In 2009, a new fashion line emerged in Los Angeles, one that wanted to show the world the beautiful combination of Moroccan and Indian cultures with today’s fashion. Ambika Sanjana started her journey as a little girl growing up in Bombay, India. She comes from a lineage of very artistic individuals and has grown up immersed in the art her entire life. She was 16 her and her family migrated to the United States. She attended college for acting and three years ago moved to India to pursue her acting career. While there, she landed a lead job for Bollywood designer, Neeta Lulla. This job opened up new horizons, she fell in love with the fashion industry and got an inside look to the technicalities of running a fashion business. But her passion grew stronger, soon enough being on the side lines was not enough, Ambika wanted more. She saw the opportunities of building an international line and she teamed up with best friend Valerie to start their own venture.
The quest of adding a hot new line to the LA fashion scene began when Ambika and Valerie collaborated their styles, ideas, and aspirations for creating a clothing line unlike any other. Their love of fashion and their mutual frustration that Western clothing did not incorporate enough cultural influences, particularly of their own Indian/Moroccan descents brought these two girls together to fill this fashion void.
This Moroccan and Indian united clothing line is geared to the needs of a refined bohemian, the feminine, active woman that is comfortable yet chic. No matter how unique and exotic the design is, their main focus is to combine cultural heritage with a bit of an urban twist. Taking the ethnic elements of clothing (beautiful yet rarely seen) and mixing them with the traditional Western style is something they feel is fashion-relevant right now. Most importantly, the designers of B. Vika want women to understand and embrace the diversity and differences within, to be proud of who they are and where they come from.
Though many designers motivate and inspire them in creating these one of a kind pieces, two designers top them all, Manish Arora and Louis Vuitton. Manish Arora is a kitschy designer from India who has made a huge impact in the International market. He has a very bold fashion-forward style that also combines Indian styles/patterns with Western influence. His style of fusion is very inspirational to them. Louis Vuitton has a business model that has built the brand into one that is timeless and classic. It symbolizes much more than fashion today, more lifestyle and luxury. This is definitely a direction B.Vika wants to go.
B. Vika has launched two collections thus far: “Maroc Mor” & “Soleil Maharani.” Both lines incorporate a lot of high end elements, fabrics, and motifs that are very symbiotic and cultural to their heritage. The girls launched their “Soleil Maharani” S/S 2011 resort wear collection recently at Los Angeles Fashion Week. With an incredible response and astounding feedback to their new collection, they have steadily carved a special niche for themselves in the fashion world.
My favorite of the B. Vika collections is the “Soleil Maharani” which translates to “Sun Queen”. There are tons of glamorous bikinis inspired by the peacock and its many different symbolic meanings. The attention to details with all the hanging charms and embellishments really stands out. Their garments have a unique blend of Moroccan and Indian styles featuring detailed embroidery, handcrafted embellishments, and luxurious textures. The peacock is an ancient motif in many cultures throughout the world. The two peacocks facing each other found on the designs stands for unity and amity, both representing the longevity of friendship between the co-founders Ambika and Valerie.
I had the pleasure of attending a few of their fashion shows and was absolutely amazed. My favorites are the cute casual pull over jackets (Maroc Mor collection) depicting some of the most beautiful styles and bright colors I have ever seen. Each design is different with its own significance and the amount of detail put into each of these garments is one thing designers could definitely learn from these girls.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the beautiful and talented Ambika & Valerie. When I asked what they want people to remember when they think of the line they reiterated the importance of their message to consumers, “We want people to embrace our diversity and to love the differences within each other. When they think of our line we want them to remember our exotic brilliance and unique style of our brand.” Everyone is different and should be proud of their heritage no matter what. If you are a B Vika consumer, you are reminded of that every time you put on their unique pieces. I anxiously await the latest collections B.Vika has to offer.
Article by Elsa Sheikhpour
Photography by AC, Arnold Panganiban and Raphael Maglonzo
Models: Ellesse Jordan Tzinberg and Elizabeth Haley