Believing in simplicity, Designer Anuj Sharma feels happy to come up with products which are beautiful to look at, but at the same time so easy to make, that anyone can enjoy making them on their own.
In conversation with Abhilasha Dafria for YourStory.in, Anuj tells us more about how he creates clothes that engage with the person wearing them and thrives on this concept as the basic idea of his clothes line!
Anuj, what is your background and what triggers the unique ideas of the clothes you design?
I studied design at National Institute of Design. This was my first formal design education. I guess, otherwise it’s the basic Indian every day life that introduces you to design in very subtle ways. Design is continuously becoming a buzz word but it does not involve the end users or consumers to actively participate. This, eventually, is the main cause of lack of design awareness in the world by far. I want my clothes to engage the person wearing them and be more active in design and that is the base philosophy.
What exactly is Button Masala and how difficult was it to introduce the concept of easy-to-make garments to the domestic market?
Button Masala is a very simple joinery concept which allows multiple use of the same product. Originally, it is based on simple grid system, which gives the wearer thousands of changing possibilities. The improved Button Masala is made using rubber-bands and buttons. The production involves no machine or tool and therefore one of the most sustainable products in apparel category. It is also one of the fastest production systems at this point of time with marginal overheads. As a concept, it can be learnt by anyone and used to make their own clothes or other products from one piece of fabric.
Button Masala, for a market, was easy to introduce, because it is wearable but has taken time for people to accept it. But there has been a good response from the market nonetheless.
Could you tell us a little about your flagship products?
Unstitched garments, which are easy to wear and simple to produce are our flagship products. Our idea is to have a low production cost which brings high value.
Where do you source your raw-materials from?
I use already existing fabrics from local sourcing. At times I used hand-woven silks from Banaras or cottons from Kutch region.
What is your market size and who is your typical buyer?
Market size is not very large at the moment. But it is growing into a good number of believers who spread the good word for your work and buy as well.
I don’t think there is one type of buyer. All age groups can try the product, but what it does demand from a buyer is a little common sense and a will to be different. I have 8 yrs old taking interest in the product because they have understood the idea and there are also 60 yrs old who want to try the clothes. It’s meant for people who are hungry for more than regular.
Are you planning to start your own stores?
Starting a store means a large size of consumer base in one city which is not ready yet. It might take another 2 yrs. Right now I am focusing to take Button Masala to many cities and spread the idea through the help of local retailers.
I do clothes which are distinctly identifiable and people who know fashion can easily identify my style. My USP is my clothes.
How have you been funded till now? Are you planning to raise capital?
I started with a very small sum of Rs1000. I used design to balance the need of funds to start up. Smart design meant less cost. That means a cheaper system to run.
I am slowly looking for funds, but not the regular way. People invest in project and I make enough profit to run the experiments in design.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
5 yrs is a long time. I hope to see myself come up with more products like Button Masala, but in other fields like furniture, interiors etc. which are sustainable.
Finally please share your experience with YCE.
YCE has been known to me since 2007. I was selected as one of the finalist that year. I think YCE is a great platform to get inspired and inspire people with true and brave stories of real life.
This article is a part of the British Council’s Young Creative Entrepreneur Series. To know more about the YCE Awards, please click here. Follow Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards (YCE) on Facebook.
– Abhilasha Dafria