One of the Lakmé Fashion Week 2020 Gen Next designers, Ananya Modi Jain’s brainchild ALL2DEFY identifies itself as an Indian transeasonal urbanwear label. Incepted in 2018, ALL2DEFY caters to the millennials of today, by offering transitional pieces that can get one from day to night, depending on the way one styles them.
An alumna of Parsons School of Design in New York – where she studied BFA in Fashion Design – Womenswear, and Istituto Marangoni Milan – where she studied Masters in Luxury Accessory Design and Management, Ananya decided to return to her Indian homeland to pursue her advent into the world of fashion.
“Having exposed myself to different facets of design during my formative years while at Parsons and Marangoni, I realised there was a gap in the Indian market for a homegrown sporty yet chic brand,” Ananya told Apparel Resources, adding, “I wanted to create a lifestyle brand, which targeted customers across different age groups, who could find all their needs under one label, including pet lovers.”
Growing up, Ananya always aspired to break through into the field of design. Keeping this in mind, she undertook numerous internship opportunities, be it in New York or Milan, with different fashion houses dealing in products that ranged from activewear (for GAP) to bridalwear (for Vera Wang).
Putting all her acquired knowledge to good use, upon her return, Ananya wasted no time in breaking into India’s new wave of fashion scene, and introduced her first collection two years ago. The initial collection, which focused majorly on t-shirts and accessories such as bags, has today diversified further into apparel in general.
From urbanised hoodies, windcheaters, bomber jackets, hoodies, joggers, bermuda shorts, biker jackets, sweatshirts, cropped trousers waist jackets, vests, and wrap skirts, Ananya takes on a holistic approach when it comes to urban fashion. An amalgamation of style, form, and function, ALL2DEFY’s designs juxtapose minimalist aesthetics, boundary-pushing proportions and construction techniques.
ALL2DEFY stems from an idea to defy societal norms with a need to bring about a cultural revolution wherein the products remind consumers of their greater responsibility and role in the world. “When I started out, I didn’t want my label to become just another fashion brand where I’m selling certain clothes and accessories for the sake of it. I wanted it to be a conversation, and have some meaning attached to it,” Ananya underlined.
She corroborated when asked about the idea behind naming her brand, “When I came back to India, I realised there are still a lot of societal norms and customs prevalent here, which people are not willing to talk about openly. Keeping this thought in mind, I wanted my brand to be a reflection of the revolution taking place in the society.”
Ranging from a variety of knits and woven fabrics which are lightweight, to genuine leather which goes in some of ALL2DEFY’s backpacks and laptop bags, Ananya works with a slew of different materials that are all locally sourced. Bold and vibrant prints pose as a USP for the youth-centric label by lending a fresh twist to the garments by defying societal taboos via witty graphics.
“For me as a designer, it is very important that the material is comfortable on the skin. Comfort and functionality of the garment are as important as the design.” – Ananya Modi Jain
Built on the concept of ‘Make in India’, ALL2DEFY sources all its raw materials, including fabrics, from across India and is completely manufactured in Delhi. “We are a complete ‘Made in India’ brand. Our textiles, including our prints, colours and embroideries, are all developed by me in-house,” Ananya informed, further adding, “We use witty graphics that are like a brand marker for us. Even our embroidery is very eclectic; it is not Indianised in its look at all. I develop our embroideries in tandem with the prints that I’m working on in the collection so it’s always in tune with the design language of the prints.”
As functionality serves as a key characteristic for the brand, Ananya’s constant endeavour lies in pushing her boundaries to achieve new and innovative ways to integrate the same into her collections.
“We experiment a lot with functional detailing. One of our bestselling outerwear pieces has been a reversible jacket, wherein there was a print on one side and a solid colour one the other side. Seeing the response, I realised that most of the customers today are actually interested in purchasing one piece of garment which offers you the option of two contrasting garments,” Ananya stated.
The problem of fit is not immune to the Indian subcontinent. An industry that still thrives mostly on custom-fit ethnicwear, the common cause of devising a standard and set sizing is still mostly lost. Having had the opportunity to have studied and interned abroad, Ananya has been able to face challenging situations that require pattern making to be developed as a strong skill when it comes to design. Commenting on the same, Ananya elucidated, “I am very conscious about fit, quality and even detailing. Having studied the Indian body type closely, over time I have been able to modify my proportions and fit better to suit our demographics.”
In India, a lower price point sells way more easily, especially in the online space. For a new brand that’s coming up, people prefer seeing it first hand, feel the fabric, and see how it fits their body type in order to exactly know what they are paying for. So it’s important for a brand to be available in both spaces – online as well as offline.
Being in one of the first urbanwear brands in the Indian industry, ALL2DEFY falls in the bracket of affordable luxury which brings the two worlds of quality and style together. Priced between Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 40,000, ALL2DEFY’s products are available online on the brand’s website all2defy.com and with multi designer retailers such as Curato, AZA, Ogaan, Azra, Nykaa Fashion, Como Collective, Jhelum Online, and Vesimi in Dubai. This extensive network allows the designer to reach multiple retail locations across India spanning even Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, as well as internationally.
Surprisingly, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities form a major chunk of ALL2DEFY’s client base. “You’ll be surprised – we went on a road show with Lakmé Fashion Week to upcoming cities and the response was better than I expected,” Ananya shared, adding, “These cities have a lot of spending power and they are actually looking for what we have to offer – especially the youth.”
A constant work-in-progress, ALL2DEFY is an urbanwear brand possessing strong visual appeal communicated via quirky prints, with special consideration to the unique messages the youth of today may want to convey to the world. Ananya’s collections are designed to complete and complement one another, from one season to another.