Tell us about this collection. What’s the inspiration behind it and what new will we find in it?
This spring summer 2018 collection is called Inbetween and we’ve incorporated old techniques like jamdani and cross stitch. The garments have soft silhouettes. While cross stitch is new for us, jamdani is something we’ve done before… but this time we’ve used it as all floral motifs. The collection is mostly white and goes into soft pastels. We also have ombré blouses, which are also with cross stitch motifs.
Have you tried anything new in Inbetween? Or have you maintained your signature style?
Mostly, this is very close to what we originally do with our line. The line is soft, has a pastel palette… it is what people have known us for.
You usually emphasise on texture. Is that a constant in this collection as well?
Yes, we’ve definitely done that this time too. Apart from that, on our undyed and linen woven saris, we’ve used the jamdani technique a lot. We’ve also used thick cotton with khadi, to give it the ribbed effect.
Tell us about the launch of your handmade toys collection ‘Busa and Friends’. That seems like a first for an Indian designer. How did that come about?
We introduced the sari doll, which was a very conscious decision. I was looking for toys for my niece and saw the kind of dolls that were available in the market. It got me going back to my roots because back in the days, we used to play with handmade dolls. That’s when I decided I wanted to create the same, and we did it two years ago. It was a natural progression from there. Our artisans got used to making dolls, stuffing it and using the fabrics in a particular way. We decided to take it a step forward and introduce the handmade toys.
Were these clothes designed specially for them?
Yes. By the way, they’re all wearing the spring summer 2018 collection.
You are one to advocate sustainable fashion and minimal waste. Was that a conscious effort? Also, what are the steps you take to achieve the same?
It is the way we’ve been working since the beginning, so it’s not something we make efforts for. We try to sustain the weavers who we work with. Our team ensures to work with the same weavers every time so as to try and get enough employment for the people who’ve been working with us from the beginning. Also, we’re very conscious of when we increase anything or start working with a new cluster. It is to know if we will be able to sustain this particular cluster or the many new artisans, who we are trying to include in our family, we always look into it twice before committing.
In an interview, you once said that you were your first customer. Who is the Anavila muse now?
I feel, the customer who’s here right now (at this event) is my muse now. They inspire me all the time. Every customer, people who want to wear saris and are excited about it… so I don’t think I can name just one person.
This interview, conducted by Eesha Kaul, has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.