Neesha Amrish begins a new global journey, with her first stop at London’s V&A
Last year, at the Maison & Objet trade fair in Paris, a bold black-and-red organic silk scarf caught the eye of a group from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Its designer, city-based Neesha Amrish, didn’t cotton on to the significance until she realised they were from the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, and that their clientele include the royalty. “They were looking for designers to feature in their 2015 India Festival,” says Amrish, elaborating how thorough they were. “In the next few months, they looked into my label, Aeshaane, my weavers, and my fabric and dyes, before choosing three designs for The Fabric of India exhibit and 120 pieces to sell at the V&A Shop.”
Sitting in her boutique in Thiruvanmiyur, the 38-year-old tells us she is excited to be sharing the spotlight with top designers like Manish Arora and Abraham & Thakore at the exhibition that kicks off in October. Moreover, besides a long-term association (V&A will showcase pieces from her future lines, too), this also gives her work a global audience. “We selected Neesha’s work as we were excited about the combination of striking geometric patterns and bold colour, with the use of traditional techniques and materials. The quality of printing and the feel of the handwoven silk really stood out,” explains Emily Crutcher, V&A’s communication officer.
Having opened shop just over a year ago, many little things are suddenly coming together to ensure Aeshaane goes global. Like an order for 500 scarves from the Embassy of South Sudan in Berlin (they came across her name online). “It was heady, creating that many in just 15 days. All the sleepless nights were worth it when the ambassador wrote to say she loved them,” laughs Amrish, who will be taking her new line of lounge wear, formal shirts, Nehru jackets and scarves—sporting origami block prints in animal motifs—to Paris in a couple of months. “While there, I’ve been invited by the wife of the Indian Ambassador, Dr Maina Singh, to showcase my work to foreign delegates at her home. I’ll also be meeting Agnes Webster, owner of Fragonard perfumes and boutiques, to discuss retailing my designs at her stores,” she adds.
Back home, plans to grow her brand are not on the back burner. With a deal being hammered out to retail with an international airline, fashion shows lined up in Hyderabad and Mumbai with Mana Shetty’s Araaish, and an e-store in the making (with international shipping, its USP is customisation of blouses), Amrish shows no signs of slowing down. “I want to go bigger and better, but without compromising on quality. Word-of-mouth has always helped me, but now with V&A and new tie-ups, my dream could be on the way to becoming realised,” she concludes.
Scarves from Rs 2,500 onwards. Details: 24486244
Surya Praphulla Kum