KOCHI: Bindu Nair worked as a journalist for 17 years in Mumbai and Delhi before she decided to actively pursue her passion — fashion designing. So, when she decided to take a break from her busy work life in 2017, she returned to Kerala, to her parents’ home in Palakkad. In early 2018, Ela was born.
Her new collection ‘Thooval’Comfort is at its best with, which is almost ready to go. The designs are made from lightweight, extremely comfortable fabric from Madhya Pradesh. The collection includes a range of white tops and boyfriend shirts.
Thooval is a very limited collection. “These designs are fashionable in every season. In South India, even now, when many are releasing winter designs, I am bringing out strap sleeve dresses that can be used all year,”She adds.
Bindu prefers designs in light colors, such as indigo and grey, even though the vibrant designs with Indian motifs sell out faster. “They are universal colours that can be worn anywhere anytime by anyone. At least I feel so,” she quips.
Road so far
“Back when I came home in 2017, I was travelling around, going to exhibitions and such. But then I thought why not do something on my own and that is when the idea to set up a niche clothing line came about, “ says Bindu. It took plenty of trial and error, learning about different fabrics and how to source them, and working on comfortable and elegant designs. “I knew from the beginning what I wanted to make — comfortable handloom apparel. So, I sourced fabric from Kuch in Gujarat, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala. Since I use a lot of coloured fabric, I use the ones I source from outside Kerala more. It also made sense because mine is a small production, I couldn’t manage the white yarns well,”She adds.
Her niche collections in indigo and grey, as well as pastel shades, have made her standout among South India’s homegrown brands. “Clothes that will essentially make you feel good. That’s what I wanted so I decided to provide the same to my customers. Handloom has a natural elegance to it that other materials fail to provide,”She said.
Bindu also sells bookmarks and tote bags through her label. “One day, I was travelling through Fort Kochi. Two boys decided to wave tease me. They didn’t know I knew Malayalam. I immediately said “onnu podo”Then, one of them burst into laughter. This became a designIn my tote bag “ She recollects. Her latest tote collection asks the classic Malayali opening line, “Nattil evideya?”.
Ela’s collection is quite personal to Bindu. Bindu is involved in every aspect of her brand, from designing fabric to marketing and modeling, as well as choosing the fabric.