March 11, 2018 Asmita Aggarwal

Lean In

NIFT-educated Nupur Batra, from her first show where she spent Rs 12,000, in 2011, to now working with almost 10 countries and exporting to US and Japan, is a tour de force in the accessories market as each fabric bag she makes is an ode to an independent woman.

By Asmita Aggarwal

She named her label after her daughter Ananaya and that not just brought her luck, but also opened the many doors she thought were invisible. After a masters degree, from Lady Irwin College and a textile weaving course from DU, in 2007, when her daughter was seven-years-old Nupur Batra began her journey in the world of fabrics and colours.

Married at 24, she spent the initial years setting up her husband’s business, but soon realised that she needed to do something of her own, which propelled her to start a small unit in Nizamuddin basti.

She made fabric bags which became so popular that even former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit had to have them, but the sealing drive forced her to shut shop and move to NOIDA from where she operates now.

Nupur slowly but surely expanded her business of accessories doing shows at the Japan Fashion week as well as Hong Kong and the Premiere Vision, Paris and today works with from Topshop to Tifanny and Selfridges. She also successfully ran a store in Siam Paragon in Bangkok, but after the king died and the country was plunged in political turmoil she had to shut shop, which gave her more time to look after her late father, a management guru.

“The greatest gift my parents gave me was education and I am very grateful for that as being a  single mom I could support and educate my daughter, who is now 18 and is pursuing courses in biotechnology. This makes me proud that she is carving her own niche, despite being a science student, just like me,” she smiles.

Nupur, who is a first timer at the Amazon India Fashion Week, aut-winter 2018 says that even though she started her journey making garments, accessories is a genre that will only grow in the future. The travesty is that most Indian women still lust after a Louis Vuitton and don’t appreciate the handwork in a bag made out of fabric, as anything made in India is loved in Japan, but in India people find it cheap and inexpensive.

“I use many Indian crafts and embroidery techniques from Sindhi, Rabari to Kashmiri and most of my bags are in fabric (ikkat or silks, linen) with just the piping or handle executed in leather. The outline can be of Swarovski or a metal stud may be added to give it some dimension, or it may just come with a faux fur trimming,” says Nupur.

She also works with digital prints and uses canvas, duck fabric as well as hair on (pony hair, much like leather. This range was much liked by Nina Ricci as it also had little birds and bees hand embroidered on it with crystals and metals. The title of her line is “The flower doesn’t dream about the bee…it blossoms and the bee comes” much like in life, when you evolve, the doors open wide for you and that’s the philosophy of her line this time. Nupur has 30 Pashmina stoles and almost 50 bags as well as recycled jewellery that she creates out of katrans or leftover cutting. The idea behind this was to provide all year employment to women, so that even during dull months, when exports are low, they have work to do, and they are not daily wage earners, but employees of her company.

They also make earrings, brooches and key rings, creating a space in the world for upcycled things so that they don’t need to source raw material. “I think Indian women rather than buying a low-quality rip off from Bangkok should invest in a handmade bag from India only then will Made in India be really strong and meaningful,” she concludes.

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