Jason and Anshu’s ‘smallshop’ offers a new festive wear collection available in Amethyst for the very first time. Designer Jason Cheriyan spoke to Richa Tilokani about his design sensibilities and future plans.
Smallshop is a collaborative undertaking between Anshu Arora and Jason Cheriyan, the husband wife team of designers who make innovative garments for the fashionably forward. The smallshop aesthetic can be best summed up as vibrant, whimsical and luxuriously languid. The label retails at Raintree in Bangalore, Bombay Electric, Le Mill, Aza and Kimaya in Mumbai, Evoluzione in Chennai and Delhi and Jodhpur etc. They have showcased their creations at the Singapore fashion festival in Fall 2007, the Delhi Fashion Week in 2009 and the Wills India Fashion Week in 10-11 (both summer and fall). They also do a children’s line, ‘smallstory’ at Good Earth.
Both the designers were very clear that they wanted to do something creative after school. So Jason enrolled in art school at the Govt. College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai from 1986 to 1988 and followed it up with a two-year stint at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, specializing in fashion from 1988 – 1990. Anshu studied literature at St Stephens, Delhi, post which she joined a course in fashion at NIFT Delhi, between 1994 and ‘97.
Smallshop’s latest collections comprises of exquisite floaty ghagras, jeweled sarees, embellished blouses, floaty tops, sheer tunics and more. True to their style, it is luxurious and colorful. It is a whimsical range of apparel, described by the designer as “enveloped in clouds kissed with stardust and flowers where with every swish of the skirt, hidden treasures swirl”. The ‘Luxury’ here stems from the various unique hand processes the product goes through and the use of natural fabrics, which are finally translated into clothes that are soft, draped and artistic.
Shares Jason, “Our pieces are unique as we pay a lot of attention to craftsmanship. Of course, it is not as easy to get craftsmen in Bangalore as compared to Chennai, Delhi or Kolkata.” But he is happy with the response in Chennai so far, “Chennai is a not a conservative market as is often said. We have always received a good response here,” he says.
Of working with Anshu as a team, Jason says, “It is great that we work well together and our designs come together in a very natural way. We don’t have a formal way of demarcating our inputs. Sometimes we disagree with each other but if we are convinced about an idea, we go ahead and execute it to convince the other person.”
It’s been an exciting journey for the two young designers and the future looks even more promising, “Anshu is also interested in doing up interiors and there are a lot of opportunities in Bangalore, so we are keeping our fingers crossed,” ends Jason with a smile as he gets busy with his customers.