It was his parents who always inspired him to follow his unconventional love towards sketching and designing. And now, he believes, the perception towards designing as a career path is changing due to "tremendous awareness".

"Success of the fashion and beauty industry and attraction of Bollywood have given a new recognition to such professions. There is a lot of style, fashion and beauty awareness in the country," Suneet said.

"Parents nowadays don't discourage their children if they want to get into such fields. There are so many NIFTs (National Institutes of Fashion Technology) today than there were 20 years ago when I started.

"I feel there is huge awareness today and parents are more supportive of their children's desires," added the 47-year-old, who also teaches in fashion schools. A trained designer himself, Suneet is one of three siblings. He was brought up in Delhi with elder brother Vineet and younger sister Geetika.

After finishing his schooling here, Suneet's parents sent him to London to study sculpting. Later, he switched to fashion and graduated from the London College of Fashion in costume history.

After getting his design education in Europe, Varma worked with designers Nicole Farhi and Yves Saint Laurent before starting his namesake label. The journey has been adventurous, exciting and satisfying for him ever since.
But it couldn't have been as wonderful without the support of his parents.

Suneet's father Baldev Varma, who passed away a decade ago, was a double MA in English Literature, while his mother Indira is a poet.

"A lot of my creativity comes from my family. I think we (me and my siblings) are very fortunate to grow up in a family that emphasised on exploring your creativity," Varma said.

"My father helped me a lot in my drawings when I was a child. I feel very fortunate that my parents, including my mother, didn't force us to only study. They asked us to do others things in life as well because they feel that success isn't necessarily measured by your report card," he added.

The designer says his father supported him more than his mother, but the contribution from both of them is hard to compare.

"My father was a very important part of my childhood days. He encouraged me to take the artistic part of my life more seriously. He was double MA in English, so all the influences of Renaissance art to William Shakespeare (in my designs) came from him. He was the one who discovered my talent in drawing and sketching at a very young age," he said.

Suneet recently showcased his latest collection at the Delhi leg of Blenders Pride Fashion Tour, where his mother's music CD was also launched.

"The collection is based upon love of lyrics and poetry - words that repertoire, soothe and enrich the soul. Taking inspiration from poetry that my mother has written, I have created something nostalgic, something that I have not done so far," said the designer, whose association with international brands make him a designer whose forte goes beyond dimensions.

Appointed as the international designer for international handbag brand Judith Leiber in 2007, his Swarovski-encrusted design Minaudières are a regular on the red carpet. He is also the face of automobile brand BMW in India.

In 2005, Varma was invited to showcase his collection at the Milan and Rome fashion weeks. He has also done shows in London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Berlin and Los Angeles along with a presentation for the World Economic Forum at Davos.


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