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A tête-à-tête with Pallavi Shantam, founder of apparel label Buna
Pallavi Shantam started Buna in 2017, upon graduating from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gandhinagar, in 2002. The urge to initiate a new chapter after co-founding a visual design consultancy firm and travelling through Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal, led to the birth of Buna.
Buna, which translates to ‘woven’ in Hindi, realises the need for a more eco-conscious approach towards fashion by reducing waste and devising better methods of production. We admire how timeless each collection is, handwoven with natural materials and unique artisanal techniques, and styled in a way that feels youthful and wearable for today. Below, excerpts from our chat with the designer and founder:
“A new way of life” with “sustainability at its heart”...
The idea of sustainability paves the way for a new way of life! I believe that sustainability is no more a choice in a rapidly changing world, it is rather a necessity. Personally for me it was a natural choice. Having devoted a good part of my life to yoga, meditation and an earthy lifestyle, I was also attracted to local crafts, sustainable practices and minimalism. Integrating these into my working life took time but finally found expression in Buna.
The essence behind their 'Time Whisperer' and 'The Botanist' collections...
There is no bigger solace for urban dwellers than plants and trees. The more the better! The Botanist explores our love for plants through hand block printed illustrations of leaves, shrubs, berries etc. These have been given a watercolour effect to complement the flowing silhouettes of this collection.
Time Whisperer is our ode to the sweet nostalgia of a bygone era! It reignites little memories of pressed flowers in an old novel, handwritten letters in ink and slow laid-back afternoons. We have tried to create a beautiful dreamscape of blurred memories through a dusty palette of pinks, charcoals and ecrus.
The importance of ethical clothing and the “shift from rapid consumption and disposal to ethical choices and mindful living”...
Our clothes are keepsakes. I am reminded of the time when mothers in India would preserve and value their clothes for decades together. For me an ethical choice is one that considers the consequences involved after it. Whatever we purchase leaves a trail behind, maybe of plastic, carbon, chemicals, water wastage, exploitation and so on. Minimizing this trail is my brand's endeavour.
Mindful living to me means not only taking good care of our body but also of our extended body - the environment. As I see it, ethical clothing involves using materials with the least possible carbon footprint, recycling, upcycling and minimizing wastage. This includes using local crafts and supporting artisan communities. And to top it with making clothes that can be cherished for a long time.
Inspiration for their upcoming collection...
My inspirations usually revolve around nature, art, culture and slow living. At present I am working on developing new textiles with exclusive textures, patterns and motifs in khadi, Jamdani and block printing. My travels in the coming days would most certainly become the grounds for my next collection.
The craftspeople who bring alive their vision...
I work with weavers and artisans from Bengal, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. I am always deeply touched by their down to earth nature and dedication to skill and craft. They carry a huge legacy on their shoulders and though very small in numbers now, nonetheless, carry the weight with aplomb. As I have been travelling in the different craft clusters of India, a vast and rich landscape of artisanal techniques and heritage textiles has been opening up before my eyes. And it leaves me as wonderstruck and baffled as emotionally touched.
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