Up next in our exclusive series of interviews with the most promising designers from Fashion Crossover London is the contemporary Indian brand A by Anubha. Anubha Srivastav grew up in the sense-enticing and mosaic of multiculturality, India, before she started working for Donna Karren and soon after moved to San Francisco where she launched her own brand. A by Anubha challenges both the notion of sustainability and gender-roles with a unique collection of coats that pay a tribute to the rich history of India spanning over thousands of years.
Tell us a bit about yourself, you started your fashion career out at University and then went to intern with brand with the likes of Donna Karren, what sparked your interest in fashion? ;
I’ve always been a creative kid, since school, and fashion was one of the things that intrigued me. I can’t go back now, and pinpoint what exactly made me go into fashion, but I cannot imagine my life without it. When showing an interest in fashion, people always assume you like dressing up, but that wasn’t me, I was a tomboy, I was just very interested in how things become trends, and the history and the make of it, the cut and the trend. I was really excited when I started working for Donna Karren, just to be in a room where there are so many creative people. It was the future of fashion and that really excited me. I never actually thought that years later, I would be running my own fashion company (laughs).
"I never actually thought that years later, I would be running my own fashion company"
You’re quite the entrepreneurial woman, founding your own sustainble fashion label, A by Anubha, how has this journey been?
I wanted to be a designer, and explore new silhouettes, that’s the part I really enjoy. But when you’re running a business, that only adds up to 10% of what you actually end up doing. It was my dad who insisted I should start my own company, and looking back I’m very grateful he did, my family has always been there, supporting me. It started with a small pop-up in India in 2012, one year later I moved to San Francisco and applied for San Francisco Fashion Week, and in 2015 I started running my business full-time, until now.
What sets your label aside from the rest, is the urge to celebrate one of India's finest fabrics: khadi. What is this exactly, and why is it so special?
During the pre-independence era in India Ghandi started a revolutionary movement of weaving khadi fabric. By creating our own resources India could be economically independent while simultaneously creating job opportunities for the locals. That fascinated me, it's such a strong movement, and one that required a high level of craftsmanship. Both the history as well as the fabric itself are beautiful, I was keen to incorporate this fabric as it has just not been given enough credit.
"Both the history as well as the fabric itself are beautiful, I was keen to incorporate this fabric as it has just not been given enough credit"
Sustainability has become a must within the fashion industry, this is a subject you feel strongly about as you strive to create eco-friendly designs, how does this manifest itself throughout your collection?
Everyday we are reminded that our planet is in danger, due to consequences of human behaviour. We can't just keep shopping for the sheer purpose of being more fashionable or collecting more clothes. I believe it's my job to stop creating a demand for products that harm our planet, that's why my designs are made from hand-loomed fabric and are naturally dyed. It's a cycle and a long but necessary process, but we need to start taking initiative.
"I believe it's my job to stop creating a demand for products that harm our planet, that's why my designs are made from the handloomed khadi fabric and are naturally dyed."
Your latest collection is inspired by the traditional Indian Bandha-Gala or Mandarin Collar, what attracted you to this piece of clothing?
Traditional Indian clothing focuses on handwork and embroidery, but I have always been drawn to the craftsmanship of tailoring. When I was researching the history of khadi, I came across the first prime-minister of the newly independent India, he was wearing the Bandha-Gala, with the distinctive Mandarin Collar. It's a well-structured garment, predominantly worn by men, the feminist in me said why can't women wear this? I decided to combine the design of the Bandha-Gala jacket with the khadi fabric to create a coat that is equally strong, meticulously tailored as well as sustainable.
You’ve had your collection shown during San Francisco Fashion Week, how was this experience for you?
It gave me the confidence I needed to start my company, not only was I showing my designs I was also introducing it to a new country, it being so widely appreciated really helped me and boosted my moral. Through these shows, I’ve met so many wonderful people who helped and seen me grow. It gave me the confidence I needed to keep going for my dreams.
"It gave me the confidence I needed to keep going for my dreams."
After working both in Asia and the States, you are ready to take over Europe as a Fashion Crossover London designer. Why did you choose us and how has your experience been?
I have always thought that the European market is more fashionable and forward-thinking. When I looked at the Fashion Crossover London website, I saw that it showcased the work of different designers from all over the world, it provides such a beautiful platform to communicate your brand narrative. The team has been super nice, and extremely on point, always available and telling us what is happening next. They keep us in the loop, and tell us what is going to happen next. It’s been amazing and it feels like I’ve been here for a while. I’m very excited and want love to visit, some time soon.
What other plans are on the horizon for A by Anubha?
The next six months are pretty laid out, we're starting off April with the launch of our summer collection. I am excited to start selling internationally through Fashion Crossover London, and have my coats all over the world bringing a piece of India's history into people's lives while championing sustainability. Shop A by Anubha