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Designer Anamika Khanna ready with international label

IndiaGlitz [Tuesday, December 28, 2004]

 Designer Anamika Khanna is ready with her international label Ana-Mika to be launched globally, the first ever for an Indian designer.

This, even as she expands production at home by four times to meet demand when the textile quotas are dismantled at yearend.

"I've already shown the first spring summer line of the label (in London) and the reaction has been fabulous," Khanna told IANS in an interview. "I will be launching the label across the world and it'll be completely different from my work in India." 

She is also in the process of acquiring a new 10,000 sq ft factory at her base in Kolkata. "My production capacity would be boosted by four times," said Khanna, one of the finest, yet self-consciously underplayed, designers in the country.

"Over the years, production and professionalism has been a problem for Indian designers. But we can't afford to let that happen anymore.

"As the market opens and brings new opportunities, we need to match up to international standards," said Khanna, who is opening a new store at Notting Hill in London.

Earlier this year, she got investor funding of around two million pounds to push what is aiming to be the first international fashion label from India.

"The clothes for the international line are completely according to international trends. Earlier, when we were just in India, we could do what we wanted. Bright colors for Holi and Diwali, whatever but abroad you can't do that, you can't do yellow when everyone is saying yellow is out.
"You cannot be (laden with) in-your-face Jaipur or Rajasthan (handiwork and embroidery)."

In India, though, traditional crafts is what Khanna said will keep her business going.

"I cannot make a plain black jacket and expect that people will buy Anamika Khanna and not Armani. Our USP is the Indian touch," said Khanna.

"Specially with all these foreign labels coming in, we should emphasise our Indian-ness, that's what makes us special. There is a great fear that we might lose our workers and craftsmen to the foreign labels.

"So we must fight back and the only way we can do that is by doing what we know best."

Khanna is one of the two designers from Kolkata who have zoomed into limelight in recent years. The other is Sabyasachi Mukherjee who showed in Milan this year.

They are increasingly being touted as some of the most talented in the only $2 billion but fast growing Indian fashion industry and most likely to make a mark abroad with their effortless combination of Indian traditions and Western styles.

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