Designer Naina Jain has curated timeless pieces using fine Indian fabrics and the skills of the country’s talented craftspeople. The Naina Jain brand has a neat and modern sensibility that is driven by a holistic vision and is inspired by the old-world charm of India. BE’s Isha Chakraborty spoke to Naina Jain about her designs, preferred fabrics, and the online market.
Q. What are the factors that influence the creation of your sarees?
A. We derive our inspirations from all things beautiful and from the beauty of nature. In our busy lives, it is easy to forget the natural beauty that surrounds us. Yet, the greatest and most enduring art is so often inspired by nature. Moreover, the sheer genius of the Indian architecture, the numerous carvings that come with are great sources of encouragement for our creations. Indian miniature paintings, known for their intricate and delicate brushwork, also act as an inspirational catalyst. Last but not the least, Indian craft like the inlay work of Rajasthan, popularly known as the mirror mosaic work also inspires our creative endeavours. Our USP lies in intricate Bandhani that has been perfected over generations by master craftsmen in the Kutch region of Gujarat.
Q. What kind of techniques do you use in making your sarees?
A. My brand is synonymous to ‘Bandhani’ which is the art technique of ‘tie and dye’. Inspired and mastered by skilled craftsmen of Gujarat and Rajasthan, our handcrafted creations are coveted timeless pieces. We encompass the very best of Indian tradition, culture and art, with specially designed range of Paithani Style Benarasi and Bandhani, hand-embroidered Lucknowi and Bandhani and also experiment with various embroideries like Zardozi and Gotta Patti.
Q. Since you are based in Delhi and Kolkata, what other regions that you are focusing on?
A. In India, our major focus is on Mumbai since we have a big clientele there and a large portion of our demand is generated from that city. We are focussing on tier II cities as well as the markets there are also booming. Internationally, America seems to be a good starting point.
Q. How are you experimenting with your products to incorporate regional and seasonal demands?
A. We experiment through colours and fabrics and every region encompasses its own taste and preferences. Like in West Bengal, handcrafted intricate embroidery, high in workmanship is preferred. On the other hand, Mumbai is a city where women wear more of sarees while Delhi is more into suits. We formulate our merchandise accordingly.
Q. Can you categorise your products under seasonal, occasional and year-round categories?
A. Benarasis and dupattas are our best selling products which are showcased throughout the year. Lehengas and suits are seasonal, with lehengas being the more preferred occasion wear and are high in demand during the wedding season.
Q. What is your target audience?
A. We believe that an amazing sense of style doesn’t have an expiry date and isn’t reserved for a particular age group. Consequently, we design for a wide range of clients. Our products include glamour, sophistication and decadence. The Chandrakala collection was specially targeted towards working women and it worked really well. The collection beautifully infused the intricate play of Bandhani on fabrics that are light weight, versatile and easy to wear.
Q. Is your business helping the handicraft sector or the artisans in India?
A. Our brand is synonymous to ‘Bandhani’ which is a skill mastered by skilled craftsmen of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Thus it’s safe to say the brand is dependent on artisans, weavers and embroiders. The revolutionary amalgamation of traditional crafts, one-of-a-kind handiwork and contemporary haute couture generates an alluring, urbane and time-less mix that is reflected in our products. The brand has rejuvenated and redefined age-old Indian crafts as a profitable niche within the cosmopolitan market, allowing the valued artistic processes to live on, despite the pressures of globalisation.
Q. Which fabric do you use for your sarees and what type of post purchasing care would you recommend?
A. Our brand draws inspiration from a variety of sources to create the perfect look. The label uses vibrant colours and ornate fabric like georgette, silk, crepe, chiffon and organza. We recommend them to be wrapped in thin malmal cloth for storage.
Q. What is your opinion about the online market in India?
A. Marketing on social media is essential. We are very active on Facebook and Instagram. Instagram helps in promoting our brand to a great extent and lot of our clients buy directly through this platform.
Q. Do you think that the saree market is going to be revived or just stay as an occasional wear segment?
A. The saree market is definitely on the rise. More and more women are going the traditional way as they believe that the drape, the elegance, the grace that comes with a saree is unique. Youngsters too are sporting it with pride and grace.