Designing Luxury with Comfort


Akshada Khaunte whose brand Axada Counto operates on the motto of ‘Handcrafted with Passion’ sheds light on her unique designs and the talent that she brings to the table

Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it, said Belgian fashion designer, Diane von Furstenberg, and who better to help one find it than Akshada Khaunte with her fashion label, Akxada Counto.
Born and brought up in Panjim, Akshada has always been inclined towards the world of fashion and designing, right up from a young age.

She holds a Bachelor in Commerce (B.Com) degree with a specialisation in Marketing. Fashion always held a place in her mind and heart but during her college years, the concept of ‘designer wear’ and colleges imparting education in fashion design weren’t as popular back then in Goa, so she chose to join her family business.

As a child she would love to dress up and wear clothes that she would design. “I would choose the fabric, sketch out the design and hand it over to the tailor,” says Akshada.

Years later, when she felt the drive to follow her passion, she decided to look further into the fashion industry and find a niche for herself as a fashion designer.

Thus, Akxada Counto, her fashion label was born out of her continued passion and drive to follow it.
Her flair to dress up well and a keen eye into detailing reflects through her designs.
On being asked why she chose to name her brand as Akxada she mentioned that is the way her name was spelt on her birth certificate, in Portuguese. “I wanted something unique and different for my label while also giving it a personal touch,” adds Akshada.

What started from a workshop with two craftsmen in 2017, turned into a designer studio in 2018 and this year the brand completed five years under her supervision and passion, marking her as a prominent designer in the city.
“The quality and customer service along with the transparency in our work that we offer our customers is what makes us stand out. We deliver what we promise,” she says when speaking about the USP of her brand.

“For me, fashion means comfort first and I make sure my designs feel like a second skin on my clients, as well. I hand pick the fabrics and choose them carefully and that means that I can then vouch for everything; right from our selection of fabrics, to our final designs. This has ensured that we have loyal customers who come to us regularly and trust our brand. My team and staff is the driving force and backbone of my entire operations and all this combined with the above factors makes my brand speak for itself.”

The designs available at Akxada Counto are one of a kind and this is something that Akshada is very particular about. “Goa being a small place, you tend to come across the same crowd for various events and parties. I don’t mass produce any design. Every piece you see in my store is an individual piece and customers prefer to come to me as they trust me not to replicate the same design for someone else.”

Akshada sources her fabrics from Mumbai and Delhi, while her silks come from Bangalore. Through her label, she strives to create unique designs for her clientele and stands by her ideology of quality over quantity.
Her passion for slow and sustainable fashion and drive to support Indian weavers reflects through her work and designs sourcing handloom and hand-woven fabrics from weavers across India.

Acquiring the raw materials is one of the biggest challenges faced by Akshada when it comes to her business. “I have to travel out of Goa and source various fabrics as well as other raw materials. It would be so much easier if everything was available here.

There’s a lot more that goes into the final product than just the fabric; all of which go into bringing my design to life. I have yet to come across a store in Goa that will give me pure designer fabrics and related materials.” Having to rely on her suppliers for delivery of materials on time and dealing with logistic issues, adds to the challenges of being a fashion designer.

Akshada’s biggest source of inspiration and strength is her family. “As a child I knew I would want to do something on my own. I also wanted to enjoy what I do as I am quite a creative person. I was inspired by my father and the way he would manage his business. Later, my husband spurred me on with his managerial skills and the ease with which he would run his business. This made me crave for starting something that would fuel my individuality and have something that I can call my own.”

With regards to her future plans, Akshada wants to go digital so that it would be easier to coordinate with customers who are based outside Goa. “Things will ease when I set up an e-commerce portal; and I will be able to reach out to more people, both in India and abroad. Creating my own digital store will ensure that people will have direct access to my designs.” She also plans on displaying her pieces in multi-designer stores in Goa.

Akshada concludes with a message to aspiring women entrepreneurs. “Follow your heart and your passion. If you have a vision, you can definitely achieve it. At first, things will be difficult, but with hard work, zeal and enthusiasm, you can always achieve success and make your dreams come true. Consistency isthe key. I feel it is not easy to create something on your own while creating value for your brand, as well. If you are consistent with your values, services and dedicated to what you are doing, you will achieve success.

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