Please tell us about yourself
Bandana Tewari is best known as the fashion editor of VOGUE India and it is easy to say that she is an expert when it comes to global luxury brands. She grew up in the foothills of the Himalayas in India, studied English literature from Irish and Nepalese nuns and eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in literature and master’s degree in communications and filmmaking in New Delhi. Apart from VOGUE India, Bandana has been contributing to international as well as local fashion publications.
Her particular focus on educating consumers as well as global brands about each others’ heritage and culture was the basis for a relationship to ABURY. We are grateful and happy to call her our ambassador for India as she is an inspiration to all of us. Read for yourself.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
My earliest memories of handmade textiles was when I was 10 years old. My mother would take me sari shopping. She bought the most exquisite handloom saris steeped in a medley of weaving traditions from different regions of India- kanjivaram silks from Tamil Nadu, Maheshwari silks from Madhya Pradesh, Benaras brocades from Uttar Pradesh- the variety, for a child, was magical. She would spend hours, touching and turning the fabrics to check authenticity and purity of the weave. Yards and yards of colourful saris would be rolled out on mahogany floors for us to asses for their delicacy, visual narrative and provenance, of course over endless cups of cardamom chai.
My initialising moment was when I joined Vogue India ten years back and realised I was in a perfect place to be able to use it as a platform to promote handmade textiles in a way that was cool and contemporary. I realised that like me, most Indians, have cupboard full of handmade saris, but they remain in there, only pulled out once in a while for weddings and traditional ceremonies. So I decided to do an editorial they would encourage women to reimagine their 7-yard saris in a different way. I pulled out three saris from my own cupboard, some 50 years old, that have been passed down from my grandmother, and asked three young and very talented designers to cut them and turn them into silhouettes that I could wear to a party. The final designs were spectacular to say the least. The basic idea was to make these age-old fabrics live again on the body.
Please tell us about your work
As Fashion Features Director at Vogue India, Bandana, affectionately known as Bandu, knows all things fashion. Her presence on the Indian scene is ubiquitous – whether on TV giving a sound bite, attending a major brand’s show or being at the relaunch of ASW in India. Her Instagram is as likely to feature photos of her at a local Lord Ganesha beach immersion or at Paris fashion week. Local or global? For Bandu it’s all one world, a small world!