Label Manan Brings Quintessential Madras Motifs To Its Timeless, Sustainable Collections

Woman wearing white linen coord set from Manan's Perennial collection. Man wearing chequered Kurta from Manan's Madras Modern Collection.
Label Manan

There are many renditions of the Madras checks I’ve come across over the years as a South Indian who loves Homegrown fashion. Most recently, I remember spotting it at the Dior show in Mumbai a year ago. While there have been many inspired iterations of the design, one that I discovered recently is the ‘Madras Modern’ collection from Label Manan. From their airy maxi dresses to well-crafted shirts, I expected the brand to be a new entrant making waves. But I was in for a surprise to learn that Manan is a 32-year-old fashion brand that was founded with a vision of timelessness and sustainability and is realising exactly that.

Label Manan is a quiet brand. Both in their offerings and marketing, the brand has focused on unwavering dedication towards craftsmanship and authenticity. Unsurprisingly, the clean lines, soft hues and balanced silhouettes of their designs match their ethos as well. The handwoven and handcrafted pieces from Manan, which prominently feature linen, are designed to be ‘Perennial’. The quotes aren’t accidental; rather an allusion to Manan's Perennial Collection which features simple, elegant attire in neutral and subtle hues with timeless details like stripes, colour-blocking or florals.

Madhavi Ganeriwalla, the founder of Label Manan is someone who might have been ahead of her times by decades. She founded the brand in 1992 when functional, aesthetic pret wear was still rare. Through Manan, Madhavi introduced everyday clothing with unmatched quality for the times. While working with artisans is the norm du jour for homegrown brands today, she was working with local artisans and craft clusters from back then to create the brand’s now signature handwoven fabrics and timeless designs.

Today, the brand has a wide range to offer from womenswear and menswear to dupattas and even jewellery plated in 18k gold that draws from nature-inspired motifs. The subtle hues and soft, clean silhouettes crafted from meticulously handwoven fabrics are the brand's signature. The timeless design approach of the label comes through in how each piece can both stand on its own and when paired with a million other things.

The pieces from the brand also proudly attest to its intergenerational appeal. The attire from Label Manan is versatile, timeless and premium pieces that can capture the liking of those across ages, worthy of becoming a modern heirloom. The family-run, value-led brand continues to stay rooted in its founding vision and each piece offers superior fit and functionality. In staying true to their slow, contemplative approach, Label Manan has loyalists who know and love the brand and they continue to focus on forging meaningful connections with their customers.

Inspired by the Tamil lungi’s checks, the inspiration lends its air of practicality and breathability to each attire from Manan’s Madras Modern collection. Featuring a blend of handwoven cotton and linen prominently, the pieces are all meant for hot Indian summers in their breathability and softness. They prominently feature soft colour palettes that could fit easily into most people’s existing daily wear wardrobe, but its true beauty is in the finer details. From subtle check patterns juxtaposed with solids to hand-painting prints of pollinating flowers, insects and such, the whimsical details as well as angular patterns make them fresh in their own way. From shirts and kurtas to dresses and overlays, the collection is extensive, but also functional through its loose fits, drawstrings, wrap-around styles, elasticated details and more.

Going beyond the hyperlocal of the Madras Checks, the brand has taken the inspiration and speaks to the many cultural impacts the design has made, going even as far as the Kalabari tribe in Nigeria. In a beautiful blog that narrates the story behind this collection they mentioned, “As a living chronicle of cultural exchange and historical significance, the story of the Madras check is not confined by geographical borders.”

Woman wearing white linen coord set from Manan's Perennial collection. Man wearing chequered Kurta from Manan's Madras Modern Collection.
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Madras Modern is just one among the many beautiful inspirations that have been interpreted through the Manan perspective. Madhavi Ganeriwalla’s personal sensibility that has built the brand is also put front and centre through the label’s ‘Founder’s Picks.’ In her own words, she talked about her approach and said something that is as much a curatorial note as it is a description for her entire label - "These products are trend agnostic and pieces which I enjoy using myself. Designed to serve you for years, and become a part of your most special days."

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