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Behind the Brand: Ishita Desai of Aanya Life

Behind the Brand: Ishita Desai of Aanya Life

We chatted with Ishita Desai, the founder of Aanya Life about running an ethical fashion label that boho babes will adore!

Inspired by her Indian roots and travels, Ishita Desai founded Aanya Life. It’s an ethical fashion label boho babes will love! We caught up with her on our travels to Hong Kong to discover the story behind her label. Plus check out her recommendations for eating, drinking and shopping in the city.

We chatted with Ishita Desai, the founder of Aanya Life about running an ethical fashion label that boho babes will adore!

Before she became a designer…

I was born in India and brought up in Hong Kong. I pursued a degree in Journalism and Global Studies at the University of Hong Kong. Right after graduation, I picked up a full-time position at an American TV network. It was a really cool job for a fresh graduate because we were dealing with some big entertainment and production houses from the US. We were also developing original production projects. From programming, marketing to casting, I was able to experience multiple areas of operations and loved my time there!

What inspired her to start her own label…

My Indian roots, travelling and cultural craftsmanship all contributed to the founding concept behind Aanya Life. My trips to India always amazed me. I saw how rich the country is in culture, tradition and craft. From colourful fabrics to the skill of the craftsmen behind the products, I discovered so many stories to share and bring back to Hong Kong. Through those experiences, I was encouraged to launch Aanya Life, a label that aims to empower and promote artisans and craftsmanship through our bohemian-inspired designs.

My parents also started, managed and operated their own businesses, so you could say I was always exposed to that entrepreneurial spirit growing up. It’s been really encouraging and helpful to have their support since they can relate to my journey through the first-hand experience.

We chatted with Ishita Desai, the founder of Aanya Life about running an ethical fashion label that boho babes adore!

What makes Aanya life ethical…

I’ve made it a point from the start to adopt ethical and sustainable approaches in the way we conduct our business. That includes the manufacturing partnerships we’ve created. I spent three months in India to ensure we found the right communities and businesses that we wanted to work within Gujarat and Rajasthan. It’s extremely important to me to make sure that our works, seamstresses and craftsmen are working in safe conditions and are given fair compensation. So I spend a lot of time at the factories and with the local communities to see first-hand how they run these units. We’re lucky to work with family-run manufacturers who give us flexibility with lean orders and treat their teams like family!

In order to be more environmentally friendly, we try to use recycled or upcycled materials by purchasing deadstock wherever possible. Our bags and some of our Banjara denim jackets are all upcycled from vintage deadstock fabrics. We repurpose them to give them a new lease of life instead of them becoming fabric waste.

There’s more that we strive to do, but I believe we’re on track for adopting the sustainable business practice as we empower the artisans who work behind the scenes for our bags & accessories collection and improve their livelihood.

“I spent three months in India to ensure we found the right communities and businesses that we wanted to work within Gujarat and Rajasthan.”

Fashion brands should care about transparency because…

It’s a consumer’s right to know where they are investing their money. They should be able to understand and align with the honest and core practices of brands and organisations they interact with. Their choice is an extension of the individual and their values.

I do my best to make Aanya Life’s story as transparent as possible during my conversations with visitors and customers, but there is so much more to our narrative. I’m excited to share more details and make it more experiential for our community in 2018!

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Her most important #girlboss lesson so far…

To keep an open mind and be attuned to your surroundings. There is so much to learn from conversations and observations if you are open to it. Keep refreshing your perspective!

We chatted with Ishita Desai, the founder of Aanya Life about running an ethical fashion label that boho babes will adore!

What keeps her driven and motivated…

I love what I do & I’m very clear on what I want Aanya Life to be. That’s what drives me to the next step. I’m also a very social person. So to have the pleasure to work with people from our manufacturing units to closing a sale with a happy customer makes the whole journey fulfilling and rewarding.

The steps she takes to #shopmeaningfully…

I think it’s important to research brands before you buy and read up on their stories. This is something I’ve started doing ever since I launched Aanya Life. I also love shopping from small and local businesses at handmade markets and lifestyle fairs because there is so much passion & thought put into their products & services. It makes for a very warm shopping experience.

Her shopping, eating and drinking recommendations in Hong Kong…

I love shopping at handmade markets and the various pop-ups that happen around Hong Kong! PMQ in Central and Square Street on Hollywood Road has interesting conceptual boutiques that add a fresh touch to Hong Kong’s shopping scene. There’s so much to eat & explore in Soho, but definitely check out Maison Libanaise for Lebanese food and their chilled rooftop setting. I also love the veggie burgers and flatbreads at MANA!

Shop our collection by Aanya Life here
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