Style is a completely subjective term. While some might like the clean cuts and great fitting of contemporary western wear, others prefer the fluidity and earthiness of desi fabrics. But what if we could have stylish fits and great tailoring in Indian fabrics? It is like getting best of both the worlds, isn’t it? Brass Tacks was started in 2007 by Anaka Narayanan as a result of her own longing for well-cut clothes made from natural and handwoven fabrics.

“I moved back from New York, where I was working in an economic analysis firm, to start Brass Tacks in 2007. I felt there was a void in the market for well-designed, well-made clothes tailored from natural and hand crafted textiles. In a way, Brass Tacks was my response to all blingy things that saturated the market at that point in time. The name of the brand is directly taken from the popular expression, getting down to brass tacks. It means getting down to basics. I felt it was perfect for the label because all I wanted to do was create clothes with a great foundation: high quality textiles, a great cut and excellent tailoring quality,” says Anaka.

The brand offers tops and shirts, skirts, dresses, pants, jackets and tunics for the contemporary women. “I like the idea of having a straightforward silhouette with hidden design details or what I like to call pattern-making tricks (the manipulation of a dart or playing with the geometry of the pattern in some way),” explains Anaka.

Not having a formal education in fashion design led Anaka to question the standard size chart available in pattern making books (she herself found that her bust, waist and hip did not fit into one size category). “We created a size chart that’s more relevant to the urban Indian context, based on fittings with women of various sizes,” informs Anaka.

Anaka works with a team of tailors, pattern makers and cutters to produce three collections a year that are retailed at the brand’s stores in Chennai and Bangalore, and online. Talking about sourcing the fabrics she says, “We work closely with craftsmen and clusters for our fabrics. For our new Summer 2017, we worked with Chitrika, Malkha, DAMA (Dastkar Andhra Marketing Association) and Microspin. Typically, different regions are known for specific textile crafts, so depending on the craft we might work with artisans in Jaipur or Bengal or any other part of the country.”

Over the last decade there has been a revival of indigenous textiles and many forgotten traditional styles are making a comeback. “It has been in offing for a while and has made the fashion and textile environment incredibly exciting. There has never been a more thrilling time to be in the fashion segment in India,” she concludes.

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