Interviews

“I am loved by the French, but I love India more,” Anjana Misra

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“I am loved by the French, but I love India more,” Anjana Misra

They say when one door shuts, several others open. This holds true for Fashion Designer Anjana Misra. Her story is an inspirational one. Married at a young age, she pursed her dreams after getting kids. While the Indian jury rejected her designs for fashion shows, she was not only welcomed by the Tiffany’s Paris Fashion Week, but also won it! Her graceful, elegant and ingenious creations speak for themselves. Here, the designer shares her fascinating journey and gives us some great fashion tips too!

-Prajna Rao

Could you tell us a little bit about your fashion journey?

I started my career very late, as I got married at a very young age. I pursued a course in Fashion Designing and Management from Senorita College of Fashion Designing, Delhi in 1999. After completing my course, I gathered as much experience I could from working at export houses and started my own business in 2003 with my business partner Rakesh Sharma.

I worked for various renowned European labels as a freelance designer and merchandiser. As there wasn’t any acknowledgement for me in this line, I started my own label in 2014 in partnership with Rakesh Sharma.

What ignited your path as a Fashion Designer?

I have always been inclined towards creativity and innovation. I think I was 21, when we were posted to Kerela because my husband was in the Air Force. He did not want our kid’s education to suffer as the job demands a lot of travel. So he travelled to different cities and I along with my children settled down in Kerela for five years.

I had very little work at home. I started this as a hobby, making dresses for my little girls. I used to read magazines where I came to know about this Fashion Designing course in Delhi. I always was passionate about designing. I applied for this course through 1 year correspondence from Kerela and when we moved to Delhi in 2000, I completed my course on regular program and started working.

I was happy to pursue my passion. I remember, I was just 17 when I got married, it was challenging for me to step up in a country like India back in 90s to discover and pursue my dreams. I feel lucky.

You have an illustrious work experience, having worked with European Labels. What are the invaluable things you have learnt from them?2

I believe in experiences, I have come a long way and hear me out, it was and still is a very rough road. It’s just how I like it, because that’s where we learn. We tend to learn only when we are pushed. European labels being very disciplined, organized and specific, taught me the details of the work of art. Be it facing rejections during inspections to never repeating it again, facing losses to business issues to celebrating success.

While I was working with them, Europe considered India as a major manufacturing hub. Today, the Chinese are winning the race, but I believe with the coming “Make in India” rise, we are going to be biggest suppliers to Europe once again. I got an understanding of various kinds of fashion styles and kept getting better with my skills every year. It has been quite a journey. If I had to enlist key invaluable things, in terms of technical learning, it includes pattern making, digital printing and draping.

You won the Tiffany’s Paris Fashion Week Season 4. How was the experience?

It was a great experience as I presented my collection for the first time in a fashion show. I started my label in Oct 2014. I sent my lookbook to various Indian Fashion Weeks but maybe my designs did not meet their requirements.

I came across Tiffany’s Fashion Week Paris and was a bit unsure if I should send my lookbook. For I thought, if the Indian Juries did not like my designs, then why would I be selected in Paris! But I still gave it a try because I had nothing to lose. The next morning, I got a lovely reply from Tiffany Mccall, Owner of Tiffany’s Fashion Week Paris. She absolutely loved the designs and invited me to her fashion week!

I was startled throughout the time from being selected for the fashion week to winning the competition. It was an incredible experience and I got a splendid response from the people who attended the show. Some of them want me to design their gowns for the Cannes Festival. It’s a big thing to present your collection for the first time, that too in one of the biggest fashion hubs in world and also win a competition. So it was a great achievement for me.

What do you feel set you apart from the rest?

 My designs were unique and they reflected Indian craftsmanship with a western blend. People got to see something different and they loved it. There is a lot of hand embroidery, a mix of elegance and class with a romantic blend of colours. They are delicate in nature and yet very bold looks to carry off.

What are the differences that you find in European fashion sensibilities and Indian fashion sensibilities?

How would you describe your fashion aesthetics?

Indian fashion is more traditional, all about embroideries, embellishments, bright, vibrant and royal!

European is a beautiful mix of elegance and simplicity, confident, bold yet mild, it’s a soft style that brings out a soothing look to one.

But hey, I feel that’s just one way to look from my perspective!.

I represent a collision, of the two sensibilities. I see my garments being a perfect fit for every nationality, beyond boundaries or shapes and sizes. Anjana Misra designs would make you feel strong, beautiful and confident! They maintain a perfect balance between bold and simple. Key aesthetic elements to Anjana Misra designs would be the embellishments and patterns. Both are extremely unique, inspired from French and Indian culture. You just need one reason to wear us, and make us wear you!

What is next on your agenda?

I am loved by the French, but I love India more. I wish to take my ideas, style and embellishments to every individual of India and make my dresses look more beautiful on their bodies. I am seeking support, I wish to be welcomed by the fashion industry in India, be a part of more and more shows and expand my distribution channel. I want to make you fall in love with me, India.

It can be difficult to enter in Indian fashion Industry, but I’d say I love the challenge, the tension, and I am ready. So if I get a chance, I would definitely like to participate in Couture Fashion Weeks and design for Indian beauties.

Beauty Facial Globes

Beauty Facial Globes

Your collection displays some beautiful flowy and feminine ensembles. In line with the same, what styling tips would you give for the below body types:

Straight

Opt for structured shoulders, boat necks and dresses with belts or fully structured gowns. Let the bottoms add curves to the lower half. Umbrella skirts with wide waistband, embellished pockets or details around the hip area are other great options for this body type.

Pear

Wear tops with bright colours and prints and pair with a jacket/stole/tank tops/cardigans. Embellished tops look great. Go for sleek sleeves and avoid adding volume to your arms. Stick to dark colours for bottom. Gowns with detailed work around bust work well too.

 Spoon

Pick off shoulders, boat-neck, wide V or U necks and go for embellishments around the bust. Wear short skirts with wide waist band to camouflage tummy fat or straight leg pants.

Hourglass

Can carry off almost everything! Enhance your curves and slim waist by wrap style tops, form fitting tops, tailored shirts and jackets. High waist pants, pencil skirts, skinny jeans, boot cut or straight leg pants work well too. You can also try custom fitted gowns, definitely go for fits around the lower half curves. Opt for embellished elegant or classy sleek gowns.

 Diamond

Take to structured shoulders, princess or flutter sleeves, wide V or U necks. Embellishment should be around bust and neck. Lightly gathered or A Line skirts, pants and skirts that fall straight from the widest part of your hips are other options.

Oval

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Enjoy wearing short dresses with belted waists, wide V, U neck, wrap styles and flares at hip. Adorn flared or bubble skirts, pants with full or wide legs as well as structured gowns to enhance curves.

Inverted Triangle

Go for cuts that enhance bottom curves like umbrella skirts, flowy gowns and structured bottom half. Opt for bold colours and prints for bottom and pair them with eye catching footwear. Wear darker shades on top. Avoid printed and bold colours on top.

Fashion Editor with LSF Magazine

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