Designer Anaka Narayanan debuts her brand Brass Tacks in the city

Young Anaka Narayanan’s designs, which she retails under the brand Brass Tacks, are a cut above the rest. The clothes, made of traditional fabrics, stand out for their clean lines and simples silhouettes and have a stylish, very cosmopolitan, appeal. The Chennai-based designer, who’s clothes are coveted by the hep and happening in the metros, is all set to debut the seven-year-old brand here in the city at an exhibition and sale on March 1 and 2.

The highlight of her designs are the cuts “made specifically to suit Indian silhouettes” – read narrow shoulders, full busts, narrow waists, and big hips. The cuts are all based on a standard measurement chart that Anaka herself developed after fittings with over a 100 women of various sizes, in the age group of 18 to 42.

“When I first explored the possibility of setting up brand, I found that the so-called standard cuts were rarely right for Indian silhouettes nor were they figure flattering,” explains Anaka. “When I went shopping I longed for well-cut clothes and often wondered why there was no middle line to the standard cuts. That’s why I set about creating a size chart for my own,” she adds.

In keeping with the spirit of things, the theme of the collection that she will be showcasing is ‘simple silhouettes, complex textile crafts’. Take one of her signature pieces, the hand-woven cotton shirt-tunic, for example. It has shibori stitches all over the fabric. “The silhouette is shapely, but simple, which allows the complexity of the textile craft behind the fabric to stand out,” says Anaka.

So are the fitted stretch pants with Ajrakh prints that has the structure of denim but is as lightweight as wearing khadi. “For the sale I will be showcasing dresses, tunics, tops, pants and trousers, in a variety of sizes. The textiles are all natural and almost all of them are hand-crafted,” says Anaka.

An economics graduate with an eye for fashion, the youngster says that her aesthetic sense was honed by her mother’s extensive collection of hand-woven saris. “I grew up surrounded by all sorts of traditional textiles and embroideries that my mother used in her sari business. I learnt economics because I wanted to work in rural development in India. I lived and worked in New York for a couple of years before deciding to settle down in Chennai and explore my interest in fashion. I started Brass Tacks in 2007 in my parent’s sitting room with just a pattern maker and a tailor,” she says.

Incidentally, the brand gets its name from the expression ‘getting down to the brass tacks’, which means getting down to basics.

“With Brass Tacks I want to get down to the basics of the garment – the fabric, the cut, and the tailoring quality,” says Anaka.

Brass Tacks’ sale is at Sarwaa, SRL A-47, Sankar Road, Sasthamangalam, from 10. 30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Contact: 3022220. For more information: www.brasstacksmadras.com