The woman in the Attic

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It’s all things New York for Sasha Castelino, 28, MD, Phoenixx Apparel Services and Attic, the clothes store on Lavelle Road. Castelino is the buying agent for AXIS, NY. As an intern with Winona, NY, she designed mood boards and sourced fabrics and trims. With handbag designer and fashion stylist Phyllis Leibowitz, she supervised production and quality control in NY. With designer-stylist Ruben Chapelle, she coordinated shows and events in NY. Not to mention she majored in fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of NY. “It’s an applied science degree that includes sociology, arts, geometry, history,” she says. “And New York is a melting pot of cultures and experiences. I have eaten at every possible restaurant on the block and have indulged in clubbing on weekends.”

She never thought she would ever be back in India doing her thing. “After college, I worked for a year with Mast Industries, a sportswear company that manufactures products like Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana, Republic and Structure,” she says. “Then a friend of mine came to NY with an offer to work for Axis NY’s India operations. And both of us chose Bangalore because it’s small, friendly and cosmopolitan.”

Both started from their home in Fraser Town. But after a year, her partner Hansa Jaypal moved to Chennai to be with her son. And the office moved as well. “She’s managing the manufacturing and sourcing of fabrics, and all are for the overseas market,” says Castelino. “And I am in constant touch with what’s happening and running my baby Attic, by sourcing stuff from Sri Lanka and some parts of India.”

Primarily into womenswear, Castelino sells branded goods like Banana, Polo, Express, Gap and undergarments from Marks and Spencers and Victoria’s Secrets. But she’s not fixed on one brand herself. “I don’t believe in sticking to any one label, because fashion changes over time, you have to mix and match. I wear anything that works well for my body type.”

And what gels well with her store is anything and everything that excites the upwardly mobile woman on the move; junk jewellery, handbags, partywear and casualwear, shoes and decorative candles (there are very few men’s shirts).

Castelino is a Portuguese sir name and Sasha’s Russian. Clarifies she: “Both my parents are Indian, My father’s a Roman Catholic and mother’s a Hindu,” she clarifies. “I was born in Ahmedabad and am still single, but not looking.”

And it’s not all work and no play. She is either watching TV or curling up with a book (‘I prefer short stories and stuff like Bridget Jones’ Diary’). And she loves cooking Italian, her best? Penne with alfredo sauce. Any blasts from the past? “I learnt Indian classical when young as my mom used to be a good kathak dancer; I like listening to classical music from time to time and chill out in pubs like f-Bar on weekdays as it gets very crowded on weekends.”

Sasha Castelino (28)
Runs Attic, a boutique on Lavelle Road
Bachelors degree in applied science (fashion design major) from Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York
Assisted fashion stylists Phyllis Leibowitz and Ruben Chapelle, both in NY
Interned with Winona, NY; is buying agent for AXIS, NY
Done a certificate course in design and photography from Ambalal Sarabhai Foundation
Loves reading, cooking and watching TV

(Published in City Reporter, 2003)