October 13, 2022 FDCI

Engineered Shapes

An engineer by training who loves embroidery, self-taught Swapna Anumulu offers effortless pieces for occasion dressing.

By Asmita Aggarwal

You would never imagine a Telugu naming her label after a colloquial Gujarati slang “Mishru” or ‘mix’, but then Swapna Anumolu, is a non-conformist. The Hyderabad-based designer studied engineering in Chennai, as her father runs a very successful electrical engineering business, launched 40 years ago, and was keen for her to join. Life had different plans.

Swapna’s heart was in design, so while helping her father during the day, she took evening classes at NIFT, and launched her label seven years ago with unflinching encouragement from her mother, a botany teacher and husband, who runs a construction company.  “My husband told me either you do it now, or you never will, I launched my label guided by instinct, on what will work in a diverse market. My father was always apprehensive as none of us are remotely connected with fashion,” she admits.

Interestingly, when she began with a small boutique on Road No 10 in Hyderabad, the street had at least nine designer labels back then. Today, she is the only one who has survived, and that too, she admits, without having a plan or practicing any survival tactics. “Mishru represents the feeling that India is a melting pot of cultures, traditions, moods, flavours, it seemed apt, as I scribbled on my notepad during my NIFT days. Frankly, the South Indian in me was also puzzled why I would choose a name like this,” she laughs.

What has been the mainstay of the label is hand embroidery, Swapna confesses the artisans in Hyderabad are so skilled that any pattern or graph can be replicated perfectly. Though she says, the label has evolved from Kalamkaris and ikkats, when she started. “My focus remains creating new surfaces, thus the name of my FDCIxLFW line is ‘Form and Feeling’, an intermingling of fabric manipulations, with French knots and applique,” she says. This is further elevated with pearls, resham to create tree bark lines or a waterfall in her midis to bundis and jackets.

“Fusion clothing is what we concentrate on using organza with varying weights, natural crepes and pure silks. Pouf tops in buttery whites to yolk bibs as an add on to almost anything can update your wardrobe. Somewhere my engineering degree helps—it enables me to understand shapes, forms and patterns lucidly,” she concludes.

 

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