About Dona Sarkar

10 Aug 2015

About Dona Sarkar

Tell us a little about you.

I make holograms to enable companies to evolve their businesses faster!  I’m a product manager at Microsoft, working on the HoloLens team. I love my product because it impacts so many industries. I mean, check out this video of how we’re changing the medical field. Outside of the office, I’m a published author of young adult fiction and career acumen non-fiction (“You Had Me at Hello World”).

I’m also an aspiring fashion designer—I went to fashion school in Seattle a few years ago and my experience with starting my own line was incredibly frustrating because of the sloooowwwness of the fashion design process. {Patternmaking, Draping, Fitting, Fixing} //Repeat until crazy.

I want to disrupt this industry so designers and stylists can spend a lot less time and money,  so you can imagine that using HoloLens to evolve the fashion design and style industry is a personal passion of mine.

I’m also very devoted to promoting diversity in the STEM fields and travel around the world speaking on this topic—I believe that as tech explodes into other fields, diversity in perspectives will be as important as diversity in race and gender.

Tell us a little about what you’re wearing.

Dress: Luly Yang Mini-Monarch. Photo from a magazine shoot by Adrian Busse

My first outfit is probably my most favorite thing in my closet. I had the privilege of wearing Luly’s iconic Monarch dress for my engagement shoot a few years ago, so when she debuted her Ready-to-Wear collection earlier this year and had the Mini-Monarch as the show-stopper, I HAD to have it.  You can bet I saved up for this investment piece that I’ll have forever. In the background, you can see a snake printed dress with a sweetheart neckline. That was a birthday gift my husband conspired with Luly & team to make for me. It’s called Sweet Poison and I can’t wait to find an occasion to wear it!

The gold beaded dress I’m wearing is from Sue Wong, one of my go-to designers for evening wear and weddings.  I love her flapper-esque, beaded dresses.  Though they are quite expensive, they are ALWAYS on sale on Rue La La, Gilt, or Ideeli for like 75% off original prices, so I wind up getting a TON of them, and have never paid full price. The picture is from a runway show I did a few years ago where I showcased a look from the 20s.

The next outfit is my 90s chick look, again for the fashion show.  I really like the black leather Rag & Bone dress for night. I paired it with my favorite “get stuff done” shoes - they tend to scare the heck out of everyone, but they make me confident like nothing else. I’ll tell you, no one has messed with me when I walk down the street in those!

The fuchsia dress is something I made! I call it Roses are Black and it’s a dress made of dual layers of satin and a sheer rose-coloured net fabric with  appliques.  I paired it with my go-to shoes, my purple Fluevog Elizabeth’s. The heel looks crazy, but it’s a secret wedge and I can walk 5 miles in them.  I’ve thrown a black blazer over this outfit and worn it to work, and then out to drinks afterwards.

I love fashion that has a story and most of my favorite pieces are either designed by a friend, vintage or from my travels.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

Dress: Sue Wong

I went through a plethora of styles before I found “me”. When I was in high school, I can honestly say I had zero style. Seriously, zero.  I was a shy, nerdy kid and I never wanted to draw attention to myself so I wore huge everything. In college, I decided to change who I was and really embraced a bohemian, feminine aesthetic with long skirts and giant silver jewelry. When I first started working, I thought I had to dress like a stereotypical tech guy, so I wore baggy cargo pants and free t-shirts from career fairs. I realized I wasn’t being myself and in turn, wasn’t doing my best work, so I decided to start dressing like the pictures I kept dogearing in magazines.

Now I would say my style is “statement”. I love attention-grabbing statement pieces and wear at least one every single day, whether it’s a dress, heels, or a giant necklace.  I’m a total heels girl (I’m very short!) and feel very weird in flats. As Victoria Beckham says,  “I can’t think in flats!”

Do you have any style icons or favorite brands?

Dress: Rag & Bone / Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell Spike Lita's

My favorite designer is Luly Yang. She’s not only incredibly talented with color and texture, but she really understands a woman’s body. Every single thing I’ve ever tried on from her lines have been infinitely flattering and her ready-to-wear collection makes it easy for me to wear Luly for more than special occasions.

I LOVE Victoria Beckham’s style and fashion line. Her clothing makes women’s bodies look stellar and stand tall. I think it’s amazing that she reinvented herself from Spice Girl to a respected fashion designer later in life.  I also love Ted BakerMary Katranzou and Peter Pilotto’s daring use of prints. I don’t own any pieces from the latter two yet, but I desperately want to.

I fell in love with Australian design houses when I spent my honeymoon in Sydney and brought back a bunch of pieces from Nicola Finetti, Wheels and Dollbaby, Alannah Hill and Cue Clothing.  They have that structured glam-fem thing I love so much.  I do tend to wear dresses and skirts 90% of the time, but sometimes I will do J-Brand jeans, a cute t-shirt from Snorg and a blazer.

I am a shoe-aholic! My favorite designers are John Fluevog (I love their motto, “Life is too short to wear boring shoes”), United Nude and Charline DeLuca. I have never met an architectural heel I couldn’t make friends with.  I also love a over-the-knee boot in the fall/winter/early spring, no matter how in or out of fashion they are.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

Dress: Dona Sarkar (Roses are Black)/ Shoes: Fluevog

When we’re young, we have so many interests: space travel, dance, art, fashion, sports. But as we grow up, people beat this creativity out of us with lots of talk of being “practical”. Don’t let that happen. Stay creative. Stay a dreamer. Stay a multi-hyphenate. It will help you. Trust me on this one. People still tell me I can’t be an engineer, a fashion designer, a writer and a speaker at the same time. Why not? We live to be up to 120 years. The old “rules” of having one job do not apply! So I decided to add in fashion blogger to the mix instead of giving anything up. Having so many interests really helps me relate better to all kinds of people around the world, including customers of my technology and use my creativity in all aspects of my life.

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

I would probably say it’s becoming a published author. I wrote 4 manuscripts over 5 years with no book sales, so it was a very dejecting time. The day I received “the call” from my agent was one of the happiest days of my life.  Otherwise, it’s probably this fashion blog! It’s been insane collaborating with someone as technical, fun and smart as Beth Crane on this. I learn from her every day. The excitement and support I’ve gotten from literally every single person I’ve talked to about the blog has been unreal. It totally solidifies the need for something like this to exist.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

I’m pretty active on the following and love connecting with new people.

And I’m super reachable via email at DonaInParis@gmail.com

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