LONDON — Varana, the luxury label that’s become a showcase for Indian heritage craftsmanship, is looking to broaden its reach and is breaking into wholesale.
The label, which has a store on Dover Street in London, has taken space at the Hotel Diana in Milan for the first time, showing and selling the spring 2021 collection there. The decision to wholesale the collection in Milan follows the opening of an e-commerce site earlier this year. Varana also held appointments earlier this week during London Fashion Week.
The collection is packed with luxe separates in solid colors with fine detailing and embellishment. There is swirling black embroidery on a sheer white organza trench; subtle fringing on the edges of a cashmere sweater coat, and cape-like details on long cashmere dresses.
Varana was founded in 2016 by the Bangalore, India-based Sujata Keshavan, a graphic designer, branding specialist and founder of the design firm Ray + Keshavan. A year later she opened the brand’s shop on Dover Street in London’s Mayfair.
The collections are made from South Asian textiles, and feature hand work and techniques from craftspeople from across India.
The label relies on cashmere knitters from the Himalayas; wood-block printers in Rajasthan, and traditional weavers of handloomed khadi cloth. The design team works from the company’s atelier in Bangalore.
Keshavan has long said she wanted “to take centuries-long craft techniques and motifs out of their expected contexts and reimagine them in new, modern applications.” She said the elaborate technique of Jamdani weaving, unique to east and west Bengal and most commonly seen on saris, might, adorn a muslin top in Varana’s offer.
Varana said respect for the environment, “and for the dignity and welfare of its workers is paramount.” The company said it is committed to transparent and honest work practices and treats its collaborating artisans are “partners.”
The Mayfair store showcases a set of wooden stamps used to hand-stamp prints onto Varana’s silk dresses, and a loom to help customers to understand the intricate process of hand-weaving.
Retail prices range from about 425 pounds for a silk shirt to 1,500 pounds for a chunky cable knit cashmere hoodie, or the long-ribbed cashmere belted cardigan.