The New Sustainable Label That Even Your Grandma Would Approve

The New Sustainable Label That Even Your Grandma Would Approve

This up and coming Bangalore based label specialises in sustainable, up-cycled and re/de-constructed garments. Read on to meet the dynamic duo behind 'Grandma Would Approve'.

Priyanka Muniyappa and Anugrah Samuel Phillips are the powerhouse behind the up and coming Bangalore based label “Grandma Would Approve”.

The two have been friends for the longest time and recently decided to venture into business together through the medium of a new-age sustainable, upcycling and re/deconstructing fashion label.

Muniyappa who is a NIFT Bangalore graduate, majored in graphic design and photography while Phillips graduated Christ University with a degree in media studies. The two met through common friends on a photoshoot for Muniyappa’s college project and well, the rest is history. The duo claim they immediately found a connect and bonded over their mutual love for all things fashion and art and have been best friends for the past 8 years.

“We’ve come a long way, I mean we’ve literally seen the evolution of each other. We used to speak about fashion a lot whenever we were together, specially our role in the fashion industry as the new generation and what its doing. And the topic of sustainability used to crop up a lot and how we couldn’t keep supporting these old methodologies of mindlessly producing any more and that we had to make a change.”

Priyanka

The two disclose how childhood experiences of having clothes custom made through tailors, customising and DIY’ing sibling hand-me-downs and re-purposing vintage clothing proved to be a common hobby that helped them bond further.

“I remember, I made it a point that for every birthday I'd take one of my mom’s old sarees and get a special birthday dress made out of the fabric. One day while sitting down and having a conversation, we both realised that we've been making custom stuff for ourselves for a very long time and so many people would ask us about those clothes and where we got them from – so to start our very own label together just made sense. So technically Grandma Would Approve was born on Anugrah’s couch.”

Priyanka

“My dad used to take me with him when he would get shirts made and I would love picking out the fabrics and designing something unique – because I wanted something androgynous that stood out. I loved creating something completely out of the box that I could call my own creation. It happened so naturally, you know. We love to do stuff on our own and it was such a similar ideology that making it into something greater just made sense.”

Anugrah

The brand ideology and philosophy centres around trying to reduce the gross mindless production that is prevalent in the current fashion industry and aims at reducing the overall carbon footprint by doing so.

Phillips who also works as a fashion stylist majoring in print adverts and TV commercials further expands,

“Fast fashion is a curse and a boon at the same time because while it does provide a lot of constantly evolving instant styles, when you look at the bigger picture it does so much harm to the industry and environment. There have already been years and years spent on creating certain classic silhouettes and it makes no sense for new brands to reiterate those same things over and over – instead repurpose, up-cycle and restyle them."

Anugrah

“We knew that if we were to start something, we would have to create something so slow and so anti-brand that it would just be one piece, one size at a time – which also in a way adds to the exclusivity of it. Today, everybody wants to stand out in a crowd and be unique and truly represent who they are. We wanted to create designs where anybody who comes in could find something that resonated with them and they could leave knowing nobody else has it.”

Priyanka

Grandma would approve consists of three main creative ranges that construct and drive the brand forward – Curated vintage pieces, Restored and refurbished vintage/classic pieces and re-constructed pieces that are custom made by deconstructing and taking apart already existing pieces and putting together something new.

Black & White Floral Vintage Dress
Black & White Floral Vintage Dress Grandma Would Approve

“Every vintage piece has to have some amount of restoration done to it to make sure it doesn’t look and feel completely out of sorts. For example, if we get a vintage denim jacket and the cuffs and collar are worn out or faded we do a completely new design on it that elevates the piece and makes it worthy of being worn proudly.”

Anugrah

“For our reconstructed pieces, we first completely deconstruct a piece, take it apart and then put it back together in a whole new way that completely changes the original piece. We add different elements and fabrics and panels that add our own personal flair and identity to the piece.”

Priyanka

On Priyanka: Reconstructed Blouse Via A Vintage Dress; Reconstructed Pants Via 5 Formal Metallic Shirts.
On Anugrah: Restored Pierre Cardin Shirt
On Priyanka: Reconstructed Blouse Via A Vintage Dress; Reconstructed Pants Via 5 Formal Metallic Shirts. On Anugrah: Restored Pierre Cardin ShirtGrandma Would Approve

The team consists of 4 people – Muniyappa, Phillips, their resident Pattern Masterji and Tailor who run shop from muniyappa’s basement

“I like the fact that we're a very small team - it gives me the opportunity of being personally involved every step of the way. Even when people come to us talking about investors and expansion, we politely decline because that’s not the direction we want the label to take. We want it to remain as authentic as possible to be able to create and produce what we want, the way we want and at the pace we want.”

Priyanka

“Even our tailors feel empowered because since it's so close knit, we give them the creative freedom and room to give inputs and be collaborative. We’re very happy with the set up. I mean, even with sales, our ideology was to only sell through pop-ups. We launched in November 2019 and have had 3 pop ups so far – one in Bangalore, one at The India Story in Kolkata and one at the Capsul pop up in Bombay.”

Anugrah

The label clarifies that the culture behind pop-ups creates a platform for people to be able to come up and interact with each other, look at the product closely, feel it and be able to build a personal connect as opposed to just another mindless purchase. It also helps provide an experience that the consumer can carry along with them and look back at fondly every time they wear the exclusive design.

The brands visual identity and aesthetic consists of a lot of patchwork, print play and quirky paneling. Muniyappa discloses how nature and her other passion of macro-photography have also been avenues that have provided abundant inspirations for ideas behind pieces.

“I do a lot of macro-photography of nature and insects. There are so many textures and colour pallettes found in nature itself that it has really proved to be an amazing source of inspiration when it comes to designing the pieces. We have tried to replicate the feeling of different textures by employing several prints in our pieces as well.”

Priyanka

Blouse From The GWA Vintage Collection
Blouse From The GWA Vintage CollectionGrandma Would Approve

On the creative partnership and design decisions, the duo maintain that they give each other the liberty to be able to come up with their own unique concepts and execute them before making any concrete decisions.

“We give each other a lot of creative freedom and liberty to try out new things. That’s what keeps it interesting because even though we are so similar, we both have a different take on things. Even with the difference in approaches, we end up arriving at a destination that works out in the end.”

Anugrah

“For sure, we let the other person do their thing but we’re vocal about the process. We are our worst critics. We question everything! But that also leads to the final moment when we look at each other and just know – okay now its complete. Now we’ve got it! So it all works out in the end.”

Priyanka

With the ongoing Pandemic, the label has temporarily halted all production and designing for the safety of the entire team. But the future holds an array of new opportunities and ideas!

“We’ve been taking the time this quarantine to focus on ourseves and really just introspect before the hustle and bustle picks up again. But, we definitely have stuff lined up for the future. We want to focus on the Indian market for the next year, but we feel like reconstruction is a concept that would work really well abroad as well. So we would like to expand to other countries – Japan, perhaps!”

Priyanka

“We’re also going to be working on our online website where we can release more pieces. Another personal goal we’d like to achieve is in terms of our reconstructed garments – we want to be able to make 100 reconstructed garments out of a 1000 old ones! We want to expand the collection a bit more centred around the reconstruction concept with different fabrics.”

Anugrah

This new brand is on its way to revolutionise the way you look at vintage pieces and redefine the meaning of up-cycling and its true potential. The one of a kind, unique pieces are an eco-friendly tribute to the unique disposition fashion and style contributes to the culture. We know our Grandma Would definitely Approve!

Check out the brands Instagram page for their latest collection.

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