Seema Malhotra Talks Building Her Fashion Empire

The Real Housewives of Cheshire star and co-founder of luxury womenswear brand Forever Unique talks her inspirations and the importance of good hard graft

Who is the Forever Unique woman?

She is glamourous, daring and, oozes confidence. She is a ‘girl’s girl’ who speaks her mind and empowers others.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I’ve always been inspired by the glamourous supermodels of the late 1980s including the likes of Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Naomi Campbell. This gave me the drive to set out to reinvent the glamorous woman of today.

How do you hope women feel when wearing your designs?

Confident and empowered.

How does a successful day begin for you?

A gym session definitely. A clear mind is so important when your tackling jobs at work. I actually get a lot of inspiration after a good work out!

What do you do to make sure you feel your best?

Dance! It’s a huge passion of mine as it makes me feel alive. I also love a good pamper from time to time – who doesn’t?!

Who would you love to design a dress for? 

There are so many people I would be honoured to dress. Someone like Jennifer Lopez would be amazing because she is a woman of my age and still works it! She is everything that I love about being a woman and is a real inspiration to me. If I were to design a dress for her, it would definitely be embellished from head to toe; structured with a sweeping waistline to highlight her famous curves and a thigh-high split of course!

Was there a moment when you felt like you’d ‘made it’?

I’ve had moments where I’ve pinched myself but I’ve always been someone who always tries to improve! A moment I’m really proud of is when Kate Middleton wore one of my pieces – that was a real honour.

You travel a lot for work, but out of all the places you’ve visited which is your favourite and why?

There are so many but it has to be Milan without doubt! The fashion capital of the world gives me so much inspiration. The fashion culture is evident in every quarter of the city and for me stands out as the best.

You have a very busy schedule but when you do have free time, how do you like to spend it?

Spending time with my family definitely!  We’re always busy so it’s nice to sit and chill in our family home with dinner and a glass of wine. I also love to exercise and I go to dance classes regularly.

Do you spend much time with your Real Housewives of Cheshire co-stars off-screen?

We do try to squeeze in time together but sometimes it’s difficult when you’re juggling motherhood and work commitments. I see Stacey the most off-screen. We just click and she’s a gal pal for life! We’ve also invested in a top restaurant in Manchester, Menagerie, so we’re now business partners. She’s just a breath of fresh air and we have a lot of fun together.

Your parents raised you with traditional values. Are they something you try to instill in your sons?

Absolutely! My parents taught me to be tough, persevere and to work hard. My husband Sandeep and I ensure that our sons stay grounded, driven and value the importance of hard work. They are amazing kids who are full of enthusiasm and creative ideas; we just bounce off each other. It’s great!

You’re a mother, designer and business owner. How do you balance all of your commitments?

I’ve worked my entire life and without my family and devoted team at Forever Unique, I wouldn’t have been able to balance everything at once. They have always been dedicated, loyal and continue to be committed to making the Forever Unique brand a success. We’re like one big family and it’s something I really do appreciate.

Seema, Sandeep and Aaron Malhotra at A-Magazine’s Umbrella Ball 2017

Why do you think you’ve been so successful?

I think it’s because of my grounded upbringing, my supportive family and of course my loyal team at Forever Unique. Together, we’re all grafters. It hasn’t been an easy-ride; we’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into Forever Unique and I think it’s the passion we have that has made it a success.

Do you think women bring something different to business than men?

Women have had so much more to prove over the last 100 years and things have changed dramatically for women in business in terms of opportunity and equality. I think skills like empathy, optimism, and women’s intuition work towards the benefit of a company. I also think women are fabulous multitaskers! I’ve been fortunate enough to have an extremely supportive husband who has always encouraged me to keep striving. Women will be running the world in no time!

What was the biggest obstacle on your journey to becoming a fashion designer?

I think being taken seriously in an extremely competitive industry.

What advice would you give to upcoming fashion designers?

I would say, never give up or become complacent. Stay true to yourself and never self-doubt.  I think it’s important that the right criticisms should be taken constructively and I honestly believe that if you have the vision and drive, you can achieve anything.

What are your plans moving forward with Forever Unique?

We have so many exciting plans ahead! I’m proud to say that Forever Unique has continued to move forward consistently and recently invested in a team of in-house specialist in roles within digital marketing and e-commerce. Future major projects include international growth through retail channels and continuing to acquire new business in evolving areas for the brand such as the USA, Middle East and Europe. Watch this space!

Shop Seema’s designs at foreverunique.co.uk

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