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Nirali Patel

Desi Fashion Pageantry by Nirali Patel

Maybe you’ve always wanted to meet a celebrity, but what if you had the opportunity to style one? Twenty-seven year old Nirali Patel is living the fashion designer’s dream by creating high-end duds for South-Asian celebrities trotting across the globe. Nirali’s designs have been sported by both rising and established South Asian entertainers- such as Raghav and Tina Sungandh. As CEO and Head Designer of Nirali Designs LLC, Nirali believes her company has filled several holes within the fashion design market. Nirali Designs LLC is the first company that specifically caters to the South Asian pageantry and entertainment industry through offers two retail-based apparel brands: Desi Revolution and Mamta Maternity. Given the versatility of her clothing lines, it only seems natural that Nirali is planning to expand her retail division into countries that have expressed interest in her designs. Find out more including why Nirali appreciates the wisdom from others over her spiffy MBA as we feature her in this week’s Young and Professional Profile.


Nirali Designs


Fall 1995



Name, Title

Nirali Patel
CEO & Head Designer




Philadelphia College of Textiles, Fashion Design, 2003
Philadelphia University, MBA, 2004

Work Experience

Mother’s Work Inc., Jr.Assistant Buyer, 2003-2004

Tighe Industries, Assistant Designer, 2001
Tighe Industries is the number one costume catalog company responsible for dressing NFL cheerleaders as well Olympic gymnasts and figure skaters.

Designer Asst. for Madhuri Dixit 1999
I worked in the Mumbai film industry by assisting Madhuri Dixit’s Fashion Designer Dina Shah

GAP, sales associate, 1995



About the company

Nirali Designs LLC is a Special Occasion Apparel Company targeting the South Asian American consumer. The retail division consists of two apparel brands: Desi Revolution and Mamta Maternity by Nirali Designs. Our brands can be found on the racks of select Desi Apparel stores in your local Desi Markets. The Custom Service division has two apparel service lines, Competitive Dancewear and Red Carpet by Nirali Designs. We offer this line anywhere that you have internet access and give professional celebrity stylist service for a tiny percentage of the cost.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

Everyday is unpredictable and different maybe that is why I love it so much nothing is too routine and therefore I don’t get bored.

Most notable milestones

Designing for Raghav, Parthiv (bollywood singer from the film “Devdas”) Tina Sugandh, Aashna, Aditi Govitrikar and more!

What’s the niche?

We are the first company in the world to fill several holes within the market; the first company in the world to make elegant maternity apparel for the South Asian consumer (Mamta Maternity). We are the first company ever to create a complete brand of clothing with denim, knitwear, and novelty clothing lines for South Asians in stores and not just on a web site (Desi Revolution). We are the first company specifically catering to the South Asian pageantry and entertainment industry world wide (Red Carpet).

Last but not least, we are the first company to have a brand of clothing specifically catering to the 200 plus South Asian dance schools nationwide. Our whole thing is to be unique, to be Nirali and to continue creating innovative apparel brands: something different then the typical sari shop or bridal store. Those are great too, but we at Nirali Designs always strive to do something that has never been done before like custom creating jeans to lingerie for our Red Carpet brand clients and so on.

What’s in store for the future?

We are going to continue expanding our retail division and later on this year expand out to not just the many other states that have approached Nirali Designs asking to have us place our brands in their states but also countries like Canada and the UK have approached us and we will be able to accommodate them as well catching up our two-year-old retail division to our nine-year-old custom design division.

Who would you like to be contacted by?

I feel so lucky to have had many of my dreams and goals already come true. It might be a bit greedy to even ask for more but if I had to, I wish to someday design for a film in Bollywood or Desiwood maybe even Hollywood. I would love to dress more artists in the music industry like Rouge or the Sona Family for a music video. So I guess anyone that can make these last few dreams happen would be someone I would love to have contact me.

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Best way to keep a competitive edge

Put your clients first, really listen to what their needs are and focus. Don’t let competitors and the media mess with your mind. Stay focused and live in reality and not your ego. This will help you live honestly and work ethically.

Guiding principle in life

Follow your dreams and laugh when you can. Do business honestly and always always remain humble because all things are given gifts and they can go as quickly as they come.

Yardstick of success

Keep at it, don’t give up and work as much as you can without worrying too much about others and what they are doing. Keep up with your competitors, but don’t let it rule your life.

Goal yet to be achieved

I wish to someday design for a film in Bollywood or Desiwood maybe even Hollywood. I would love to dress more artists in the music industry like Rouge or the Sona Family for a music video.

Best practical advice

If something is too good to be true it probably is.

Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

My mother is an incredible woman and she always reminds me that success and respect are not things you can grab. Also, if you can’t do that, then no one can take it away from you either…meaning whatever is in your naseeb is yours. So what ever has been decided by God is what will be given to you not a penny less and not a penny more, so just keep working and don’t worry about others so much. If others try to get in your way, walk around them and keep moving toward your goal. I have done exactly that. It really is the only way to survive in an industry that is as competitive as the South Asian Fashion Industry is.


My father is the best business professor in the world I learned more from him then any of my MBA professors. This is actually really a strange thing because when I first began ND my father was super skeptical and not for it at all, you know he was worried that I was not going into medicine like all the other brown kids. He was just worried for my future I guess. When I got picked up by a buyer at 19, I think he thought wow maybe she actually does know what she is doing. From that point on he became not just a mentor but the biggest ND fan =). I also think my enemies and competitors are my mentors too in a way because I have learned a lot from them as well. I mean everything good or bad happens for a reason right?

Like best about what you do?

Designing and the creative elements along with meeting some pretty amazing people along the way.

Like least about what you do?

I hate all the math involved. Yes, I know I have an MBA. I should be a pro at that stuff, but lets just say thank God I have a financial manager and accountant to help with all the banks and everything else that goes into making ND run.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A fashion designer, but I never thought I would own my own company–not at 10 anyways.

Biggest pastime outside of work

Sleep. I work seven days a week for the most part and the hours are 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.. During the day I deal with all my US clients and business affiliates. During the night, I hold phone conferences with my overseas offices and manufacturers as over there it is day time, so sleep is really great when I can get it!

People most interested in meeting

Oprah, Donald Trump, CEO of Pepsi Indra Nooyi, Neeta Lulla – all these people are such a great inspiration to me it would be nice to meet and learn from them.

Three interesting facts about yourself

1. I love cooking and cleaning even though on the exterior I seem like corporate tough girl. I am really just a brown Betty Crocker longing to make a home and family with Mr. Right…any takers?
2. I am afraid of the dark and still sleep with a night light.
3. I am a Canadian Born/American Raised FOB and proud of it =P (insert cheesy Bollywood song “I love my India” here)

Three characteristics that describe you

1. Positive
2. Practical
3. Passionate

Three greatest passions

1. Nirali Designs
2. Family
3. Organizing everything I own with color-coded post-it notes

Favorite book

I prefer movies over books – if I have to read, then I prefer menus!

Favorite cause

I want to be able to build an educational facility for underprivileged children. When I lived in India during the re-structuring of Nirali Designs to set up for the retail expansion and the fourth brand launch Mamta Maternity, I realized how lucky I was that I had a family that believed in me and gave me the support I needed to achieve my dreams. So many of these bright kids I saw on the streets of Mumbai also have the same dreams and hopes as we do here, but they are stuck they don’t have the tools needed to help them to get where they have the potential to go. So I would like to build this type of a facility so that they too can fulfill their dreams and ambitions as I had the chance to and education is the first step.

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Interview by Sheena Singh
Introduction by Rupa Dev
Edited by Valerie Enriquez

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