Who’s the latest fashionista you should be following? Meet Fashion Designer: Anisha Kumar, who is shaking it up, with her debut at Toronto’s 2019 Fashion Week. Anisha Kumar has been turning heads, serving up top looks from the East and West in her latest collection for everyday wear. The best part- this trendsetter, is making strides on and off the runway by being a leader in responsible sourcing.
What is the inspiration behind your collection?
I have always loved the way fashion can bring people together, intertwining ideas of beauty. I find the intricate embroidery found in India to be unparalleled. Yet I have this weak spot for the sleek lines and neutral colors you’ll find in Toronto’s designer boutiques. My collection can be considered a melting pot incorporating elements from both cultures. When it comes to fashion, I strive to broaden perspective and create more choice.
How would you describe your style?
Ever-evolving, my style has always been inspired by how I want to feel, and like most designers, I love the story behind pieces. When I was younger, I embraced my inner tomboy. Once first entering the corporate realm, I would slip into smart business dresses that allowed me to enter a room with confidence. At this point in my life, I look for natural fabrics; I seek out simple, timeless looks that can be made interesting with a unique accent.
What message were you trying to communicate to your audience with your latest collection that debuted in Toronto Fashion Week 2019? How does your choice of music factor in?
Music is significant to me. It brought my collection to life by solidifying what I wanted to express in words. I wanted to tell the story of female empowerment. To bring the audience into that world, I started the show with “A Woman’s Worth” by Alicia Keys. I eventually transition into “Wild Horses Run Faster” by Bishop Briggs and finally “We Run The World” by Beyoncé.” I spent many hours reading and learning lyrics and working out the time stamps sec to sec to capture my audience.
What are some of the challenges designers face?
The market is saturated, resulting in fierce competition, so I push myself to be as innovative as possible. I also challenge myself to be mindful when creating, with regards to recycling practices that help save the planet. Finally, as a designer its important to me to create body positivity concerning how people feel when wearing my collection.
Some of your beautiful couture embroideries are made overseas. What measures do you take to make clothes ethical and sustainable concerning labor and materials?
I try to start by asking the right questions. As a designer, you have to investigate the process of producing garments, as it impacts society on a global level. So when I traveled to India in 2018, I was not shy about interviewing everyone involved. I asked how the fabrics are dyed and asked people about their environment, to ensure work safety was a priority. It is essential to look for new sustainable materials. Currently, I am exploring how orange peals and pineapples can be re-purposed into the material.
What is your greatest career highlight to date?
The day I decided to take a chance on myself by leaving my comfortable 9-5 in exchange for the unknown while pursuing my passion for design. It was the scariest leap, but the alternative was secretly wondering if there was more to life, a lack of fulfillment, and at the very worst panic attacks. You owe it to yourself to go after your wildest dreams!
Tell us about your journey as a fashion designer
Like all things organic, my path was not a straight arrow. My first assignment was on Trash Fusion Fashion, back at Mississauga Secondary, where I crafted a garment made from recycled materials. I eventually moved onto theatre costumes and even created a custom made wedding dress for a client. Fashion always ignited me from the inside, but once in university, I chose a traditional path, earning a Bachelors’ Degree in Business from the University of Toronto. However, with passing time, I would soon realize that design was a piece of me I could no longer ignore. So I eventually found my way back to my true passion-design. For Toronto Fashion week 2019, I even had one of my original models from High School help showcase my latest collection. It was a privilege to see my journey come full circle.
What is your favorite item in your studio?
I’m old school, so I love my sketchbook. I love the flexibility a pencil to paper lends since you can be anywhere when inspiration strikes.
Would you ever consider expanding your business beyond clothing or taking on new collaborations?
I am just at the beginning of my designing career, representing a small drop in the ocean for what’s to come. The options are endless; I dream of expanding to accessories, creating a feature on street style, and even diving into fashion in film. As my brand grows, I want it to transcend limitations, to hopefully create a home for all creative communities from various artistic backgrounds.