Karishma Swali is a renowned designer with a brand and an institution already under her belt (co-founder of Jade and Chanakya School of Craft), butmoonray is different for her. This is the first time Karishma’s creative partner and sounding board is her daughter Avantika Swali—who represents a different generation and brings a whole new set of values to the brand. While the ace designer’s ideology has deeply been rooted in promoting crafts and artisans, Avantika’s fresh perspective and non-confirming taste in fashion allow them to marry experience with energy.
As the brand completes one year, the mother-daughter duo is all set to launch an evening-wear collection that is authentic to their comfort-first aesthetic but with strategic elements of maximalism. In an exclusive conversation with ELLE, Karishma talks about their newest line, sync and synergy and what the future hold for moonray.
ELLE: moonray completed a year. How has the journey been so far?
Karishma Swali: “Time flies, it certainly has been a year filled with excitement, learning and celebrating small wins. At moonray, we enjoy learning about our ever-evolving artisanal landscape and finding innovative ways to celebrate craft and modernity. For us, it’s been a year of fostering excellence in craft, and we hope for many more. moonray is for the present and future—or everyone to be their own ray of hope. The brand shares the same values that inform our work with the craft collective at Chanakya International and the Chanakya School of Craft—we celebrate timeless, cruelty-free, craft-conscious fashion that is luxurious, inclusive, and accessible.
ELLE: While you’ve always worked with a partner, how was it to work with your daughter and find a middle ground between a generational gap?
KS: “Avantika’s creative inputs and illustrations are informed by hope, positivity, and certainty that collectively our choices can make a difference. Her young mind always brings a fresh creative perspective, innovation and compassion to the drawing board. We co-founded moonray as a conscious fashion brand that tells the story of young artists everywhere through innovation and craft. I believe that Avantika’s generation fearlessly advocates for change—collective creativity, inclusion and a sense of community are values she holds strongly. Of course, there is a natural connection we feel with Gen Z; a generation that can harness design excellence, inclusion, and universal love to do good. Together, we work towards a common goal—for craft to be integrated into our everyday lives and for fashion to become a celebration of freedom, and culture and to make deeper connections in our inner and outer worlds.”
ELLE: Tell us about moonray’s evening edit.
KS: “moonray’s evening edit ‘total internal reflection’ is the first in the series of our limited-edition silver moon capsules. We are inspired by a phenomenon that occurs when an object reflects a hundred per cent of the light passing through it. With this collection, we truly indulge our flair for luxe and embellishments, proposing a sense of glamour without detracting from comfort. Expect hand-embroidered crystal chains that add a high-impact attitude to body-friendly silhouettes; beaded embroideries symbolic of reflection and refraction and accessories like elbow-length gloves, bags, belts, and brooches with fringe details in silver. We also have a range of age-agnostic and shape-agnostic styles: a shimmering skirt in stretchy knit, an ankle-length dress with a metallic overlap detail and tops and dresses anchored by grid-like patterns of microbeads. The evening edit borrows from the notion of ‘inner light’ with experiments on light and dark, transparent, and opaque, bright, and dim.”
ELLE: moonray has found its space in the luxury, easy chic, everyday wear section—will the evening edit be contrasting with its otherwise minimal aesthetic or will it be complementing?
KS: “The evening edit, as part of the silver moon capsules, gives us the opportunity to bring Chanakya’s couture sensibilities to the forefront. And in an effort to create a brand that is built on the foundation of inclusion, this range is comprised of luxury, limited-edition pieces at accessible prices.”
ELLE: What are your future plans with moonray? Besides clothing and jewellery, is designing accessories and shoes on your radar?
KS: “Conscious fashion means treading slowly and carefully — this applies to anything we create from clothing and accessories to collectables like art and objects. It is of utmost importance to us to stay true to ourselves and build a community through meaningful collaborations. In the future, we would like to design collections that are futuristic but guided by the wisdom of our craft legacies. We have a range of jewellery and would love to make a natural extension into accessories soon. Slowly, but surely, we would love to grow our community worldwide, propelled by universal love and timeless fashion. Always driven by compassion, we will continue to invest 50% of moonray’s profits in children’s education and animal welfare through registered not-for-profit organisations.”