When you say fashion design,invariably its the fashion component that hogs all the limelight while design tends to take a backseat, laments Anuj Sharma. With a fair share of years behind him both as a designer and as part of the visiting faculty at National Institute of Design (NID),Ahmedabad Sharma knows that in his field,nothing sells like glamour. Yet,he says,nothing matches the high he gets from creating garments using a sustainable production process. His latest collection of dresses and tunics,called Nothing Absolute,which has recently been launched at the South Mumbai store Melange,celebrates the joinery concept that he introduced with his Button Masala collection.
Launched in 2009,his Button Masalacollection,which later became a philosophy for Sharma,uses a simple grid concept. For example,he took a strip of cloth and stitched buttons on it. Another was dotted with several button holes. When you mix and match with this grid system (buttons on one side,with the buttonholes on the other),you have many ways in which you can wear a dress. Button Masala is a lifestyle choice as it thrives on multiple use of the same product and offers the wearer scores of dressing possibilities. With its use of rubber-bands and buttons and the production needing no machines or tools,it is one of the most sustainable products in the apparel segment. It is one of the fastest production systems with marginal overheads, says Sharma,who has worked with gamcha cloth for the first time.
The idea,he says,was to capture both the structure and the fluidity of a fabric (cotton in this case). This time,I wanted to use checks and hence,the gamcha cotton. This apart,theres also a segment that has mirror work instead of the buttons, says the designer,who did his post-graduation in Apparel Design from the National Institute of Design (NID).
It was at Lakme Fashion Week that he debuted Button Masala,but he has shunned fashion weeks since 2010.
He has been part of the visiting faculty at NID and has conducted independent workshops for over 6,000 people,propagating the Button Masala (joinery) philosophy. I dont believe in good clothes being made only by designers; anyone should be able to make one, says Sharma,also the only Indian designer to have given a TEDx talk.