Anjali Rana: EDIDA India 2015 Flooring winner
In terms of Anjali’s creative pursuits and favourite pastime, it would be apt to call her a curious traveller. The NIFT and NID alumnus in textile design who graduated in 2001, gathered plenty of work experience creating innovative soft furnishings for renowned export houses before launching her own Bengaluru based independent design label, Mohabbat.
Anjali Rana’s fabrics line experiments with Indian arts and crafts by collaborating with locally skilled artisans to produce unusual textile collections. “This label is really an outcome of travelling to different regions, honing a love for people’s craft and their indigenous traditions,” she quips.
Right from the beginning of her career, she dabbled with techniques of textile art and embroidery – from tie and die, chikankari Lucknowi aesthetics to hand-felted wool. But the actual roots of Mohabbat manifested in 2006 when The Office of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) in collaboration with the Craft Development Institute (CDI) in Srinagar sought her out to conduct workshops in Kashmir with craftspeople who specialise in Sozni embroidery(a very fine type of needlepoint work done on shawls).
In 2011, she followed her heart’s calling back to the land of paradise, exploring new aesthetics in the Nambah and Aari stitching traditions, after which she imagined her EDIDA winning carpet line the Baugh Collection, made out of hand felted Merino wool. “I went there at a time when it was spring and the place was vibrant with flowers. One could see different kinds of blooms and formations. So that’s what I represented in the collection that I created with the help of expertly skilled women.”
“Mughal influences on Kashmir are reflected in the motifs used,” she adds. “I wanted this line to stay true to the natural landscape of the area.”
The Gulab carpet from the Baugh collection featuring a singular rose remains her all-time favourite design. “In January, I launched the Bahaar collection at Dastakar Design Fair. I’m particularly fond of the Badam and Akrot pieces which are botanical illustration of two trees locally found in the Kashmiri region,” she says enthusiastically.
Her design philosophy is rather unique. “My work is a response to what one sees at a particular moment and has a lot to do with the resources I have available at that point in time.” While she is expecting to produce a lot more collections this year, she emphasizes on staying true to creating products along three parameters – those that serve their functionality, evoke an emotive quality and contribute to the livelihood of local cottagebased industries.