Strolling around in an apparel store and looking for a beautiful dress is a very normal thing we do, but how often do you look beyond those magnificently stitched embroideries and dig deeper to know the whereabouts of the brand?
Anvita is the brand of Pune which crafts elegant clothes for women sourced from Anubhuti which is a women’s empowerment-focused initiative located in Mulshi. An organisation that is located in rural Maharashtra, it trains women in various skills in order to help them develop a sustainable lifestyle.
To know more about this philanthropic work, Reacho got in conversation with Indrayani Kirloskar and Vinita Ram
1. Tell us more about the collaboration of Anvita and Anubhuti.
Anvita was started by us (Indrayani Kirloskar and Vinita Ram) in 2017, Anvita means “one who bridges the gap”. We started with the aim of bringing well-crafted clothing from the villages to the cities. We have always wanted to work with clothing in natural materials and working with village women to do it is hugely motivating.
Dr. Harsha Joshi started ANUBHUTI Foundation in June 2016. She has great vision and dreams of creating several sustainable livelihood projects. This was the umbrella project designed to motivate young men and women to acquire skills through the foundation which in turn would lead to sustainable employment.
When Vinita first introduced me to Harsha, and we saw what she was doing on the ground, it seemed like a working together to provide rural women a livelihood was completely symbiotic. Women’s clothing seemed like a natural fit and we all love working together. Harsha brings the enormous experience with social work, Vinita brings quality and all-around industry experience and I bring my design ethos and simplicity to the mix. As a team, our aim is now to provide and generate employment for more than 20 women over two years.
2. What inspired you to make this philanthropic work blend with creative work?
I love designing clothes and creating clothing styles that look elegant and edgy but always wearable. I was very clear from the beginning that this should be all about making beautiful clothes – but with a conscience.
Curated, natural materials, our girls’ careful skills in stitching and construction go into every garment to make you feel special. The fabric, cut, quality and integrity of the design all contribute to make each piece a great addition to our wardrobes.
3. What challenges did you face to start-up with this project, initially?
The villages surrounding Pune, where opportunities for livelihood are very few especially for women, was where we started. Due to lack of skills, migration to cities for unskilled labour is sometimes the only options these communities are left with.
So, Harsha had to work at convincing the girls, parents and entire communities to gain trust and construct a training program. She motivated the girls to stick on when it seemed like it the hurdles were too many.
The first few exhibitions we had, the amazing testimonials and feedback motivated our girls enormously. Today, we are proud to say that we can compete in terms of overall quality, construction and finish with labels that cost five times as much as we do!
All thanks to tireless efforts by Harsha and her team at Anubhuti.
4. Indian society is still governed by patriarchy, how difficult was it for you to educate women and direct them towards this field?
I think the girls faced challenges, but the very real prospect of economic independence has been the biggest motivator, for the girls, family, and communities.
5. What future plans lie ahead for Anvita?
We definitely plan to introduce a home furnishing line in the Summer of 2018. We have started our Facebook online shop, although most people don’t seem to know how to use it!
We’re looking forward to introducing new styles, fabrics, and saris with specially designed blouses for the next round. So, watch this space for more! Like us on Facebook: @ AnvitaAnubhuti
Reacho extends warm wishes to these amazing women and expects them to flourish high in their business.
This article is the part of ‘Wisdom Wednesdays’ where we give insights about the lives of Pune's interesting personalities.
Images sourced from facebook