Dubai-based Indian designer launches new womenswear collection

Fresh from showcasing her creations on Sydney’s catwalks for the first time, the 26-year-old designer Aanchal Chanda has returned to debut her latest collection in boutiques across the UAE. Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane caught up with the Dubai-based rising star to discover what ladies should wear this season.

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How many pieces did you send down the runway at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) last month, and what was the theme of the spring/summer 2012collection?

The collection comprised 36 styles but only a selective 12 were sent down the runway. I started working on the “She is like a Rainbow” collection at the end of January to develop prints, embroidery swatches, toiles. I also designed print artwork for it.

My inspiration has always come from women and everyday life. Plus, I travelled a lot during the autumn and winter of 2011, from the vibrant streets of India via the Middle East to the Caribbean, landing finally in fast-paced New York and London. It was a voyage through the most diverse cultures, all beautifully styled with Turkish tiaras and turbans.

Was the MBFWA experience a profitable one?

My experience at MBFWA was unbelievably outstanding and invaluable towards putting my collection together. The idea of launching my label in a new country was, in itself, very challenging and rewarding. The level of professionalism and witnessing how seriously fashion is taken in Australia were some of the biggest lessons I learnt. So I am very proud of myself for having taken the step, and thankful to the entire team at MBFWA for giving me the opportunity.

How would you describe your label’s style?

My label celebrates colours and prints as I do, with a bold attitude. It’s contemporary, powerful and glamorous. I really have an immense love of colours, they inspire me and make me happy. Regarding materials, I don’t restrict myself to any particular fabric. However, I like to work with chiffons and crepes because they are easy to handle and graceful.

In what way does your Indian heritage influence your collections?

India plays a very important role in my life and designs. I come from a country where art and tradition is in everything, and my clothes are very much influenced by that.

When and how was your interest in designing first piqued?

My first memory of fashion relates to my mother, her style and her power. She looked very fragile but she was strong. She always taught me that fear is not an option, and I still live by that. In fact, I am truly inspired by all women – their strength and their resilience.

After completing my MBA in finance, I wanted to start a line signifying the power of women in a very colourful, joyful, glamorous and chic way. I wanted my collection to convey confidence, regardless of age, size, shape or skin. And that’s when AC and Aanchal Chanda was created.

How would you describe the women who wear your designs?

Those who wear my label are strong, very confident, feminine – and proud to be a woman.