Ishita Singh, the Managing Director of Anhad receives the Global Achievers Award 2021 for achievement in the Fashion and Home Industry. She believes in retaining Indian culture through her designer clothes. She is an art aficionado, classical dancer, music lover, and is passionate about sustainable living. Here’s an exclusive interview with Ishita Singh:
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an Indian fashion designer who built her eponymous label ANHAD. I operate my studio from Hyderabad. My philosophy is about recreating the Indianness, to wear your attitude, modest style, while keeping it extremely today to the modern world. I provide an interesting blend of tradition of textiles and techniques with the designs I create. I’m an art aficionado, a classical dancer, enjoy music and am passionate about sustainable living.
What were the challenges that you faced initially and how did you overcome them?
Being self-made is never easy and comes with its own set of nuances which are mostly unknown as these are unchartered territories. Challenges were more from the acceptability of the upbringing I come from, a teetotaler who is also vegetarian and doesn’t socialize too much. In fashion, you need to be very outgoing and network a lot which did go against her in a few situations. The most important is having a strong influential backing from the industry which wasn’t there either. Coz it’s a fact that business deals happen based on relationships and connections which are long-existing.
What has been your most significant achievement?
I have been reigning the crown of many youngest firsts, from being the first Indian to have won the prestigious CIAE award to creating awareness on Breast cancer. I have been the pioneer of very creative ideas on how to support the women’s cause and work with the government as well to create momentum and awareness across. Many a time people would like to stabilize first and then proceed, however, I have integrated giving back and taking my ecosystem i.e. society along as I have begun working which is my differentiator today.
How do you come up with new ideas?
I believe in continually adapting and innovating every single day. At NIFT they were taught to make patterns of just one and see how creative they can get. It’s only to ensure that people get creative, think the unusual and thereby create their distinct plans. It is challenging of course but the excitement of the newness overweighs it all.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Ishita Singh is all about discovering your style and having the dream and vision to express them to the world around you. The biggest inspiration for this thought comes from my mother who has grounded me with rich values. My motto is very simple and pragmatic – when time stands tall!
What motivates you?
The ability to inspire, sustain and create something new from Indian art and artisans is what motivates me every single day.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My family is an Inherent part of my life and I start and end my day with them. The newest and invaluable addition to my family is my son Jaiyaanvir who has in many ways induced a new sense of design in me. I start the day in the morning with my rituals and my son, breakfast, and then work begins. Being a working mom I have integrated both work and home In a way that I can manage things around it seamlessly. I work for about 4 hours daily and then focus on the new project which I am currently setting up completely for the women workforce on sustainable fashion. I end the day with gratitude and thanks to God for being so kind and giving me the courage.
Who do you look toward for advice?
I turn inwards when I’m looking for advice and that is typically my family – mother, husband, sister, and father. While it is a known fact that only you can decide for yourself but then seeking inputs to make an informed decision and then being a sounding board has always been very good for me.
How do you define success?
It is delightful when one becomes the epicenter of creating an economy, whether it directly involves the person or not. For instance, the Bommarillu saree look of Genelia, to PK’s dhoti kurta look in Kattamaraydu is accredited to my brand are simple yet powerful examples of the impact I have made not just on my work but also how everyone around me views their look and crave to move to it.
What are your growth plans for the next 12 months?
My steely focus is going to be on artisans, weavers, and sustainability. This should keep my focus and business on track. Looking ahead, however, the key is to identify categories that complement the needs and desires of an ever-expanding customer base, without losing focus of her core products. It can be a delicate integration — which is why my near-term focus is on providing sustainable fashion and livelihood to artisans and weavers who lost their livelihood during the pandemic.