As far as sartorial style is concerned, Alia Bhatt has mastered the art of balance. Ever since turning heads in 2012's Student Of The Year, the actress has made waves at red carpet events, airports and celebrity weddings for her magnificent, experimental and age-appropriate style. While Bollywood keeps themselves busy off the camera with their namesake beauty and fashion labels, it came as a surprise to see the star launch her homegrown kidswear brand, Ed-a-mamma. NDTV Swirlster caught up with Alia Bhatt to talk about sustainability in her personal style and the birth of her kidswear label.
Swirlster: How do you balance your love of fashion without becoming overly consumerist?
Alia Bhatt: The industry that I am in is all about fashion and glamour. Because I feel so passionately about the environment, I delved deeper into the far-reaching impact the fashion industry has on it. Most clothes after a few wears, end up in landfills, posing a very real environmental threat. So I started MiSu which is a closet-sharing initiative as sharing clothes can increase their shelf life, keep them out of landfills, reduce waste and benefit the environment. So, in my own small way, I try to reduce waste, and also raise money for various charitable causes. It's a pay-it-forward initiative, and I do hope that many will follow this example.
Swirlster: Celebrity brands are common in Bollywood but a kids wear brand is a very unique venture. What led to its creation?
Alia Bhatt: I had been working on a series of stories about a little girl and her dog having different adventures and saving the planet from ecological harm. Building an eco-conscious generation is really at the heart of what I have created. My team and I were brainstorming about the launch of a fashion label, when we realised that we really don't have a world class kids label that is completely homegrown.
I thought what if we continue telling these stories; but not just through books, it could be clothes, toys and other products, all building on the same theme of nurturing in children a love of nature. Our first offering is a range of thoughtfully designed playwear for children, that cares for the planet too. When it comes to conservation, I think it's best to start young and create a generation of mini-planeteers. Then, you don't need to change behaviour as you have created it.
Swirlster: What is fashion advice you wish you knew when you were younger?
Alia Bhatt: Don't be afraid to over dress or under dress!
Swirlster: How important was it for you to maintain the brand's local and environmentally-friendly ethos and what steps did you take to ensure it?
Alia Bhatt: As children, Shaheen and I were constantly bringing home stray dogs, cats, injured birds, and even frogs. Right from the time we were little, we have always been involved with and concerned about the welfare of animals. When I started reading more about what impacts the environment, I launched Coexist, which was to positively change behaviour towards the planet and keep myself updated.
My most favourite part of Ed-a-mamma is that we send seed balls in these little potlis made out of reusable fabric with every garment. It's an activity that kids and their parents can have fun with together. The idea is that kids learn to make better choices when it comes to our planet. Everything about Ed-a-mamma is homegrown. Fabrics have been made in local factories, garments have been manufactured across Delhi, Noida, Calcutta, Tirupur and Mumbai. It is truly a Made in India brand right from the ideas, to designs and then procurement, production and the entire supply chain.
(Also Read: Alia Bhatt Makes Us Say ‘Checkmate!' To That Dress)
Swirlster: What is your personal style like and what do you keep in mind when choosing outfits?
Alia Bhatt: Simple. That's my mantra. Clean lines and silhouettes is my preferred style guide. But most importantly it's comfort - comfortable clothes, comfortable cuts which really lets me be me. We also followed it for Ed-a-Mamma. Simple, comfortable clothes for kids to play in, and just be themselves in. I remember when I was in school, I couldn't wait to come home and throw off my uniform and change into something comfortable so I could go down and play.
Swirlster: What are your plans for the next collection of the brand?
Alia Bhatt: We are in a super exciting phase of development. 70% of this collection was sold out in 3 weeks and we are getting a lot of love for our signature prints. The three collections i.e. Veggie squad, Friends of the Ocean and Candy Land have been thoughtfully designed to cultivate good habits like eat more veggies, be kind to animals and we even have a line of organic tees which are gender neutral. We are currently working on our spring summer line so stay tuned for some more interesting stories that are yet to be told.
Swirlster: Discuss some of your favourite looks you've worn in the past
Alia Bhatt: I really enjoyed wearing this maxi. It's ideal for a brunch, a holiday, a beach vacation; you could even wear a swimsuit under it. It is truly something that I have used a lot in so many versatile ways.
I love this colour blocked gown that I wore for the Filmfare awards earlier this year. One of the reasons being it was so light, comfortable and it didn't feel cumbersome at all. It didn't have any weight, I just felt like I was floating, like an ethereal feel. It made me look and feel amazing.