Sonali’s journey into fashion started even before she hit double digits, designing miniature apparel for her collection of Barbies. By her late teens, she was creating full-sized apparel using her mother’s pedal sewing machine. She inherited her love for natural fabrics from her grandfather, who always wore khadi, and her mother, who wore natural cottons and lush silks all her life. Her passion for all things traditional is inherited from her parents, who had a fine sense of aesthetics.
With a degree in Fine Arts and a post-graduation in Fashion from NIFT, India, Sonali began her career with a fashion-buying house in India representing European retail brands, sourcing textiles, developing sample lines, and finding the right sources to manufacture them. She continued to follow her passion to design and launch limited collections during this time.
After working for 20 years in India, she moved to Doha, State of Qatar, where she worked as a Retail Buyer, buying worldwide from several brands spanning women’s wear, menswear, kids’ wear, and home décor for stores in Doha.
Simultaneously she served as a Fashion Consultant on several prestigious design projects related to fashion and garments, like the Qatar Armed Forces Military Uniforms Project. She has also covered fashion trends for magazines like Glam and Woman Today, published in Doha.
Sonali launched her own fashion brand in November 2014. Her love for natural fabrics and the desire to sustain dying crafts and textile traditions of India became the cornerstone of her brand.
SR by Sonali Raman carries a line of handcrafted fashion jewelry using traditional craft techniques in contemporary designs. The line of fashion ready-to-wear is a blend of modern silhouettes with natural fabrics and traditional embroidery techniques. The brand contemporizes traditional crafts both in jewelry and apparel, thereby creating a new aesthetic for modern times.
She works directly with craft persons and artisans, often upskilling and re-training them. She sources her natural textiles directly from weavers, thereby supporting them in getting a fair price for their weaves and helping to keep the looms running.
Sonali is Adjunct Faculty in the Fashion Department of VCUarts, Qatar, teaching Fashion to undergraduate students since 2009. She has served as a jury member and guest faculty at NIFT, Chennai, for several years.
While she champions the cause of slow, sustainable fashion through her brand and collections, she also actively collaborates with organizations that promote sustainable fashion and conscious consumption.