What process do you go through when creating pieces for your collection?
First I look for fabrics or embroideries that excite me! I rarely have textiles made to order, preferring to use original vintage tribal embroideries and traditional Ajrakh block printed fabric. These are usually available in limited quantities, so the size of the piece available plays a big part in how I decide to use a particular handicraft.
Some embroideries have an obvious use, like a blouse front for example.....but I like to think of ways it could be used differently! I love the unexpected and a little humour in my designs, so I may decide to use it (a blouse front) upside down, or half at the back and half on the front and combine it with non Indian textiles like lace or fake fur to create something different from your average Kurta.
I recently made a dress from an unusually shaped toran (a wall hanging for over a door way) I kept the original shape, and with a few darts to perfect the fit, and re-alighn the embroidery's design, it was barely recognisable as a toran any longer! I added a flared skirt in a slightly mis-matched print, and the resulting dress while having Indian elements, did not look particularly Indian as the overall shape of the dress and the combination of textiles used were not in a traditional Indian style.
Another thing I like doing is using heavily mirror worked and embroidered womens' tribal 'blouses' to make a cute party dress. These 'blouses' are backless, but with tight sleeves and a high necked fitted bodice thats fastened with ties across the back. I slash the front neck to open up the shoulders, and give a more comfortable fit as well as a flattering lower neckline. To make it a little 'sexy' I like to retain the original backless look, but add a full floral skirt....Once again, a silhouette thats not Indian, but with unmistakeable Indian embroidery.
Bias cutting and draping are both western pattern making techniques I frequently like using too.
So, to answer your question, first chose the textile, then think 'what can I do with this that will be fashionable, but unusual and different'.......the thinking about can sometime take months! I have many projects in my mind at any one time.