Setting the tone for seasonal festivities

Setting the tone for seasonal festivities
Aanchal Chanda

Aanchal Chanda's collections are designed with many colour variations as well as intricate embroidery and silhouettes for that perfect style


Suchitra Steven Samuel

Published: Wed 15 Aug 2018, 2:31 PM

Indian-born designer, Aanchal Chanda founded her eponymous label in late 2009. Her work is ornate, glamorous, intricately detailed, and proudly celebrates womanhood. Chanda grew up in a dynamic household that shaped her into a businesswoman. Her parents gave her the opportunity and encouragement to pursue her passion without hindering her when things were slow. "As an entrepreneur, I monitor market trends, and customer demands to keep an eye on the stock and financial market, as I believe it plays a significant role in the purchasing habits. Market performance helps me determine the new collection. Thus, I'm able to offer my clients price sensitive products," she says in an interview with Khaleej Times.
"Dubai has been a blessing and given me the professional opportunity to develop. I've been working with industry experts who mentored me to have a valuable market insight. While the road wasn't at all easy, I have had to navigate to build a success story both as an individual as well as a brand. So, while the journey has been rocky at times, it has been solid due to my persistence," says the designer.
Chanda elaborates on the current trends in fashion. "So far, this year, we have seen a lot of shimmers, shining, reflectors and royal colours across fabrics. Bright as well as pastel colours continue to dominate the trends. We're going through disruption across fashion, so all rules are being broken at the moment."
What sets her designs apart? "As a designer, my priority is to create a sellable collection. Therefore, I spend a lot of time researching market stability before every season. Competitive pricing means I'm able to produce high-quality fashion without the high price tag. As a brand, we have signature prints of Western/Indian patterns and embroideries, synonymous with our kaftan range, which has become the staple of our collection," she notes.
As for her, there are essential factors that she considers in design. Brand aesthetics become a crucial factor in design. One must create a recognisable signature across the collection. Determine profile, setting competitive pricing and delivering top quality are all critical aspects for any fashion line, says the designer.
The fabric is the most critical area as it can either make or break your collection, Chanda continues. "Taking into consideration the weather is not enough. Some fabrics aren't easy to manipulate for certain designs and will leave the pattern looking lifeless. On several occasions, we've had to experiment textures vs designs to ensure the final product is not compromised."
Elaborating on the techniques used to enhance the final presentation, Chanda explains, "The final presentation changes everything, so we make sure to have the team participate in quality control, spending a lot of time ensuring every garment goes through the process. We work closely with the boutique staff to ensure that proper display is maintained. We work with the merchandiser to finalise location within the retail space plus how the collection is hung, tagged, talked about and finally sold to customers."
From design to production, creating an outfit is an intense process. There are several team members involved, including design team, production team and marketing team. "We usually allocate a minimum of three months for any collection as we start with outfit designs, source fabrics, develop samples before we go into full production. Developing photo shoot for lookbooks is another critical area to consider before we are ready to deliver for distribution," notes the designer.
Chanda constantly reviews market trends that allows her an insight so that she may be able to shift designs that don't receive favourable reviews. This method is critical since fashion is ever changing and needs to be adjusted accordingly. Every season 40 to 45 models are introduced across the three Aanchal Chanda brand line; kaftans, prêt-à-porter and evening wear. "Our kaftan range offers unique printed fabrics exclusive to Aanchal Chanda brand; within this line, the collection will create different printed patterns complemented with amazing colour combination suitable for the trending designs. Prêt-à-porter and evening wear also offer a collection of designs suitable for every occasion to choose from," adds the designer.
What about designs that don't move? She replies, "Our motto has always been to ensure products sell out or we have minimum stock returned; our products are price sensitive, this gives us an advantage when it comes to encouraging purchases. In instances where we do have surplus stock, we would agree with our stockists to offer seasonal sale."
To compete in the current market, price points have become a deciding factor for shoppers. "Having in-house production facilities allows us to control and maintain manufacturing fees, therefore, keep our prices competitive. Based on research, we've seen customer spending has shifted. Thus, we've had to ensure we too are realistic when it comes to pricing," she notes.
Chanda's Eid Al Adha collection is set for launch soon and includes evening dresses as well as morning wear. With about 40 styles, it's quite diverse and sets the tone for seasonal festivities. "Everyone is preparing for occasions like weddings, engagements and evening functions; we have dresses to suit any of these celebrations," Chanda says.
The brand continues to evolve to diversify its portfolio further and grow its customer base. "Our ambition is to grow our signature line of kaftan collection, build the newly launched prêt line and the eveningwear. We are also open to penetrate new markets, therefore looking to connect with global buyers for distribution opportunities. Every season we add new silhouettes to gauge customers' response before adding the complete new range," she concludes.
Aanchal designs are stocked in Salam Studio, Rivaage, House of Fraser, Studio 8, and across the region.

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