Handbags are known to be a woman’s best friend. Worldwide, fashion designers are playing with innovation to showcase their creativity amidst the pandemic. For those in the business of handbags, it’s been a season of experimenting with luxury and art while incorporating inclusivity. An alumnus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Haresh Mirpuri is a name to reckon with as he has created an Indian luxury handbag brand which embraces sustainability as a way of life.
In his words, “To make Bharat proud in what we do” lies at the crux of his passion.
Haresh Mirpuri, Founder & Creative Director shares with FinancialExpress.com about his journey to create ‘Aranyani’, a renowned Indian luxury handbag brand, which is inspired by the ancient Vedic civilization and bringing together the philosophy of Service, Awareness and Inclusivity to represent the essence of the brand.
“The woman’s world has witnessed an evolution where today, the handbag is her prized possession and hence our choice of the handbag. Luxury is a way of life and necessitates Positive Impact in Bharatiya culture. Putting all these concepts together came our love and creation of Aranyani. Bharat is always about evolution through inclusivity,” Mirpuri adds.
Tell us about Aranyani’s journey and how it all began to fall into place to create India’s first luxury handbag brand.
As an alumnus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning where sustainability is a way of life, and with all the experiences I have been exposed to in the world of fashion and textiles, Aranyani is envisioned to being global while bringing back the beauty of an atelier (or an SME).
Your brand is known for its emphasis on sustainability and craftsmanship. Can you elaborate on this vision that has now become a reality?
To be established as a global brand, our world has resorted to and become entrenched in mass manufacturing. We are now living in a world that pays more for marketing than valuing the hands of the craftsman.
Can luxury be truly luxury if it does not create a Positive Impact at every touchpoint?
Can luxury be truly luxury if it does not honour the hand(s) of the maker(s)?
I looked back at life during the Vedic age when our country was at its peak in every field.
Luxury was a natural process that brought smiles without taking advantage of the sweat and tears of the people. This is the vision that has now made Aranyani a reality.
For ensuring the finest quality and craftsmanship, how does this translate into defining moments in your brand’s journey?
We in Bharat believe in Acharya Devo Bhavah. I was keen that we have the best people to train us. That happened when Raphael Lombardo (respected consultant for leading Italian and international fashion brands) from Bologna, Italy agreed to train our team. I knew that we needed to bring exposure to our team.
We are grateful to Francois Arpels for being with us for a year and teaching us how the west perceived luxury.
We then had artists like Shan Re to mentor our team of artists and a lovely family from Udaipur who taught us about Gold Gilding.
This is a four year journey and our team now has Mr Laurent Levasseur (ex-CEO of YSL, North America) to help us in our Sales & Distribution strategy.
Hence, at every point we always have the best person to help us through the journey to build not only the finest quality and craftsmanship but also the best sales, marketing and distribution strategy.
Little is known about the actual processes that it takes to finally attain the luxury benchmark when it comes to handbags. As you know the ground reality, can you share with us the challenges that came your way and the key takeaways?
Selecting materials is a key process. We need to stick with suppliers that we can work together and believe to develop towards the main goal. We also need to have immense patience in the journey of growth and perfection of the craftspeople; allow exposure to the team. We got a lot of benefit when our head of operations had the opportunity to observe the facility of Hermes in Paris.
You need to have faith in your vision and your team’s ability to carry them. At the same time, build your community of like-minded people.
Amidst the pandemic, what is your outlook for the segment in terms of rolling out innovations that are unique to Indian craftsmanship and what are your expansion plans?
Aranyani will always be a luxury brand. Bharat is a 32000 years old culture and one can imagine what a wonderful source of luxury it is. We will use the traditional techniques but create contemporary motifs. Be it classics such as The Fragrant Trails collection and The Kesuda or the more contemporary like The Spiral Dance, Aranyani’s plan is to serve the customers through multi brand stores in the renowned fashion cities and pop-up events in places that we believe are well-aligned to us. The current circumstances have also seen us increasing our focus on our digital presence. We service customers across the country (and around the world) through our website.
How do you position Aranyani’s global footprint and expansion plans overseas?
We are looking to open the first global store in London. We have started our association with Chaloub group in UAE through their store Tryano in Abu Dhabi and also with ViV in Kuwait. We hope to be on time in London for the AW 22-23 collection and then grow by working with other luxury stores in the UK. We believe to have our presence through working with multi brand retailers/ e-tailers or being present ourselves depending on what opportunities present us in major luxury destinations like New York, Paris, Milan, LA, Monaco, Shanghai, and Singapore.
Since we are committed to the atelier style of manufacturing, creating beautiful timeless stories of Bharat, we will have only small numbers in each of the locations.