Journalist turned fashion designer Bindu Nair's latest collection Thooval is all about comfort

Thooval, the latest light-weight collection from Ela, is an ode to evergreen fashion that can be worn anywhere, anytime

author_img Krishna P S Published :  24th November 2021 01:19 PM   |   Published :   |  24th November 2021 01:19 PM

Bindu Nair worked as a journalist for 17 years in Mumbai and Delhi before she decided to actively pursue her passion — fashion designing.

KOCHI: Bindu Nair worked as a journalist for 17 years in Mumbai and Delhi before she decided to actively pursue her passion — fashion designing. So, when she decided to take a break from her busy work life in 2017, she returned to Kerala, to her parents’ home in Palakkad. That is where she birthed a new beginning, the brand Ela, in early 2018.

Her new collection, ‘Thooval’, which is all set to come out, is the epitome of comfort. Made from feather-light fabric that is extremely comfortable, the designs are brought to life by cotton all the way from Madhya Pradesh. The collection with minimal white designs has boyfriend shirts, a tunic-like dress and tops.

Thooval is a limited collection. “These designs are fashionable in every season. In South India, even now, when many are releasing winter designs, I am bringing out strap sleeve dresses that can be used all year,” she adds. 

Though the colourful designs with Indian motifs are selling out faster, Bindu prefers designs in indigo, grey and other light shades. “They are universal colours that can be worn anywhere anytime by anyone. At least I feel so,” she quips.

Road so far

“Back when I came home in 2017, I was travelling around, going to exhibitions and such. But then I thought why not do something on my own and that is when the idea to set up a niche clothing line came about, “ says Bindu. It took plenty of trial and error, learning about different fabrics and how to source them, and working on comfortable and elegant designs. “I knew from the beginning what I wanted to make — comfortable handloom apparel. So, I sourced fabric from Kuch in Gujarat, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala. Since I use a lot of coloured fabric, I use the ones I source from outside Kerala more. It also made sense because mine is a small production, I couldn’t manage the white yarns well,” she adds.

Her niche collections in indigo, grey and other pastel shades has made her stand out among homegrown brands in South India. “Clothes that will essentially make you feel good. That’s what I wanted so I decided to provide the same to my customers. Handloom has a natural elegance to it that other materials fail to provide,” she says. 

Bindu also sells tote bags and bookmarks through her label. “One day, I was travelling through Fort Kochi. Two boys decided to wave tease me. They didn’t know I knew Malayalam. I immediately said “onnu podo” and one of them burst out laughing. That became a design in my tote bag, “ She recollects. Her latest tote collection asks the classic Malayali opening line, “Nattil evideya?”.

Ela’s collection is quite personal to Bindu. From choosing fabric to designing, marketing and modelling, Bindu is part of every step of her brand.