Organic café, interiors, menswear, there are many plans in the floral printed life of Charu Parasher
By Asmita Aggarwal
For 25 years Mohini Kakkar, a buying manager, wore woven saris to work at Central Cottage Industries, with a large red bindi. Closely observing her was her young daughter Charu Parasher, who on Saturdays, would accompany her to see her interact with weavers showcasing their products from all over the country. This left a lasting impression on a young mind, which propelled her towards starting her label sixteen years ago.
Charu began her ascent into design when she was in college, borrowing Rs 20,000 from her mother and opening a small, block printing unit. The first line was bought entirely by Meena Bazaar and it gave her the impetus and motivation, she was on the right track.
The ethos of the brand rests on Indian ethnic luxury, where everything is done painstakingly, especially hand embroidery, in an effort to keep crafts alive. “I started with prints and it has been my strongest point, but I had to digitise them as we faced issues of bleeding while exporting. I work with chintz, and florals have been my inspiration for a decade now,” she explains.
For every brand to remain relevant, when you have a flood of designers coming in every year, can be a challenge. And most naysayers believe, infusing fresh blood is the only way to sustain. That’s why Charu’s younger son Arjun has joined the business, after studying international hospitality, he is now ready to leave for Parsons, New York.
Street wear mixed with prints, can be attributed to Arjun, who helped his mom launch the menswear line, a first for the label. “Many clients would request me to make clothes for their brother or husband. When Arjun joined the business he offered to help; we are showcasing a few looks from our line this season,” she confirms. Track suits, tees, bomber jackets come with a flush of colours, displaying Charu’s unabashed affection for everything vivacious in a range that begins at Rs 3,000 and ends at Rs 15,000.
Fabrics play an integral part of every designer’s vision, for Charu, khadi silk is her playing ground, that she sources in pristine white and then prints it. “They become so elaborate when we translate them on to skirts that you can wear them for even destination weddings. This time for women’s wear I have used knit and stretch for the first time,” she confirms.
The world is changing and Charu has understood to survive, change is imminent. Her bridal offerings are lighter, less embellished and she is creating outfits for her LMIFW’19 line, which can be multi-functional. Layering helps the client decide how she can pair all the four pieces in any way she wants—jackets, skirts, tunics, dhotis, that can go from day to night and are not complicated. “I know the fashion space is moving towards minimalism and easy going, but there are some who also love structure and construction, I cater to that lot,” she smiles.
Charu looks at fashion not through an artistic lens, but commerce and admits, if you are not commercially successful, it is “the end” of your ideology. “I do want to move into the eco-friendly space and work with ideas, interpretations and fabrics that minimise pollution and incur less harm on the already fragile environment,” she says.
Fashion is a ruthless world and Charu believes the options to grow and evolve are easier now as you don’t need a brick and mortar store, with the parallel burgeoning online universe, a choice she did not have the liberty to make two decades earlier. “I want my label to grow and I do think about doing interiors as beautiful homes have been a passion. I would like to also open an organic café, it is a dream project,” she concludes.