Nirvana Singh loves sparkle.
“I am absolutely obsessed with sparkle,” said the founder and designer of India by Thread, which runs operations out of both Jackson Heights and South Ozone Park. “Not just sparkle in clothing, but in personality as well.”
Her company’s slogan is “sparkle is our thing,” and the founder shared that she wants customers to feel the “sparkle” in their attitudes when they wear her clothes and accessories.
Growing up, Singh said her family, who is originally West Indian from Guyana, did not have a lot of Indian clothing, save for the outfits that they wore to special occasions like weddings and services.
“It wasn’t part of our culture early on,” Singh said.
But a desire to preserve the culture of her Indian ancestors for Desi people — a person of Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi birth or descent who lives abroad — was one of the factors that led to India by Thread’s creation. She added that she often experienced overpaying for low-quality products and wanted to make higher quality items for her own customers.
Another factor that led to her company’s creation was a noticeable void in the Indian clothing market for plus-sized women.
“The plus-size market isn’t there,” said Singh, who added that most Indian clothing available for purchase are for petite body types.
She first began designing for herself and her sisters two years ago. The following year is when she said she started designing professionally for her own business.
On her website, Singh sells a variety of traditional and modern Indian clothes, shoes and accessories. According to her, she designed 20 percent of the items on the website, while the bulk of the items are things she curated from different regions in India.
“Curated products in the Indian fashion world are known as ‘ready-made,'” she said.
Singh said that the ready-made items come from places like Delhi, Jodhpur and Rajasthan, which she said is known for its well-crafted, intricate designs.
“Every state [in India] has different looks and even different ways to drape their clothes,” Singh said.
When it comes to the products she designs, she said she draws inspiration from several sources, including Bollywood, Indian art, architecture like Hindu temples and the Taj Mahal and her own travels.
In addition to designing and curating products, Singh said she also takes the photos seen on her website and social media. Most of the photo shoots take place at her family home in South Ozone Park.
She said that being located in Queens has been a benefit for India by Thread and has given her the opportunity to learn new techniques and processes from people in the clothes-making industry.
“Queens is the most amazing place in the world. There are things right at your fingertips,” Singh said.