Anjali Purohit has a background in lifestyle accessories design and over fifteen years of experience in the textile industry. Over the years, she researched high-quality, handcrafted, natural fabrics to decorate interiors and travelled across different continents and cultures to get to know the local resources. In 2016, Anjali decided to use her expertise in a brand, Studio Variously, that engages now in the ethical production of organic home and space décor, like pillows, throws and rugs, among others.
During a transatlantic conversation, Anjali told me more about Variously’s story and uniqueness.
What is the meaning behind the brand’s name?
Variously is a combination of all my work and life experiences. Visiting different countries was the main element that shaped my way of thinking and creating. I was lucky enough to live and work in various cultural spaces, my homeland India, Italy and the USA, where I live. Through the variety of these experiences, I started appreciating things’ origin, while learning about ways of using them ethically.
What makes Variously unique?
Collaboration is the earmark of my brand. I’m not much a proponent of a signature style as the brand’s style is never the same but evolves. Variously’s identity is a collective that builds every part of the company. Especially in this covid and post-covid time, collaborating with others was very reassuring. I always try to make every collaborator as invested as me in the creative process.
How did you start building your network of artisans?
Variously’s artisans live in remote villages of India and Nepal. Everything starts with me visiting their places and introducing conversations about our intentions and expectations. If our views and aesthetics match, we can start discussing an idea. For me, their experience and suggestions are fundamental and very inspirational since they know better what resources to find locally and how to make the most of them.
How does Studio Variously embrace sustainability?
Firstly, we don’t want to make excess but propose products that remain fresh even five years down the line. Secondly, we ensure that every material is safe for both weavers and consumers. For instance, we only use environmentally friendly dyes free of toxic chemicals. To achieve this level of accuracy and sustainability, we spend between six and eight months to finish one product. You can’t even imagine how long researching processes and resources takes. Another thing that we do is focusing on small batches, avoiding mass-production.
What are the biggest challenges involved in the mission to produce ethically?
There are several limitations. One of the biggest is finding the right buyer who’s willing to understand all about the product’s origin and value. Also, finding natural resources can be difficult since some of them are limited right now. As I said, despite the many resources in nature, testing and exploring them is highly expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, avoiding any waste of natural deposit is fundamental and everyone should consider that what the earth gives us has an extra cost. Another not necessarily bad limitation is that natural colours come in just a few palettes. But this limitation gives a signature style to the brand.
What makes you most proud?
The community involved in Variously. I’m very content to be in touch with amazing people who are so supportive and inspirational. Also, I am so proud of the artisans’ resilience, especially over the last year.
Do you have any plans for the future?
We are now working on several new collaborations and projects. We want to explore new sustainable materials to use in resorts’ interiors. In Nepal, we are working on innovative ways to make 100% organic textile dye. The company should never stops evolving so that both my and everyone else’s motivation stays high. On my side, I am very committed to raising awareness regarding sustainability in fashion and design. In the past, I joined several events where I gave speeches on sustainable practices within the industry. Every time, I have the same concern that my words would be worthless. Eventually, I realise that people are, now more than ever, curious and willing to learn about sustainability. I am convinced that sharing awareness is the first step to make a substantial impact.