Indi Collage an exhibition space for designers is making conversations around colourful dialogues focusing on the products, story, art and brand of apparel a reality.
Anuradha, CEO & Co-founder of Indi Collage has been an exhibitor herself traveling across the country to engage with her customers. As a designer she faced several challenges in displaying her clothes especially at exhibitions and this was one of the main reasons that she decided to set up Indi Collage as a space that would be a seamless experience for the exhibitors. As the curator for Indi Collage, Anuradha hopes to promote the work of some of the best artisans and designers from across the country. Deploying innovative concepts like fractional retailing Indi College helps brands expand into new markets. Over 100 designers have used the space to showcase their products. Indie Collage aims to empower artisans and encourage a culture of impeccable craftsmanship and works with brands which build a rendezvous of art and social force – sustainability and Zero Waste Projects. Anuradha also has her own brand Samprada of which she is the founder and the design director. A textile designer and fashion stylist she has a special focus on handloom weaves and traditional textile craft. She tells us more in this exclusive conversation.
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START SAMPRADA?
Samprada was established in 2010 after I completed my formal training in designing. While I was actively involved in teaching, curriculum planning and conducting annual fashion shows at various institutes, I felt the urge to come with a brand like Samprada. The vision of Samprada is to delight its customers with a thoughtfully curated collection of women’s wear tailored from traditional weaves and hand block printed artisanal textile in natural dyes. A brand that truly believes that fabrics are not just textiles but a living art form. Garments that are not just for fashion, but ‘styles’ that bring the class in you. Samprada is all about clothes that are trendy, comfortable and stylish and define today’s modern woman. Our focus on the cuts and fits of our garments and our finishing makes par with the highest standards in the industry. We are loved for our feminine and comfort cuts in all sizes.
WHAT IS THE USP OF THE CLOTHES AT SAMPRADA? WHAT KIND OF CLOTHES DO YOU MAKE?
Samprada started with the idea of making great functional pieces of women’s clothing using beautiful, traditional Indian fabrics. We make pieces you can feel good about buying and wearing. It is an effort to nurture the sustainable ethic that upholds India’s rich textile heritage and promotes a healthy relationship with your closet and the environment. The idea was to design and make good pieces of clothing that you can feel good about owning and wearing regularly. Ours is a back to the basics and a Triple Bottom Line approach which stands for the three P’s of ethical business – People, Profit and Planet. focus is on creating well-tailored clothing with solid silhouettes. Each is a piece you can have for the keeps with timeless design and fabric versatility, no matter the trend.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK WITH HANDLOOM WEAVES AND TRADITIONAL TEXTILE CRAFT?
We have consciously chosen to work with small, family-run textile manufacturing units from the Chippa community. This means that we regularly travel to Rajasthan for sourcing fabric. For us these creations the ‘Living art forms’ and each carries a unique expression and essence of the place and the producer which is very important to the brand.
HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY INTO YOUR CLOTHES?
We work with textiles which are traditionally handcrafted by weaver or printer communities. The processes are complex and require greater man force thus contributing to the holistic economic empowerment of the community as a whole by creating job opportunities within a sustainable framework. The idea is to build a vision for a circular economy where equality and equity in distribution of resources seem to meet, by reaching out to leaders who share the same vision with us and help us drive a social change. At our end we try to provide ethically sourced raw materials which lies in tandem with the environment thus lowering the carbon footprint. We also provide suitable technology integration to ease their work processes in alignment with the market requirements of the end customers.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Indigenous crafts, motives and spectrum of cultures fill me with inspiration to juxtapose two elements and create a unique timeless design. Beautiful women working hard in the remote villages to the women wearing the end products delivered by this textile industry keeps motivating me to do more to the ecosystem and improvise my potential. The rich cultural heritage & the potential it has to support vast communities of people inspires me.
HOW FREQUENTLY DO YOU BRING OUT NEW COLLECTIONS?
We do a collection every 45 days throughout the year.
WHY DID YOU START INDI COLLAGE?
Indi collage started due to my own pain points and challenges I faced in my journey with Samprada in the current market down turns. I realized there were a large number of budding designers facing the same challenges of targeted visibility and reach. Hence the concept of Indi collage as a fractional retail space was conceptualized. Indi Collage is a platform for fractional retail. We help Craft and Design brands expand into new markets and grow their customer base without the overheads of expensive retail spaces.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE APPAREL EXHIBITORS WHO CAN SHOWCASE AT INDI COLLAGE?
We check their social footprints, the kind of work they are doing, we ask them to show physical samples of the product and since we hail come from the same space, we know many of them personally which gives a sense of accountability towards the visitors coming to see the exhibitions.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE CONCEPT OF FRACTIONAL RETAILING?
This concept involves the sharing of commercial spaces between several entrepreneurs for their businesses. Today with dwindling profits and intense competition, businesses irrespective of their size are increasingly joining coworking communities. Through experience we have understood that stores that host Pop ups benefit from both the rental revenues as well as in attracting new customers that the designer gets into the store.
HOW HAVE YOU HELPED SMALLER DESIGNERS AND NEW ENTRANTS EXPAND INTO NEW MARKETS?
We have also invited design schools to encourage potential talent to be part of this platform offering them special rentals. Post inspecting the business model of the respective designers, Indi Collage leverages space to exhibit their work at a very nominal cost for two to three days. We also work with brands which build a rendezvous of art and social force – Sustainability and Zero Waste Projects.
HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS WILL BENEFIT PEOPLE IN THE APPAREL SPACE?
With commercial real estate prices shooting up higher than ever, especially in metro cities, it has become rather difficult for young entrepreneurs to lease a good location property for their businesses. In such a scenario, co-renting prime commercial spaces becomes the most viable option as it does not cost you a fortune and serves the same purpose. The practice of fractional retail also provides an opportunity to those entrepreneurs who look to expand their business in different locations (or cities) while minimizing risk factor.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
We are building Indi Collage to make it the largest and most trusted network for fractional retail over the next couple of years. We intend to partner with more and more fractional retail spaces and encourage the local artisans across the nation.
The ongoing pandemic has closed both the platforms at the moment.