Aneeth Arora draws inspiration from local ways of dressing across India and the rich palette of regional Indian weaving traditions and crafts. Her designs and beguiling catwalk shows have drawn much attention from proponents of “eco fashion” across the world, where her elegant take on traditional Indian textiles and crafts has struck a chord.
Many Indian designers also have to negotiate an international market which often expects certain things of them. For some designers, the ways in which they use craft becomes a politics of reinvention and resurgence, highlighting the role of fashion in the waves of economic and social change currently sweeping across India today.
As an Indian designer being brought into the spotlight of international attention towards sustainable fashion, inevitably it is in ideas of crafts and their inherent Indianess that resonates the “eco” and “sustainable” element Aneeth’s work.
Yet the term “eco” fashion is only at best a useful shorthand for a range of cross-cutting ethical and environmental challenges, and it doesn’t begin to capture the complexity and beauty of Aneeth’s work with her label Pero– which means “to wear” in Marwari, a local language of Rajasthan in North India. She produces women’s and menswear under the Pero label, and more recently branched out into children’s wear under the name Chota Pero (Chota is Hindi for small).
Aneeth lights up when she speaks of the design process and ways in which she works with Indian crafts, translating these into a contemporary high fashion. She clearly relishes her job and it shows in the collections which are executed and styled with brillant flair. Layering is one of the things that defines Aneeth’s interpretation of local dressing for an international audience. Making sense of the rich diversity of Indian crafts, Aneeth’s collections have great continuity across colour, texture, print and style. Each collection is hand crafted and each piece passes through five to six craftspeople in its making.
Visiting her studio in Delhi is a treat. The sense of creative energy and play is tangible and I’m soon delving into a treasure trove of small beautiful things she has collected.
There are the rails of clothes from her past few collections, hanging like the promise of serene summer dressing. Cool and crisp white shirts with interesting seam and pocket detailing, loose tops with vivid bursts of flowers, wide flowing pants.
Then there are scarves, which mix tough madras checks with elegant embroidery and intricately detailed borders.
Aneeth has built great success in just three years since launching Pero and is considered one of the young Indian designers to watch out for.