With the festive season upon us, The Guide checked out Ihita, a label that largely dwells on ethnic wear and is a significant part of the handloom revolution in the city
Going back to the roots is firmly engrained in their design philosophy. And even in the moniker that designers Anil Kumar and Roshan have picked for their label.
They call it Ihita, meaning desire in Sanskrit. "We serve anyone who walks in with a desire to look good," says Anil, who graduated in Fashion and Apparel Design from Bangalore University and started this label exactly three years ago with partner Roshan, an alumnus of Vogue Institute.
A model in a dual-toned saree
After working for Gokuldas Export for three years as a designer and two years for Karle International where he was handling brands like Nike, Adidas and Levi's, Anil realised that there was hardly anything in the market that wasn't mass produced.
And Ihita was born. Focusing on custom made clothes, Anil reads the personality of his clients and suggests apparels that suit their attitude and lifestyle, putting his experience as a stylist to good use. "It's not about the clothes. It's about how we can make a person look better," he says.
Doing two collections a year, Anil has taken innovation to another level by weaving in the traditional kasuti embroidery from Karnataka in Ilkal sarees, from the Ilkal town in Bagalkot district in Karnataka.
"Earlier the kasuti embroidery would be stitched onto the saree manually, but we build it into the saree," states Anil who works on handloom sarees manufactured in Bangalore that are a hit with several Marathi actresses and Sandalwood stars like Sanjjana, Prathibha and Angana along with women in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi.
The fabrics that he works with, a lot of which is sourced from Delhi and Mumbai, include chiffons, nets, raw silk, French and Italian crepes and silk and cotton that are manufactured locally.
"Our designs are simple, we concentrate on fabric, colour and silhouettes. For our Western line that includes cocktail and wedding gowns, red carpet wear and casual wear like tunics, we concentrate on drapes while keeping the silhouette simple.
The Western line has barely any embellishment as we believe in letting the fabric breathe," states Anil.
The stone and rugged wash on their denims treated with silicon softener to give the fabric lightness and softness make them stand out. Some of them even undergo enzyme washes.
The wedding collection at Ihita features hand embroidered lehenga cholis with precious stones sourced from Delhi, zari work and gold plated motif that come all the way from Karachi, Pakistan. "Such a piece can even go upto R 2.5 lakh," he maintains.
This season's ethnic collection, titled Matrangi is inspired by the shape of a balloon. Enormous amount of cancan fabric has been used to bring in volume to the outfits.
The casual line however is a lot more understated. "That's because a chunk of our collection goes to Spain, Mardin in Turkey and London where people tend to give importance to the fit more than anything else.
I'm also introducing my men's line this season which will have sherwanis, kurtas, long jackets and harem pants that have been modified by making them narrow and giving them front pleats," he maintains.
Tomorrow, at a glitzy show, which will showcase the works of 300 artists from across the country, Anil will unveil his latest collection. Thirty city models will don his ethnic collection in this show that is supporting the rural artists.
The collection includes long jackets in brocade in seasonal hues like beige, gold, green and maroon along with bridal and fusion wear.
Plans for the future not just include expansion, but also espousing the cause of indigenous handloom and invading Europe with their casual line. Amen to that.
Where 596, 4th Main,
1st Cross MES Road
Muthyalama Nagar, Gokula Post
CALL 9632253854, 9880686889
FOR R 10,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh