In honor of Earth Day, I had the pleasure of interviewing Boston-based, eco-friendly designer Avni Trivedi. Avni's self-titled line, Avni, fuses the designer’s Eastern heritage and Western lifestyle. Avni offers unique, contemporary clothing, and all fabrics are 100% hand-dyed and woven according ancient, environment friendly techniques. Launched in 2010, Avni is already being carried at boutiques across the country, including close by in Rhode Island.
1. Tell us how you started out as a designer and launched Avni.
I have harbored a strong passion for textile arts for as long as I can remember. My mother and I used to scout out artisan fairs for hand-embroidered fabrics from little villages in Western India. We would make innovative traditional clothing from these fabrics that created a unique wardrobe with lots of interesting stories and details. When I moved to the U.S., I had a strong feeling of nostalgia that kept bringing me back to my passion for hand-made clothes. I started to sketch designs that would amalgamate my strong passion for traditional textile arts and western fashion, and that was when the idea of Avni was born.
2. How does the hand-dye process work?
The hand-dye process begins with the creation of the dyes from herbs and flowers. The drying process can take a few days after which the dried ingredients are powdered and ready to be used for the coloring. For our textures we use Japanese Shibori techniques that make our garments unique and elegant. My artisans and I are always playing with colors and textures, and a lot of our fabrics are derived from this fun experimenting.
3. What/who inspires you?
There are three things that inspire me: culture, music, and people. I am very inspired by folk and artisan culture, including traditional garments and jewelry. I love to travel and have enjoyed observing cultural nuances in rural India, Egypt, South Korea, China, Japan, and Turkey, to name a few. Music has always been a driving force for my imagination and helps me formulate the look and feel of every collection. Last, but not the least, is my inspiration from people. I like to bring out various characteristics of women in my designs. Our Warrior Queen collection was inspired by the contrasting aspects of a woman's personality. The 'sweet' and 'spice', that makes each woman unique, strong, and passionate.
4. Who are your favorite designers?
I absolutely love Donna Karan’s style. Her drapes and elegant silhouettes are very inspiring. I also adore the eclectic designs of Hussein Chalayan, especially his take on Japanese culture. Eileen Fisher continues to be my idol businesswoman. I love the fact that she has built an empire of classy clothing and not wavered from her core ideologies that propagate free trade and organic fabrics.
5. How does your personal taste and style reflect in your designs?
My individual style changes on a daily basis. Some days I tend to put on a more classic and clean look, some days I will go for bohemian chic. It all depends on my mood. But, I always like to add something unexpected to my outfit with color, draping or accessories. I like to have that element of surprise that really makes each outfit stand. I try to reflect this in my designs by juxtaposing structured silhouettes with irregular necklines, sharp pleats and soft drapes, and dark earth tones with warm fiery colors.
6. If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 items, what would they be?
My iPhone, Tarte lip gloss, and a sketch book with pencils.
7. What is next for Avni?
I believe 2011 is going to be a big year for my brand. We are putting all our efforts toward really growing the wholesale market, and my vision is to see Avni in major boutiques in U.S by end of this year. We are also stepping up our efforts to reach our consumers with runway shows and trunk shows. I am also going to continue to add more textile arts under our umbrella- even go outside my Indian realm to work with other countries to uplift a variety of indigenous arts. I am also looking forward to continuously improving our green and sustainable methods in dyeing and fabric making. I have a lot of artisans who are very interested in natural dyeing and I think giving them the knowledge to do so will go a long way.
8. Anything else you’d like to share?
Traditional textile industries that employ hundreds of artisans are slowly dying in India. This has caused many artisans to lose their livelihood, and there have been cases where many have committed suicide, as they are unable to deal with the stress. Our brand hopes to shed new light on their work through our designs and philosophy. We are striving to propagate these arts and economically uplift the lives of the artisans.
Thanks to miamore communications for the photos.