A place that was once a quiet, mesmerizing tranquil city with Tolly (The Very Famous Tollygunge Club as we know it) at its heart and pride, now an industrial hub, happens to have given birth to some of the most indigenous talented designers of the country. Emerging from the land of Durga, and Kaali Ghat, Kolkata has immense power in its name and finds its strength in the women of the city. Who are subtly bold in a mesmerizing sort of way.
In a Feministaa exclusive Anamika Khanna talks to us about her work, her label and much more.
Known as India’s most elite designer, Anamika Khanna is a diva who comes across as one of the most composed woman achievers that you can find behind the chaos of being a well-established name (designer, celebrity and a synonym to modern couture).
A doting mother, that she is, she sat for the interview with us on the day of departure of her beloved sons, when they were leaving for their higher studies.
Her loyalty and passion towards her work reflect in the outfit that hangs at the entrance of her store. Which she says, “There are some friends you have, who criticize you, thoroughly in a manner that does you so much good.”
“Where I am today is not only because of me, it is because of a lot of well wishers and friends who have given undaunted support and encouragement.”
She looks back in time with pretty & big nostalgic eyes, and remembers when one of her very close friends, himself being one of the best designers in the country during that time, was arranging the chairs at the Paris Fashion Week, and telling her what to do and what not to, for her very first international show.
As famous as she is, she is as grounded and humble as a person, with her cultural values intact, reflecting in her designs. However, there is a lot more to her. Anamika is not only a talented designer, but a woman with tremendous business acumen, clearly handling the multiple outlets all over the country, in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and internationally has a great presence in London and California.
Having designed for the most fashionable women in the country, she says that staying in Kolkata she’s very happy being away from all the chaos and never-ending the competitive race that kills creativity.
“I look so calm, I take my own time, and people come up and tell me oh she’s this pretty doll. People think I am that babe who never has to lift a finger, come and see me in the day I work like labor.”
Come and see me work in my workshop and you’ll know how hard I work.”
The Soul Of Kolkata
“Kolkata is a city of love and culture. My inspirations come from here, from the things I see around here, the craftsmen, the calm, the warmth of the people and I would never want to move from here.”
An epitome of perseverance, and strength, Anamika has worked hard in one of the most competitive industries in India for a good 20 years but surprisingly what she thinks is, “It’s been more than 20 years and I still don’t know if I have found my voice.”
To all the aspiring designers she suggests, “ To find your voice you have to be at it, be at it and be at it with all the passion, it will not come in a day but when it will come it will be your voice to the rest
Anamika: Pret & Couture
A multi-tasker with ease, as a doting mother, an excellent designer, a true philanthropist but what makes her stand out is her love for her Indian roots and culture, and a passion for keeping up with with the way women are dressing today. And the same aesthetics reflect in her designs. The very first designer to bring in the cape and dhoti couture, Anamika is one of those designers who are trying to dress the modern Indian woman in a modern way, yet keeping her traditionally attractive & grounded at the same time.
Through her designs and creativity, she has been a pioneer in revamping and modernizing the Indian wear and brought it fame internationally.
Her work reflects character, originality and beauty at its best and unique manner.
Not only for all the aspiring designers but for women who wish to live their dream, she is an idol to follow, a dream mentor to learn from, a true achiever at her work and the humblest soul to interact with.