Almond, beige and pale blue dominate Megha Kanera’s newest collection of linen saris, each featuring prints of temple flowers like marigolds and rajnigandha . “The flowers are illustrated by hand and then digitally-printed onto the fabric,” says the Mumbai-based designer, who started her label Nadiya Paar in 2016, adding, “I was really struck by the beauty of these blooms on a visit to Dadar market, and wanted to create the effect of them floating on these translucent saris — a very breezy look.”
Interestingly, this is the slow-fashion brand’s first collection that features fully digital-printed work — right from the colour to the prints. Earlier, the label used natural dyes like madder, indigo and turmeric. This is also the first collection to feature flowers across the sari. “We used to do tuberose [ rajnigandha ] prints on our blouses — I think it’s a pattern that is often overlooked by designers,” shares the 39-year-old. “This time, we’ve experimented to create a more edgy look and urban appeal while keeping in mind the sustainability factor by using azo-free dyes.” She adds that the collection also includes crotcheted blouses made from organic cotton yarn, and that their clothing tags can be planted to grow into marigold and tulsi .
The mindful fashionista
A NIFT graduate, Kanera had a 12 year stint as an interior designer at the New Delhi-based firm, People of Yellow. Her portfolio included designing store windows for the likes of Roberto Cavalli, Diesel, Steve Madden and Ritu Kumar. But moving to Mumbai prompted a career switch. “I’ve always loved the handcrafted, the artisanal and the sustainable. Even personally, I choose eco-friendly products when I can,” she reveals.
Kanera decided to use the transitional phase to start something more aligned with her values. That is when the idea for Nadiya Paar took root. “The name signifies a new journey,” she says. From 15 looms last year, to 30 this year, she works with artisans from Phulia, Begusarai, Bhuj and Varanasi. She also follows a system of “adopting looms”, to provide the craftspeople with consistent income. “They work exclusively with us and we with them. This has helped us both learn from each other and build a relationship,” she says.
“Technology has shrunk the world,” says Kanera, explaining that even though she only visits the looms annually, “we are constantly in touch via smartphones”. Selling on social media (like Instagram) has given the brand a global platform.
The designer started her retail journey by exhibiting at trunk shows across the country and has only recently started retailing at luxe stores like Ogaan, Collage and Good Earth. “We are due at Numaish, a trunk show in Dubai in April, our first overseas. We are also looking at diversifying beyond saris, and creating a line of light, layered clothing for women, hopefully by June,” she concludes.
Shop Nadiya Paar’s Spring Summer collection at Collage, Greams Road, Chennai. Priced between ₹12,000 and ₹16,000.