Anuradha Vakil remains one of those few designers who have chosen to work with handcrafted textiles. Deeply passionate about her work, she creates contemporary fashion using indigenous skills. Born in England, brought up in India and studied in USA. But, after returning to India with a MBA degree, she did the unthinkable and turned to fashion, a choice inspired purely by her love for Indian handlooms. Her label ‘Anuradha Vakil’, now is synonymous with artistic, one-of-a-kind Indian clothing and is available at prestigious design houses in India and abroad. But, there is life beyond fashion for her, which includes an almost obsessive love for Indian classical music and theatre. “I see myself more as a revivalist of textile crafts than a ‘fashion designer’, simply because the base of my design is always traditional Indian textiles and in my own small way, I contribute towards their preservation”-says Anuradha Vakil.
Noor, her design firm came in to being eight years back out of her passion for textile crafts, especially Indian handlooms and today, her label retails out of prestigious design houses in India and abroad. She has chosen to work with hand woven natural fiber fabrics and travels extensively in her search for the unusual and beautiful. She works with master weavers and crafts people in most textile centers, which range from Kalamkari hand painters in Kalahasthi, Andhra Pradesh to Bandhani karigars in Mundra. She designs Indian wear, which has a timeless feel to it and her clothes are very simply cut, as the focus is always on the textile: the weave, the print, the craft. She designs for a woman who has a finely tuned sense of aesthetics, someone who is as committed and passionate about things created by hand. Predictably, she has a clientele from the fields of arts, theatre and design. Being an ardent lover of Indian classical music and kathak, she doesn’t really mind her clothes being labeled ‘arty’. She knows that her clothes are not meant for every one and she prefers it that way. People like Shabana Azmi and Mallika Sarabhai are among her fiercely loyal clients.