Co-founded by mother daughter duo Karishma and Avantika Swali, moonray is fashioned from diverse handcrafted viewpoints from around the world and is motivated by timelessness. Having opened their Mumbai flagship store just last year, the brand’s penchant for taking large strides is corroborated by the upcoming launch of their flagship store in Dhan Mill compound, New Delhi.
Designed in tandem with moonray’s vision and ethos, the interiors run congruent to the minimal sensibilities of the young label. What better time to catch up with the founder Karishma Swali, also the creative director at Chanakya School of Craft, to discuss the quintessential moonray woman, brand expansion and of course, their new store in the capital.
ELLE: Kindly tell us about the decor, location and ethos of your new flagship store in Delhi.
Karishma Swali (KS): moonray’s flagship store in the capital is built to embody the rarity and timelessness of craft while being an evolving space that will continue to grow to a larger format later this year. Invisible and intuitive, the store situated within the Dhan mill compound, is a contemporary oasis with an all-white landscape and amorphous interiors designed in-house by the moonray craft collective. The organic forms create the illusion of weightlessness provoking a contemplative dialogue between contemporary and timeless craft.
Sustainable materials such as hand-coated limestone against terrazzo flooring create a visually calm, biophilic design. The furniture is subtle, seamlessly merging into the background and harmonising with the muted colour scheme. At the heart, sits a laurel fig tree to echo moonray’s profound respect for nature and love for the planet.
ELLE: How do you manage to run moonray with the congruence of luxury and conscious ideals, given the brand identifies as a purveyor of both.
KS: The virtuosity of Indian hand-craftsmanship should be celebrated in more ways than one. Our label, moonray, celebrates the organic evolution of Indian handcraft and traditional techniques by transforming them into contemporary, timeless design. We work actively with master-artisans to innovate upon design and the evolution of luxury while honing their inherent talent to preserve our craft heritage. Our designs reflect the intricate handcrafted details of macrame, crochet, applique, hand painting, and tie-dye — all traditional techniques that work wonderfully for a modern language for craft.
With moonray’s conscious sensibilities, we hope to build resilient supply chains that provide desirable jobs, fosters skill, and empower vulnerable groups. We are committed to playing a part in helping to create a better and more inclusive world.
ELLE: What is the quintessential moonray woman like? Describe the biggest chunk of your clientele.
KS: The quintessential moonray woman is conscious, compassionate and a fiercely independent thinker! She is always discerning and led by purpose and craft appreciation while seeking exclusive, meticulously crafted pieces that embody artistry and authenticity. The moonray woman embodies a refined taste, combining elegance and individuality to create a unique style statement.
ELLE: Honouring craft has always been crucial for moonray as one of its core values. In what ways do we, as potential customers, see it translated in the form of your sartorial offerings?
KS: We are blessed to be part of a culture in which inspiration for both craft and conscious living can be found in every corner. With every collection, we explore craft’s endless possibilities. With this collection, we explore the constant shifting of molecules as matter changes state, evident in the densely embroidered beads on crochet dresses and intricately handcrafted lace collars featuring contemporary variations of needlepoint techniques. the moonstone series is a playful interpretation of the solid state using semi-precious gemstones on liquid-like crochet knit fabric. the bubble drift series with beaded circular cut-outs on the hems and pockets are reminiscent of an interplay between solid and vapour.
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: What is moonray’s brand philosophy?
KS: moonray is a celebration of craft and modernity. Inspired by timelessness and rarity and forged from global artisanal perspectives, luxury ready-to-wear brand moonray draws upon craft’s endless possibilities for a contemporary aesthetic balanced between minimal and maximal codes. moonray is the story of young artists everywhere, advocating that the magic of artisans lives forever. Ethically and consciously crafted contemporary collections are at the heart of moonray’s philosophy.
ELLE: moonray has quickly climbed the ranks and achieved a cult-status of sorts. How do you want the next 5 years of the brand to look like?
KS: We feel very fortunate as moonray has in a short time garnered recognition for its conscious craft-based contemporary fashion-building community across the world – a community that appreciates its unique blend of design excellence, craft, and inclusivity. After the success of our flagship store launch in Mumbai in August 2022, we are now expanding our presence in the capital with the opening of the New Delhi store at the Dhan Mill. moonray will soon array into men’s wear and fine jewellery as well.
As creators of luxury craft for the world’s finest brands for close to 40 years at Chanakya, we have had the great fortune of experiencing the joy of craft that our incredible heritage offers and learn from its innate wisdom. Together we can reclaim our future, one that is cleaner, more kind and reconnects us to our outer and inner worlds. Slowly but surely, we would love to grow our community worldwide – a community propelled by universal love where respect, conscious and timeless fashion co-exist in harmony. Deeply committed to inclusion, 50% of all moonray profits will always be invested in children’s education and animal welfare through registered not-for-profit organisations.