East Meets West: Sonika Nanda’s Exotic Shawls


In India, a thick wool-blend scarf is hardly at hand because of the warmer climate. A light, embroidered scarf is the perfect accessory for the sweltering heat. On Long Island, one scarf is not enough sometimes. For Sonika Nanda, a blend between the East and West is what interests her the most. She decided to blend Indian styles with Western textures by designing colorful, exotic shawls for the everyday woman.

LIB Magazine: What is a shawl?

Sonika Nanda: I design shawls. A shawl is basically wider and longer than a regular scarf – more like a wrap because you can drape it around you in lieu of a cardigan- and it keeps you cozy. At the same time, it makes a style statement.

LIB Magazine: What is your motivation for designing shawls?

Sonika Nanda: Having grown up in India and the fact that I’ve been living in New York for over 20 years now, my sense of dressing has always been a happy blend of East meets West. Whenever I’d wear one of my scarves or shawls with a dress or pants, people would ask me where I got it from and so that got me thinking: Since I had a background in Fashion Design I was looking for something to do where I could use my creativity but in a simple fashion statement. I designed a range of pretty shawls- all made in India- but to suit the urban woman anywhere in the world.

LIB Magazine: So who is your ideal customer?

Sonika Nanda: My customer is a woman with her own sense of style; someone who likes to break the cookie-cutter mold of the typical generic look of a suburban American woman. My shawls would work for women of any age and they jazz up that otherwise dull outfit, adding sparkle to an overall look without taking too much effort.

LIB Magazine: Describe the process when someone wants to buy something from you.

Sonika Nanda: I have participated in different fundraising events where in my own small way I give back to various causes dear to me. Since I’m still relatively new at this, the best way for people to contact me is privately or via email. The range of my designs is very exclusive so there is no bulk buying & wholesale involved. What you get will be a one of a kind piece.

Sonika Nanda: This makes the perfect gift for your mom, mom-in-law, sister, friend, and boss; pretty much any woman who you want to give a gift to!  For the holidays, I have some lovely rich hues and prints with or without a touch of sparkle in a buttery soft, fine pashmina and wool mix blend. Apart from that there are some elegant, classic-looking ones too, for everyday wear. With the weather in New York being the way it is, I carry a shawl with me pretty much all year round! Winter, Spring, Fall and Summer nights by the pool, in a movie hall, in a plane- you’ll be surprised how light it is and fits easily into any handbag. So those of you who enjoy wearing scarves, add that eclectic touch to your wardrobe and treat yourself to a beautiful shawl!

Requests can be sent to: shawlsbysonika@yahoo.com

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