, phone with a wire, carousel and robot bags!!!

I feel like accessories help to perfectly put the ending to the story, that an outfit is telling the world!  Be it with bags or jewellery or even hair accessories.  I love to take jewels, such as earrings or even broaches and make them into hairbands!  (Blair Waldorf would be very proud!:))

NK – How many accessories do you own? (I wonder if they’re even quantifiable?!)

KK -I would say an infinite number of handbags, jewellery and shoes.  When I was younger my mum had always told me, not to count the number of things I own, because it would jinx the amount I may potentially own during my lifetime! This piece of advise has stayed with me till date, the only figure I could give you, is that I approximately own 50-60 pairs of shoes!

NK – who is your own personal style icon?

KK – I wouldn’t say I have any one particular person in mind.  I admire people from let’s say Lady Gaga, who is more experimental and creative, to the duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, whose style is more feminine and modern.  If I had to pick someone from the Middle East region, it would definitely be Natalia Shustova.  I don’t like to define myself to liking one style of clothing, because as a designer I feel like it corners you into one space.

NK – Which designer/fashion house influences your design aesthetic, if any?

KK – I would say there are a couple of designers that I absolutely love! One of my favourites is Iris Van Herpen, I love her work and even had the opportunity to intern with her! I find it amazing how she what she does, like how her brain works the way it does.  With the whole process of an idea of a look, to the execution of it.  How she sources the fabric and adds the finishing touches.

I also love Manish Arora.  The details in his embroidery are one of the reasons why I wanted to get into couture in the first place.  I honesty can’t understand how he does what he does, he’s amazing!

There’s also another designer, similar to Manish Arora but that’s not been around as long, called Papa don’t Preach.  They’re very creative with their work, and young and refreshing!

Out of the well established couture labels, I love, Zuhair Murrad, Versace, D&G and Dior. (Obviously it ties in with Khushboo’s love for all things feminine!)

NK – What brand is your favourite?

KK – For handbags, I would definitely say Dior, but for clothes I’m not too fussy!  I like anything from Primark to Dior, again I would say it’s about the confidence that you carry yourself with, as to how the clothes look on you.

NK – So what’s next for the Khushboo Kaplesh brand?

NK – I’m working on my next collection for my label, as well as plans to expand the label to other countries in the Middle East.  I also plan to stock my label in other Middle Easter countries (aside from the UAE,) and in Europe as well!

I want to continue making wearable art for woman to wear, nothing makes me happier than seeing women wearing my designs!

 NEW make ova Khushboo

To follow this cuties’s journey connect with her on:

Instagram: @khushbookaplesh

Facebook: Khushboo Kaplesh


Stockists:, Be You Boutique in Jumeriah, The and via Khushboo’s Instagram page