The global pandemic has made all businesses rethink their strategy including fashion houses. What once heavily depended on four seasonal trends and fashion weeks driven consumerism has now been replaced by mindful creation and consumption. Heeding to the changes in environment and wanting to be a part of the change makers, Ahmedabad based menswear label Anurav has announced its shift towards sustainability with their latest launch of womens wear collection. Helmed by Anuradha Bhatele, Anurav is a sustainable designer label for young women and men representing modern sartorial choices and rich traditions of intricate craftsmanship blended together with sustainability at its core.
Having worked and gained experience for a decade with the best of designers like Nivedita Saboo, Shantanu & Nikhil and Raghavendra Rathore, Anuradha started her own label Anurav in 2018 to address the need for luxury menswear options in the city. She has been retailing the luxury brand through Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop currently.
In an exclusive interview with Ciceroni, Anuradha shares her vision for the label, its shift towards sustainability and what keeps her going.
Ciceroni – Having worked in mainstream menswear fashion for almost 12 years, what pushed you to embrace sustainable fashion?
Anuradha – What moved me was the view of nature restoring back during the lockdowns – whether it is flamingoes in Mumbai, or the clear view of Himalayas away 200 km in the plains, or the clear skies and reducing pollutions in all our cities. We are just destroying the environment with our excessive activity and encroachment.
I can see why there is a global shift towards sustainability in fashion and can totally relate to it. You see microfibers entering the food chain, polluting oceans. Textile industry is one of the largest carbon contributors and requires massive amounts of fresh water. In a country like India, where we can’t provide safe drinking water to millions of people, this is simply cruel.
We all need to start somewhere, and I decided that I will go fully sustainable for everything related to my brand. Right from choosing the fabrics, to using natural dyes and materials, I would want my brand to spread the message of minimalism, eco-friendly and lasting products.
Our launch of women’s wear segment is a double whammy, entry in women’s category and adopting sustainability as core ethos.
Ciceroni – Tell us more about your latest women’s wear line
Anuradha – I love to experiment with geometry and natural objects. Vintage style and intricate handwork form an integral part of my design vocabulary. It is but natural that these influences of my design body are reflected in my collections. Our contemporary collection for women includes dresses, jumpsuits, trousers, shirts and tops for both casual and festive occasions. Made of organic cotton and linen, I have used intricate aari and zaardosi handwork to add to the visual appeal fusing the contemporary with just a touch of tradition. There has been use of natural dyed block printing also. This collection is perfect for the modern women who wants her clothes to be ethical and stylish at the same time. We don’t compromise on cuts and structures.
Ciceroni – What led you to shift from being menswear exclusive designer to now embracing womens fashion too?
Anuradha – Having graduated from School of Fashion Technology in Pune, I started my career with Nivedita Saboo, a renowned couturier, in Pune as their menswear designer. Initially it was the vacancy that pulled me in but later I started enjoying designing for menswear. My keen interest in menswear category later led me to work with Raghavendra Rathore and Shantanu & Nikhil, two of the most prestigious designers in Delhi. The learning curve with these veterans had only been upwards with each one mentoring me to learn the nuances in detailing. When I finally shifted to Ahmedabad after my marriage, I decided to start my own label in 2018 and the natural bent was menswear. Anurav, thus, was founded with the idea to cater to luxury menswear segment. The men’s collection includes designer kurtas, shirts and jackets.
However, when women visited my workshop, they would always demand for women’s wear and would get disappointed at the lack of product offering. This pandemic forced me to rethink the brand strategy and thus came the conscious shift to embrace women’s wear with sustainability at its core.
Ciceroni – Most designers are also offering masks. How about Anurav?
Anuradha – Indeed yes, we felt it is the need of the hour to create masks but in a sustainable fashion. We have developed designer masks with intricate hand embroidery and a layer of protection in the middle. The Kawach protection layer, developed by the IIT Delhi startup Etex, is also biodegradable, unlike N95 masks available in the market. We use only globally recognized sustainable fabrics and materials for our creations which we believe are nothing less than timeless pieces of art – reflecting our belief “buy less, choose well, make it last”
With more designers shifting towards sustainable practices and timeless styles, it looks like a promising world out there.
You can check the label here – www.anurav.in