Anavila Misra and the Sari Renaissance

Who would have thought to make saris in linen? By going where no designer has ever gone before, Anavila Misra stands tall among a number of ‘back-to-the-roots’ fashion enthusiasts, her creations evoking a sense of pride and reaffirming one’s faith in ‘made in India’.

While her vision as a designer is to dress ‘real Indian women’, the glamorous world of Bollywood leaves no opportunity to be seen in her designs – from Sonam Kapoor and Konkona Sharma Sen to Vidya Balan.

Daughter of an agricultural scientist father and a fine artist mother, Anavila Misra was exposed to art early on. She learnt painting, knitting and sewing under the guidance of her mother at their home in Karnal, Haryana. Her travels to different villages – from Bhuj in Gujarat to working with Santhal tribals in Jharkhand – played a major role in shaping her design philosophy.

A NIFT graduate in knitwear design, Anavila worked closely with the Ministry of Rural Development on their craft cluster projects. She launched her first collection in 2011 with the help of a few weavers from Phulia in West Bengal. She took it to Artisans in Kala Ghoda, Mumbai. All her saris were sold out in no time.

Sustainability is an inseparable part of Anavila, the brand. Women are allowed to work from home, and a strict zero-waste policy is followed during production. Her work ethic is in sync with her design philosophy, and her creations reflect the change Indian fashion has gone through in the last few years.

With a subdued colour palette and free-falling drapes, she has pushed the humble Indian sari into every fashion-conscious woman’s wardrobe. Check out her latest collection.

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First published in the July 2017 issue of eShe magazine