In Conversation With Bhaane’s Creative Designer Nimish Shah
Bhaane, under the new creative leadership of designer Nimish Shah, has undergone significant changes in a year’s time alone, becoming a homegrown powerhouse to reckon with
As the creative director of Bhaane for over a year now, how has the experience been and what’s been your biggest learning?
Bhaane is literally like a start up. So the hustle is real. We are building the infrastructure from scratch. So, everybody does everything. Like an entry level intern will come up with the most important textile development. So it’s multi-dimensional. We’ve just done one collection. The main collection comes now. Summer is going to be big for us. There’s a lot of momentum, there’s a lot of building up. Everybody is wanting to prove a point and build something. My biggest learning has been people skills, because earlier, with Shift, it was a selective bunch of people. So just manipulating the speed and pace for everyone has been the biggest learning and a challenge.
What’s been your inspiration for this collection?
The whole inspiration for Bhaane has been a steady inspiration for the brand and not necessarily each collection, because we do smaller developments on it, and it takes us a while to produce it. So there are smaller drops and capsules within this. We’ve got a very strong organic story coming out of this show. We had earlier announced the Godrej collab but now, we have more pieces within that — there are souvenir T-shirts, hand-medown sweaters, inspiration from the archives. So we’ve obviously got that logo placement thing going on and then we have the whole ’80s inspiration with sequin, ill-fitted pants and tiny dresses. It’s more like personalities talking down into each and every peg. For the Bhaane man, we have a fisherman jacket. There’s a utility thing going on and then there are these white pants, which are just cropped up. So again, it’s identifying a personality and extending that personality into what kind of clothes they would wear.
Bhaane is big on sustainability. What are some of the sustainable practices followed by the brand?
The way we are addressing it is, we’re looking at how we source, how we manage our wastes, how we handle our patterns. Sustainability evokes through design choices. We have artisan textiles, indigo dye and high-quality handloom. So, we’re doing very traditional notions of what sustainability means, but also addressing it in a large factory setup. We work with Shahi exports, who has got their labour laws in order, they have fair trade buying, access to better materials and better time facilities. So the hygiene within that and working with mills who understand all these things. That is our take on sustainability where, through our consumption patterns and buying patterns, we are causing a rise of a certain demand and promotion of a product, which we believe is truly an essence of India.
As a shopper, how can one practice sustainability?
I really feel awareness, buying less and knowing what you really want. It’s got nothing to do with buying cotton or khadi. It’s really about you. You could buy a polyester dress that fits you and will last you a long time. You could also swap your clothes with your friends. You know 90 per cent of impacts on sustainability are at consumption stage and not during design stage because once the T-shirt is made and manufactured and sold, it’s really about how well you take care of it.
What changes can Indian men make to their wardrobe?
For me, it’s not really about fashion, but rather it’s about getting your clothes right and it’s amazing how non-fashion boys are still so desirable in India since non-conventional dressing is in trend. So, it kind of works in their favour. We all fall into this ready-to-wear segment, but our country is not conducive for ready-to-wear because we have such varied sizes. So, understanding your size, understanding what works for you and trying not to be dramatic is key — there’s only one Ranveer Singh. But if you’re going to try fancy clothes, you better keep up with it and make that your thing.