By Hand From The Heart is a Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 , Jenney Residency, Coimbatore. 23rd Edition: February '18 in Chennai.
We chat up with Director and Creative Head of BRASS TACKS, Anaka Narayanan about her showcase at the By Hand From The Heart Makers Market this October. She shares with us her views about her city, Chennai, her new store in Bangalore and lots more.
A bit about yourself and BRASS TACKS.
I don’t have a background in fashion or textiles, but I’ve grown up surrounded by hand-crafted textiles. I started Brass Tacks because I was looking for well-made, well-tailored clothes made from natural and hand-crafted textiles and I couldn’t seem to find them anywhere. I believed that there was a void in the market for fashion-forward silhouettes tailored from high-quality Indian textiles and since I couldn’t find them, I decided to make them!
How do you define the BRASS TACKS aesthetics and consumer?
My personal style is very simple, and I wanted to make wardrobe basics but do them really well. The label has evolved since then to becoming more focused on the diverse ways we can express modernity and what it means to the urban Indian women through the work that we do. Our silhouettes are clean and simple, with an appreciation for the diversity of hand-crafted textiles and an eye for tailoring details. Our consumers are women who are strong-willed, independent, confident and ambitious and they have a lot of worldly exposure through travel, books and films.
Creating a new collection at BRASS TACKS. What’s involved?
Searching for inspiration is a tough one to explain, but once something strikes me, we go about creating a visual mood board and my design team and I discuss what fabrics and patterns work best for what we wish to express. We also design silhouettes that are relatively easy to wear, but nonetheless flatter the wearer and compliment her confidence. After that, there’s a flurry of activity as we orders the textiles and simultaneously work with our pattern maker and tailors to bring all our sketches to life.
What are you bringing to By Hand, From The Heart.
We’re bringing our banjara embroidery-inspired collection. Our inspiration was the textures and threadwork found in Banjara embroidery and based on that we designed textiles that either have prints(inspired by the shapes and textures of Banjara embroidery) or accents of embroidery. Some silhouettes have both print and embroidery! The silhouettes themselves range from wardrobe staples (like well-cut shirts and pants with tiny embroidered accents) to experimental silhouettes like jumpsuits and dhoti dungarees.
Describe your typical day at BRASS TACKS, like.
I usually spend a few hours in the morning working by myself, on planning events for the following week/month, writing work, or designing. I head to my workshop in the late morning and the rest of the day flies by in coordination, chatting with my design and pattern-maker, troubleshooting, and catching up on emails! I also shuttle back and forth between Chennai and Bangalore, where we’ve recently opened a store in Indiranagar.
What is your favorite BRASS TACKS. pick right now? And why?
Hmm.. can I pick 3? I love the Dhoti Dungarees and the Sleeved Jumpsuit because they are wild and adventurous in a laid-back, understated way. I’m also a fan of the Boxy Crop Top silhouette because it’s easy but also fashion-forward.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten along the way in building your business?
The ones that stand out are: stand for something and don’t ever stop believing in yourself, and care about the details, but don’t get too emotionally attached to every detail.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your business?
Everyone knows that running a business is hard work, but no one ever realizes (until you get into it) how isolating it can be. As a creative person, it’s important to keep meeting people and collaborating with them or at least bouncing ideas off them. In the last few years I’ve taken an effort to make more time to cultivate mentors and a peer group so that I create what colleagues and bosses might do for someone at a larger organization.
Chennai. Your connect with this city and; the city’s fashion quotient.
What I’ve always loved about Chennai is that women here will wear what they want to wear, regardless of what fashion magazines say and what trends are in vogue. They are strong-headed and open to experimentation. That said, sometimes there’s a lot of importance to not standing out too much, which goes against the very grain of fashion labels that are trying to make a statement.
At the Makers Market exhibition in Chennai this October, meet the BRASS TACKS!
By Hand From The Heart: MAKERS MARKET – Festival Special – 19th Edition
Date: Friday – Saturday, 7th – 8th October, 2016
Time: 10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m
Venue: Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
Address: 132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, Tamil Nadu. India