The legacy of the brand Kankatala Sarees, known as the ‘Queen of Sarees’ is known to every saree connoisseur from the city. Started as a small store in the old town of Visakhapatnam in 1943, the then one of the first stores there, have come a long way over the decades. Appalaraju Kankatala was a man with great business acumen, grit and hard-work. To a sleepy small city back then he bought a diverse range of sarees from Chennai, Salem, Kanchipuram, Thanjavur, Pochampally, Dharmavaram and Mumbai. There was no turning back from there. The following years were nothing less than glory and the Kankatala’s journey continues as magnificent and diverse. We speak to Anirudh Kankatala about their latest collection, his passion for curating collections and more.
Elaborating about his collections across genres, Anirudh says, “We are focussed on curating handlooms from across India. Be it Kanjeevaram, Banarasi, Sambalpuri, Poochampalli or ikkat in a variety of prints and colours. For the upcoming festive season, we have gone for designer sarees like digital prints on Kanjeevaram and organza. We have made it a point to come up with new colour combinations as well with small or no borders. In fact, bright colours like hot pinks are in vogue. But saying that, pastels with prints like florals, geometrics and embroideries will be in fashion for now too.” One of their new styles on offer this festive season are Kanjeevaram and bandhni sarees. “We have kept the same colour family in mind when designing the sarees. Both are placed together in such a way that it is elegant,” he says.
Even though coming from a legacy and taking it forward to greater heights is always a challenge, Anirudh has taken it upon himself to do so. “Our brand will complete 80 years in business next year and when I was in college only I was sure to be a part of it. Initially though as I was doing Bachelor in Finance, I thought to be at the backend of business but I soon realised my love for creativity and curating collections. I am more happy to be at the forefront of the change since 2015. The journey had its share of ups and downs. There are lots of people involved along with manual labour and time management. I love this uniqueness and creative process in my business. Every piece is personally chosen by us before it comes to the market,” he says. Anirudh since the time he has joined Kankatala, he has taken the brand digital, held exhibitions across the country and even when they celebrated their 75 year anniversary they had created a coffee table book based on the six queens from Andhra Pradesh. Anirudh and his team is now planning to expand to other cities apart from curating a wedding collection. The celebration has just started early for the 80-year-old brand in the fashion business