Interview By MIRANDA ROGERS MCDONALD
What is your fashion view?
Fashion is a visible extension of oneâ€™s personality.Â After my experiences in design school, I came to realize how fun and fearless fashion should be. Seeing a student sport a black cape, pink hair and roller skates to class taught me to wear what I love and to make a statement. Fashion is a method of displaying one’s creativity, and in special moments it can spark a little imagination.
How do you describe your style?
Eclectic, bohemian, vintage, classic and conscious.
What are your favorite pieces?
My absolute favorite piece is a red, vintage, Ralph Lauren duck pattern button up that I found in the back of my Momâ€™s closet. I love the history behind it and all of the events it has witnessed. My favorite accessory is a scarf. It is rare that I walk out of the house without one. This is also why our first Anchal accessory was a scarf. The scarves, created by Anchal artisans, are made from vintage saris and provide the perfect statement piece for any outfit. As far as work is concerned, my outfits do not vary too much from my personal life to the office. However, my outfits shift when I travel to India and work with the artisans. I trade in my beat up boots for sandals and tank tops for long loose tops. Comfort and coverage are a priority there. However, one piece always remains, and that is the scarf.
Are there any trends, or pieces, that you are looking forward to buying\wearing for Fall?
Urban Outfittersâ€™ Anchal x Urban Renewal Collection, of course! Each piece is one-of-a-kind, contains portions of hand-sewn quilts that are made from vintage saris and made by Anchalâ€™s talented artisans. Not only is each piece beautiful and unique, but they also impact the life of the woman who made it. The leather and quilted pieces are by far my favorite. Beyond that, I am on the hunt for a killer pair of short grey booties.
Where is your favorite place to shop?
I like to mix things up between vintage and consignment shops for my statement pieces, and go to J.Crew for staple pieces. I also rarely turn down a trip to Anthropologie and love to drop into Bloomingdales when I am in NYC. However, my favorite looks come from either my momâ€™s closet, or my Aunt Susanâ€™s basement.
Has your career affected your outfit choices?
I am much more conscious about where and how clothing is made. Having witnessed the conditions workers in developing countries are subjected to and what little pay they receive, only reiterates the reason Anchalâ€™s work is so important. I believe that the reason the movement for socially and environmentally conscious products is on the rise is because the public is demanding a change. Anytime you can support a good initiative through your purchase, it’s a win.
Who is your fashion icon?
I turn to my Aunt Susan for much of my fashion inspiration.Â She has the vision to know what piece will look good on your body and what trends are coming back into style. I often find something tucked into my bag that she picked up just for me. She has a fabulous, fearless vibe that is infectious.
What made you decide to start the Anchal Project?
During graduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), I traveled to India and witnessed the extreme exploitation that women experienced after being forced into the commercial sex trade. I felt compelled to combine my design training and passion for women’s rights and to take the project beyond the classroom. We returned to Providence and sold notebooks at an art fair which generated $400. This humble start propelled the first group of five artisans to receive basic training. Now we are touching the lives of close to 100 women. This is why I truly believe design can be the vehicle for social change and Anchal is just one example.
How did you end up collaborating with Urban Outfitters?
I thrive off of creative collaborations and often reach out to fellow designers to bounce concepts around. I met one such designer at Urban through a friend last year. Once she started experimenting with the raw Anchal material and constructed a jacket, we knew there was something special that needed to be shared. She then pitched the jacket to the Urban Outfitters’ Urban Renewal team. They fell in love with the uniqueness of the textile and the story behind each piece. At that point they requested a full capsule collection be created, so we highlighted an eleven piece line of apparel â€“ The Anchal x Urban Renewal Collection.
Are there any other projects that we should be looking forward to?
I am currently in India working with artists on amazing new products and a short film highlighting the artisans. So be sure to keep an eye out, this is just the beginning for Anchal.
Miranda Rogers McDonald is the author of TheChicStreet.com. When Miranda isnâ€™t blogging about fashion or flexing her social media muscle, she is spending time with her husband and feisty Chihuahua, Niles. She believes in celebrating the smaller things in life, such as good wine and food, an interesting book and sitting on patios while enjoying conversations with her closest friends. She strives to one day join the ranks of the fashion editors that she idolizes, and to show the world that a girl from Kentucky knows a little something about style.