Fashion forward Chennaiites have been rewarded with a month packed with
sartorial activities after a sweltering May. From label launches, store openings to new resort collections here’s a round-up of the best that June had to offer…
EAST MEETS WEST
Highly regarded for her work with hand-woven textiles, designer Anaka Narayanan explored the fecund region along the river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh for her latest collection. Called ‘The Textures of East Godavari’, Anaka and her team at Brass Tacks worked with soft, textured khadi and cotton to create a lovely collection of dresses, tunics, trousers and tops for women. In an earthy palette of kora, mustard, rust and indigo, Anaka tells us “The area by the banks of the Vamsadhara River (Srikakulam) is known for their history of hand-picked, hand-spun cotton. In keeping with our ethos of creating clothes with clean lines from hand-crafted textiles, these fabrics keep traditional textile-making skills alive.” Over the last decade since her label’s inception Anaka has introduced a new generation of urban Indians to fabrics from across India including Gujarati bandhani and mashru, Rajasthani dabu printing and more. We discuss the evolution of style in Chennai with Anaka “While I have always preferred natural fabrics, it’s now so different from when I started in 2007. It’s fascinating to see how sustainability has become an important part of the fashion language. I love that everyone is trying to work with local textiles and hope it lasts.”
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Upcoming designer Ashwin Thiyagarajan launched his flagship store in south Chennai last week. A self-taught designer Ashwin confesses that he caved in to family pressure and finished an engineering degree before pursuing his dream. The twenty-something tells us “While I love to do casual wear for men and women, wedding-wear and evening wear occupy most sheets on my order book. Brides and grooms make my primary audience. For womens ethnic wear, my go to fabric is raw silk or banarsi silk. There is a certain richness these fabrics bring to the outfit. I do use net for my skirts frequently for my twirly brides who want to transform themselves into princesses for D-Day. For Western wear there are only two fabrics I use predominantly. Chiffon and silk satin. Long flowy chiffon gowns are trademark of my design style. For mens suiting, I use polywool, wool and some rich blends that I get imported from Italy and Australia.” We are also intrigued by the quirky interiors of his new boutique.
The force behind one of Chennai’s favourite boutiques, Tija Indarjith launched their in-house label ‘Fiori’ last week. Inspired by the sights and scenes of Italy, the talented young team behind the ethical collection urge shoppers to ‘look beyond the label’. She tells us “We know that there’s no better reflection of our true selves than the way we interact with our environment, which is why we insist on at least 90% of our fabrics being made from non-genetically modified crops while using lean manufacturing methods to reduce wastage of water, and energy.” Expect an exuberant collection in a palette of bright colours and floral prints which are perfect for the summer. We also loved the delicate hand embroidery on the dresses, tops and jumpsuits. “All of the fabrics are locally sourced.” adds Tija. “We want to make classic pieces for women that will be cherished and last in their wardrobe.”