Be it a wedding or a special occasion, scarves and stoles can instantly add finesse to an outfit, especially when they are handcrafted, embellished and drape well. To bridge the gap between the demand for luxury shawls and Indian heritage, Jyotika Jhalani’s started her venture Janavi India in 1998.
Inspired by nature, love, beauty and energy, the handcrafted cashmere creations showcase the art of Kashmiri embroidery and craftsmanship to the global world. Recognized for its old-world charm, bold use of colours, whimsical motifs, embellishments and techniques, Janavi India launched its new collection Lightly recently. Inspired by the lightness of being, movement, and performance, Jyotika Jhalani has taken inspiration from performers of ballet and their fluid movements. Luxebook caught up with the founder to know more about her design philosophy.
Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the new Janavi India collection Lightly.
Lightly to me really means just that; life has to be taken lightly, it has to be felt almost like a feather. The collection has a lot of warmth, colours and hues that are very winter-y but yet it all feels so fresh and whimsical.
Lightly is a collection that has been inspired by almost every mood of mine, it is called lightly because it embodies the spirit of the magic that was created by each artisan. Our latest collection is enveloped in cashmere and merino wool, with lighter frills of organza and silk. This season is one of celebration. So we see a lot of deep hues of burgundy, indigo and gunmetal with crystal, metallic beads and threads, sometimes garlanded with Chantilly lace. The reason why I was inspired to use ballerinas to shoot this collection is because I wanted this collection to be a symphony of dance and music.
How was your brand conceived?
The story of my brand is about a woman who wanted to show what craftsmanship is, what India is all about, and why it is so important to enhance the quality of a product and take it to becoming the best in the world.
We aim to bring the world together through wearable pieces of art. We have been working with international brands and it’s very easy to think of a design in Paris, NewYork, and Milan but the artisans of India make them come to life.
With each piece that we create, we put a stamp of authenticity on designs being created by artisans who have been trained over generations in a country that has not been given its due. I think a lot of the heritage of our country is our art and that is what my story is all about, even though I come from Kashmir where there is a beautiful story yet to be told.
Scarves and stoles have changed immensely in the last few decades, what are your thoughts?
Scarves and stoles such as the pashmina shawl have been worn traditionally, as have paisleys, kani and shahtoosh shawls. And these are still being worn all over the world — they are heirlooms which are passed on.
The Janavi India Shawl today for me is a woman’s possession that she can take everywhere with her. When I started my brand I always thought about the shawl replacing the jacket. It’s something you can put into your bag and not worry about the weather changing anywhere in the world. You can walk out in Dubai which is 45°, but when you walk into a mall it’s really really cold, you can simply throw on a shawl. You can pull out your shawl when you get out of your house in London in the month of May or June when it’s nice and summery but it suddenly comes down with a spot of rain and you don’t have to carry your trench coat. Shawls to me are not just an accessory to keep yourself warm but also create a fashion statement.
Janavi India’s each shawl can make you feel like a brand new person. It’s like carrying a handbag, and changing your little black dress. A Janavi India shawl can change your whole look if you can belt it up and belt it like a scarf you feel like you are wearing a piece of jewellery.
What makes the Janavi India designs and approach different from all others?
Our approach is very simple. I think what we talk about great design and quality. Also our design philosophy is not about following trends necessarily. I don’t necessarily follow colour palettes that are given by any particular trending forecast.
I think what we are doing is creating and recreating, and making sure that a woman feels absolutely secure and very very fashionable in Janavi’s creations — she should feel like she is herself.
How does Janavi India work towards preserving the craft?
I have not necessarily worked with designers to create designs rather, I have given each one of my artisans a shawl I like as a canvas. They have created masterpieces from their imagination and have given their best to this brand. That’s why we have been able to create designs that are not just impressions and inspirations from Pinterest but different kinds of inspirations from places.
I think in colour, so I have a lot of colour in my inspiration or my travels. My artisans bring it alive by creating my vision through beautiful embroideries, weaves and paintings. Everything that we do at Janavi is filled with love and dedication and art.
Throw light on a few draping styles that are in vogue for men and women.
The way you can drape your shawl is really your own style. Knotting it up like an eight (8) is great for a man, and making a loop around your neck is great. For women, I think draping it on your shoulder or belting it up around your waist is very lovely, otherwise draping it around your shoulder is the most elegant way.
How can one use a scarf for Indian and western wear?
Well, as far as an Indian accessory you can always wear it with a saree or an Indian outfit by just draping it on your shoulders and coordinating it with the salwar suit where instead of your dupatta you could wear a shawl. And for western wear, you can just wear it as it is to keep yourself warm or drape it around your neck and have it as a trendy accessory.
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