Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Brand Refresh - Varnanggall is back, and so is Aalayam!

I have been on a blog sabbatical these past few months. Mostly because I have not had to mojo to write anything. I used to think it was the lack of time that kept me away from beloved Aalayam. 

But you know something, once you get the inspiration, it’s easy to make the time.
And this time, it was really hard not be inspired by this comeback story. Yes, Lavanyaa, of the Varnanggall fame, is back  - with “Kannadi”, her new line of bespoke blouses, sarees and home décor that incorporate the multi-hued lambani work. 
The Banjara (also called Gor, Lambani, Vanjara and Gormati) are a community usually described as nomadic people from the northwestern belt of the Indian subcontinent (from Afghanistan to the state of Rajasthan) now spread out all over India. 

Banjara art is rich and includes performance arts such as dance and music to folk and plastic arts such as rangoli, textile embroidery, tattooing and painting. The Banjara embroidery and tattooing are especially prized and also form a significant aspect of the Banjara identity. Lambani women specialize in lepo embroidery which involves stitching pieces of mirror, decorative beads and coins onto clothes. 
Frequent Aalayam readers will remember Lavanyaa and her creative journey, her brainchild Varnanggall (see here), and her signature creations that have left many a gorgeous lady feeling more in tune with her inner goddess. I for one, always feel my beautiful best, when I don a Varnanggall. 
It’s something about the sensual mix of the fabrics, textures, colors that brings out the dusky diva in me. I am sure others who own or have adorned pieces from the Varnanggall line feel the same. 
If the pictures in this blog post are any testament (some pictures are staged, some are candid), you will see the inner confidence and beauty radiate from within all women wearing a Varnanggall.
For women of all social strata, we know that in today’s day and age it is important to let that inner confidence shine through… To stay resolute in the midst of naysayers, to remain steadfast in the face of challenges and stubborn obstacles.

And to remain poised in the hubbub of the world’s gargantuan expectations. 
That confidence lets us be ourselves, present our best faces to ourselves, etch a personality that is unique and memorable, a personality that shapes our temperament and our legacy, so we leave behind to our daughters a persona of strength, beauty, and belief that we can do anything we aspire to do, be anything we aspire to be. 
This philosophy is not about looking beautiful. Beauty that is skin deep, and not a derivative of inner confidence and peace, is insignificant. This philosophy is about feeling beautiful – no matter what size, what shape, what color or what age. 

This beauty is empowering. It’s a reflection of the power of woman. This is the philosophy of Varnanggall ...and quite honestly, of Lavanyaa.
And I am proud to be writing about this brand once again, here at Aalayam.

Reiterating why this brand is so close to my heart, it's the sustainable design model that Lavanyaa has embraced.  She works with the unsung heros of kalamkari, lambani and block print..the actual weavers and artisans, traveling to their home base, eliminating middle men, bringing never seen before quality, design and exquisite crafstmanship to our homes! Empowering women at every step of the supply chain.
Lavanyaa has been through a personal evolution. A lot of change has punctuated her life in the last couple of years since she was last featured here in Aalayam. She has moved continents, transitioned into a whole new paradigm personally, and philosophically. However, one thing that has remained constant, is her passion and commitment to creating signature Varnanggall designs.

Aalayam spoke to this enigmatic artiste about her latest line – Kannadi, and this is what she has to say.
" Kannadi is about Varnanggall’s revival and exploration with the bona fide "Lambani" tribe of Karnataka – an art that is nomadic and kaleidoscopic. Varnanggall showcases ancient Indian motifs with bright and intensive hand embroidery. Our artists have taken about 3-4 months to put together a complete "Kannadi" collection - beyond any doubt a package of patience and commitment. 

I hope I’ve made complete justice to this divine artistry while weaving them into my creative brain :-) "
"At times when the tides are changing in your personal space, you tend to pause a bit and perhaps relook at life on how you can realign your professional goals to function better! And that’s how I was on a creative hiatus for about two years. “Birds of a feather flock together!”  - as always my ever supporting family and good bunch of friends for life who were around , these are the people who have constantly been lending credibility to my dreams and goals."
" During this period I traveled extensively, spent time alone and worked on auditing my brand, and I was instigated on how I could restate the brand's mission statement without hampering the aesthetics tied to it. First thing first, to reinforce the loyalty that existing customers feel, second, provide them with an easy and user friendly shopping experience, third, sticking to your principles and maintaining an enduring brand value. 

At the outset I felt I was going to bite off more than I could chew, but hey, here I am, back on the horse forging stronger bonds with my creative journey! "
Well, that was simple...yet profound. 

In all the rush of everyday life, we do not pause to see if we have made someone smile, if someone will remember us for making their day brighter. I deem Lavanyaa is doing that...making someone smile..making someone's day brighter.. not just to us with her brand, but also to these rural artists whose labor of love we adorn, embrace and enjoy.

The brand value and goodwill Varnanggall is earning as a result of these smiles is ....PRICELESS! More power to you with Kannadi, Lavanyaa. We love you.

 ~KANNADI 2017~
Sale Date: 19th of March 2017
Time : 7PM IST


  1. Supriya -
    I believe in living a life with self-worth, dignity and respect and so should all the women – to make their own choices and judgements. Inspite of substantial evolution in the society we still have to face the social evils/ immoralities..this is where we build a strong community..together we rise, back and brace each other! What you’ve essayed above is a beautiful blend of what we aim for and how we achieve it.

    For me this post is all about how we both have walked up a difficult terrain and in the process strengthened our souls, energy and body. It also manifests the beautiful relationship that we share– sticking with each through highs and lows, viewing each other through a positive lens! Its my deepest pleasure to see you part of the Varnanggall ménage – you’ve seen it grow and nurtured it! Thank you for all that you do..I wish you could see me doing a "Happy Dance" now..LOL! I love you :)

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