A new boutique in the city is always on Team élanstreet’s list of must-visit. Little wonder that we couldn’t wait when Chennai’s Brass Tacks announced the opening of its first store in Bangalore. On our visit, we found the store brimming with shoppers trying out the colourful designs on display. Anaka Narayan, founder, designer, and lover of natural fabrics gave us the deets on the new store, collection, and hashtag campaign.
You founded Brass Tacks in 2007. How did it come about?
My mother co-founded a saree retail business the year I was born and I’ve always been surrounded by natural fabrics and textiles. After studying economics and working in New York, I moved back to Chennai in 2006 and founded Brass Tacks the following year. The brand was born out of a lack of finding the designs I visualised—sharp silhouettes combined with Indian textiles.
Tell us a little about your new collection.
For SS16, we found our muse in the colours and motifs of Banjara embroidery. Did you know that their embroidery and mirror work is also said to protect the owner from harm? We reinterpreted their patterns as print, accented with embroidered panels, in refreshing colours. All the embroidery was done by a non-profit organisation that works with Banjara women in Sandur, Karnataka.
What are some of the key pieces in the collection?
We borrowed the auspicious qualities of Banjara embroidery in the Centre Patch Blouse, a printed boxy-ish top with an embroidered waist. For work, pick the Classic X Banjara, a tailored shirt with embroidered button placket and collar tips. The Dhoti Dungaree is the collection’s highlight—combining print and embroidery, it’s adventurous and experimental, and yet breezy and easy to carry off.
What are some of your design influences?
What inspires me most isn’t just textile or fashionable silhouettes (though I’m passionate about those). It’s the women we design for. I’m fascinated by urban women—intelligent, passionate about their work, ambitious, and finding ways to express their identity. They are rooted in their Indian-ness but also well-travelled and global in outlook.
How have your sensibilities and design evolved?
I’ve recently begun designing thematic collections with a cohesive theme. Earlier my design was ad hoc, now each collection has an inspiration, mood board, and designs based on the theme. They are also segmented: classics, wardrobe staples, trending silhouettes, and experimental pieces. I’ve started working with younger fashion and textile designers who research trends and come up with interesting prints. The creative collaboration makes for more exciting collections.
How did you create the new hashtag campaign?
We wanted images expressing our driving force and worked with an agency called Magic Bus to come up with the hashtags. Each hashtag gives an idea of who we design for, but without spelling it out explicitly. They also allow us to show the kind of personalities we design for and cleverly replace lengthy explanations with catchphrases people can identify with.
Finally, how does it feel to have your first store in the Garden City?
I can’t even begin to explain how incredible it is to be here. We were lucky to find this charming location in Indiranagar, an old apartment that we spruced up to create the store. I feel a strong connection between our designs—what inspires the team—and the women who shop with us in Bangalore. It’s a warm, friendly city, and women are unafraid to express their identity through fashion.