Here’s a soulful story. Remember ma ke hath ka buna sweater? Each yarn, intertwined with love, knitted together – there’s a different level of comfort it offers. When I named my brand after this nostalgia, I wanted to ensure it was not just namesake. More than a decade in the design & fashion industry, I realised I wanted to pursue my goal of fashion that was sustainable yet personal and close to nature, something I felt passionately about, that had a soul and a story to tell, that talked about our rich heritage and presented it to a global audience. Three years ago, I nurtured this dream and gave Buna, a soul.
This was not just a day’s work but something that took form out of my extensive travels to Indian towns in search of inspiration - Kutch, Bardhaman, Phulia, Chanderi, Sanganer and more. The artisans I connected with on my sojourn, became integral parts of my brand. I believe in preserving connections and so, each weaver Buna works with gets work season after season, year after year so that the relationship is maintained and nurtured. That is also why we work with few crafts. It is not like we don’t want to explore more but we wish to stay true to our principles. Whoever we work with, we form a beautiful synergy. The bright side of working with the same set of people is that one gets to explore more within a particular domain – understand the limitations and possibilities simultaneously. We learn from each other.
I wanted to use traditional fabrics and give them a modern spin to preserve the flavour of indigenous craft styles. I call Buna a textile story because we focus as much on the process of textile ideation and creation as the end product. It has a certain legacy, touch and essence of the town it comes from and the hands which make it. You can have many wears out of a Buna garment. It stays with you as a long romance. Each of my collections has a name. It is almost like unravelling a new book. Ravangla Days, for instance, makes you think of a memoir of one’s sweetest memories captured in Ravangla, the small Sikkim town which inspired the collection. Yours Truly is like a love letter written by one’s beloved. The summer romance inspired collection has a vintage vibe to it. I believe that fashion is comfort and everyone loves comfort’s caress. All our clothes are free flowing, mostly cotton. They make for the perfect work from home wear. Our lightweight and layered fabrics come in a soft, pastel & earthy palette with little dreamy details to discover as you don them.
The Question Of Sustainability
We follow a slow philosophy and the entire process of making what we offer is mindful and patient. From a thread to a dress, it takes about six months for us to weave a love affair for you. I don’t think fast fashion is sustainable – it is produced very swiftly in factories with a lot of exploitation of garment workers. At Buna, we produce in-house, so that we can pay attention to quality and every little detail.
Not only the process but what happens later to the garment, is important. We do not produce inventory, rather we make to order. We keep inventories only for our fabrics, which can be used in a future collection. This gives us scope to produce what our customers like and to know our bestsellers. This is sustainable and minimizes wastage..
I believe slow is the future of fashion. People are learning to revere nature once again. The pandemic was a reminder for us to slow down our breakneck speed of business as usual. It taught us to respect the pace of nature and match our own pace with it – to go herbal, slow down & eat organic. This new slow world would be incomplete without slow fashion.