Summer High

“Weightlessness” is Anaka Narayanan’s buzzword this season. The designer talks about exploring a wider market and why textile crafts matter to her

Who said eco-friendly fashion is boring? City-based Anaka Narayanan of Brass Tacks believes in ‘rearticulating’ traditional Indian textiles and giving them an effortless chic that appeals to today’s upwardly-mobile, environment-sensitive women.

“I’d like my textiles to do the talking,” says the young designer, who works with weavers on issues relating to quality and sustainability. “It’s been a two-year journey with Brass Tacks, and now, I’m looking at innovations in hand-woven fabrics and natural dyes.”

“Weightlessness”, her new line, is an experiment in practical fashion with little fuss for summer. “The accent is on light fabrics that make you feel cool and comfortable. I’ve tried to spruce up thin cottons with fresh colours and cuts. Pin-tucks, pleating and unfinished hems add interest to the garments,” she says, at her store on C. P. Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet.

Seemingly simple skirts, shirts, tops and dresses actually come with a lot of detailing. For instance, an extended inner lining for a plain pink skirt makes it flap in the breeze. Pleats radiating from the neck add an interesting touch to a top. And another one sports a dash of whimsy with airy, pastry layers.

The designer, who was invited by Daram (The Dastkar Andhra store in Hyderabad) to launch her line there, speaks with rare passion about textile crafts. “India has a rich repertoire of textiles. Through Brass Tacks, I hope to re-invent the way hand-woven fabrics are presented and possibly change the way people perceive our textile crafts. The thing about traditional cotton textiles is the comfort quotient. And who said they are not stylish? There is a misconception that cotton and khadi are frumpy and dowdy. If the material is well-cut and styled, I see no better alternative. By adding tactile interest with colour and construction, I’m sure tradition can be given a modern edge,” adds the designer, displaying a wispy “Tissue Dress” made of hand woven kota!

After making a foray into Hyderabad last week, Anaka is looking at other metros. “The more we create a demand for these clothes, the better we can serve the weavers and artisans who are adept at traditional dyeing techniques. Initially, the weavers were a bit reluctant to make the changes I suggested. Now, they understand there is a market for textile crafts — if well-packaged. So they are open to changes in design elements. Besides other metros, I’m looking at showing my clothes at stores abroad.”

That’s not all. Anaka is also focussing on the “Learning Centre” on her website ( > “It’s dedicated to information on textiles and their origins. Just trying to do my bit to create awareness,” she says.


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