The Cool Kid Code With Balav

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Tej Datar

Young, wild, fresh, and chic. These words perfectly describe the newly launched luxury streetwear brand Balav. With a versatile colour palette and experimental cuts, its pieces stand to inspire you, whether your style icon is Bella Hadid or Olivia Rodrigo. Think oversized pieces in cool colourways, statement trousers, and conversation starter details such as raw edges and upturned pockets. Balav’s recent collaboration at ELLE Graduates 2022 for a fashion presentation with Crocs was a definite head-turning moment. Sharvari Wagh stole the spotlight in a chic, edgy pop colour ensemble. We’re in conversation with Vaishnavi Bala:

ELLE: What’s your vision for Balav?

VAISHNAVI BALA (VB): Balav, as the name suggests, is a play on my name, Vaishnavi Bala. The brand is a reflection of my personality blended with culture and art and aims to normalise experimental fashion as a medium of self-expression while breaking down gender barriers. If you’ve had a look at the brand socials, there are two reactions: either your question is, ‘What the heck is going on here?’ or you instantly vibe with the mood. The goal is to sell a way of life, something to which people can relate, a mood that may be strange for some, but is a way of life for the rest.

ELLE: We hear you do a lot of upcycling. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

VB: All our fabric leftovers are used in patchworks or different techniques to make newer products that are 100 per cent handcrafted since the fabric is created using bits and pieces put together in colour palettes and moods. What do we do with the smaller cut-outs that can’t be patched? We make little iron cushions and use these as stuffing. So by the end of the process, everything has been carefully thought of and used to add value—to our brand and the ecosystem.

ELLE: Logomania is the mood for luxury brands currently, and you have come up with your wash-care patch as a brand element; what is the idea behind it?

VB: As a consumer, I hated the idea of the wash-care label on the inside. One, because it’s so itchy and irritates the skin. Two, I was always so lazy that I honestly never bothered checking the inside for care instructions and eventually ended up ruining my clothes. The whole point of a wash-care label is to help a consumer understand maintenance; what better way to do that than to have it upfront and use it as a design feature?

Sharvari Wagh’s photo courtesy: Tej Datar

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- Digital Writer


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