New fashion label to love: Buna

Designer Pallavi Shantam started her brand in 2017, almost 15 years after graduating from National Institute Of Fashion Technology, Gandhinagar. The urge to initiate a new chapter—after cofounding a visual design consultancy firm and travelling through Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal, the hubs of Indian craftsmanship—led to the birth of Buna. Her workshop may be based out of Vasant Kunj in New Delhi, but her fabrics are hand spun and handwoven in West Bengal and block printed in Rajasthan. Most recently, she has incorporated handwoven wool from Himachal Pradesh into the Fall/Winter 2018-19 collection.

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ELLE: What is Buna’s key design philosophy?
Pallavi Shantam: The label is inspired by the incredible locals, diverse craft traditions and the serenity that lies in India’s chaos, something I experienced during my travels. The idea is to make universal clothing that reflects Indian heritage, using sustainable and zero-waste methods. Ancient textile practices in our country have been ecological—like khadi, which has a very low carbon footprint, and is much richer and more breathable than its machine-made counterpart. I love it because its irregularities and imperfections tell tales of its handcrafted origin. The forms and silhouettes of my designs are kept minimal and understated. The wearer’s comfort and the fabric’s movement drive the design sensibility.

ELLE: Tell us more about the lamps you also design under your label.
PS: Crochet and macramé are crafts from Uttar Pradesh, which is where I come from. I wanted to give them a modern spin [by incorporating them in lighting]. These artists, based in Meerut, are mostly women homemakers. For me, the process is as important as the product, and the collaborative effort creates something really unique and experiential.

ELLE: What makes the latest collection special?
PS: ‘Time Whisperer’ is the self-expression of a woman absorbed in her thoughts. The line seeks to revive memories of a bygone era and the romance that comes in its wake, with retro stripes, dots and ditsy woven hearts. It has a dusty palette of pinks, mustard, ecru and charcoal. I also really enjoyed making shoes for this collection.


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