Simple and classy. That’s trueBrowns’ Maati Collection, their festive offering, for which they have roped in the gorgeous Chitrangda Singh as the co-creator and face of the collection. The happy digital prints are an ode to the vibrant bandhni and co-ord sets, kurta sets, pre-draped saris with belts, kaftans, long dresses, skirt sets, three-piece sets like jacket kurta/blouse sets are part of the collection. Chitrangda chatted with The Telegraph on the making of the collection in which she was keenly involved and the secret to being your own person.
What attracted you to the brand?
The first time I even saw what they were doing, the designs they were working on, the idea behind it... of a modern Indian woman... there’s nothing western about it... sometimes we mistake western for being modern. Udita (Bansal, founder), who is heading it, is similar in her idea of what the modern Indian woman should be dressed like. She should be easy in her skin. Of course there has to be a sense of style about it. Even the colours we have used are earthy notes. Plus, of course, when you are designing something, it has to look nice. It’s minimal.
We have worked on the silhouettes and the style quotient, without trying hard to look stylish. It is something you can possibly go from AM to PM in. She should be confident and comfortable in them throughout the day. That was the idea. I was completely in sync and personally I am somebody who is minimal, but it is feminine and sensuous, without trying too hard. I love the name. That somewhere really stuck with me... we are ‘trueBrowns’, right to the soul (laughs).
So, you were also involved in the curation process...
When we first got talking about this, I was clear that I would want to come onboard... if I could also curate it together. There are five or six pieces that I have designed myself. I am very excited about this (laughs). This was my first time, so I was a bit of a child there (laughs) and I had fun.... There was one piece where we worked on the cuffs of the sleeves, on the neckline in one of them....
I have had my ups and downs... but now today, how I feel is that I am so glad that I went through the lows, insecurities, weak moments because that is character-building. Today I can say that probably, I don’t know, a sense of strength, some kind of a resolve to carry on and let not anything bog you down and that you are better than the situation is making you feel. If you invest in that kind of an emotion and belief in yourself, you come out stronger.... One day at a time
What from your personal experience of being a working woman and your interactions with other working women have gone into the pieces?
I am not someone who does too much bling personally. I will be in jeans and a shirt, but there will be some kind of a style quotient too. I wanted to create something that is easy for Indian women. There is a certain environment we live in. So, it has to blend in, in that way. It is easy sensuality. There is a yellow sari which I love out of the whole collection. It is dressy, but easy to wear. We have put pants under that. The fabric flows and that’s what adds to the sensuality of the piece. Sometimes I feel it’s the fabric and the cut which can do the whole job.
What did you discover about yourself while designing the collection?
I got even more involved than I thought I would in the beginning. Slowly as we started discussing the designs, we got even more excited about the fabric, the colour and how we can skip adding any work on the pieces, by adding a richer colour. I was also interested in how necklines can add so much sensuality to a piece. When the blouses were being done, we kept the necklines traditional. They almost look like cholis... It’s classic, but it’s got a modern take on it.
The collection is for real women. What does being real mean to you at this point?
Body positivity. You cannot look like an European model... those bodies are different. The cuts and the fabrics have to complement the Indian body type by making them feel confident.... Maybe a statement piece of jewellery is all you can add to it. Body positivity is all about being confident of who you are and what you are inside of those clothes.
What would you tell young girls who are obsessed with perfection? Health is so much more important than looking a certain way, right?
An American woman who is size 10 could be far fitter than your size two. It’s body types and it’s got nothing to do with perfection. I don’t know what perfection really means. It’s such an individual thing. If you want to be an individual who stands out for uniqueness, you can’t possibly be looking like every second or third person. We really need to emphasise on being unique. And, that’s everything.
A lot of fashion brands like trueBrowns are offering various sizes. Do you think that is the need of the hour and fashion should be all-embracing?
Totally. Fashion is all about style and has nothing to do with sizes. Vidya (Balan)... I think she is such a great example of the personality carrying herself and how. Personality shines over everything. Like how age is just a number, I think we should start seeing sizes as just a number because you should stand out and not your clothes.
“trueBrowns is an urban-ethnic lifestyle brand. We believe in functional clothing that is versatile and easy to wear. Pieces that are versatile, comfortable and trans-season. Clothes made for the Indian woman, rooted in culture but modern in her approach. We are a homegrown brand, inspired by Indian culture and heritage. Each of our products, brand language and ethos is rooted to Indian culture. ‘Brown’ being the colour connotation of roots, hence trueBrowns.... With Chitrangda not conforming to the traditional beauty standards laid out in the country and being a woman of substance, leading life on her own terms, devoid of succumbing to societal norms, the brand could not have found a better representative to endorse its ideology. A pink bandhni printed lehnga set (our first time doing lehnga), a co-ord set in light green with a zig-zag print (co-ords are our bestsellers), pre-stitched sari and also anti-fit kaftans that are really trending right now, are my favourites from the collection
Udita Bansal, founder, trueBrowns
You have been your own person. How have you led your life?
(Laughs) I have had my ups and downs. There’s no such way that you start the journey by feeling all in control, all confident, but now today, how I feel is that I am so glad that I went through the lows, insecurities, weak moments because that is character-building. Today I can say that probably, I don’t know, a sense of strength, some kind of a resolve to carry on and let not anything bog you down and that you are better than the situation is making you feel. If you invest in that kind of an emotion and belief in yourself, you come out stronger. It will take a long time, but I think somewhere, somehow, I have managed to stick to that. I don’t think I would be the person I am today if it was all good, good, good.... I think I am a far more compassionate person, a far more intelligent person than I was 20 years back. I am thankful for everything I have been through. One day at a time.
Who are the women you look up to?
If we are talking about fashion and style, I don’t think anyone has been able to beat Rekhaji, of what she managed to do in the ’80s. Then there is Simi Garewal, who has her own minimal style. Of course Smita Patil. That’s another example of how personality towers over everything.