Siyana London, founded by Megha Shah, designs and handcrafts unique artisan scarves and bags. Siyana seeks to nurture and encourage the individuality and craftsmanship of India's indigenous artisans while working with contemporary ideas.
The result is a fine work of wearable art that caters to a universal palate. Individually handcrafted, each of Siyana London’s products can be traced to a personal journey of its artisans from distinct parts of the country.
How did your brand begin?
I always had a keen interest in textiles, especially handloom. I was always fascinated with the idea of hand-woven textiles and the process behind it all. As a kid, I’d visited a lot of handloom workshops but never thought that one day I’ll work so closely with the artisans.
As for what I used to do before this, I acquired an MBA degree (Master of Business Administration) and soon joined my family’s packaging business.
My interest in textiles, however, didn’t fade as I continued to attend handicraft exhibitions and understand the crafts from different parts of India. I got married in 2014 and moved to London. After exploring the city for a few months, I realised the potential that Indian arts had in this city and pursued my passion for ethical fashion.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
I draw my inspiration from nature and Indian classical art forms. The colours that we use are inspired by nature like blue-greens and reds. Siyana London’s style is contemporary but at the same time, it reflects the bright colours of India.
India, as everyone knows, has a rich legacy of art and culture. I showcase the same in my accessories by creating contemporary designs. I select artisans according to the work that they’re best known for.
For instance, the best quality khadi is in the central part of India. This luxurious fabric has the unique feature of keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. So we have artisans from the central part of India weaving our khadi. The state of Gujrat is known for embroidery hence our embroidered bags, wallets and purses come from here.
I particularly work with artisans at the grass-root level. I make sure the entire supply chain is ethical and sustainable. We ensure to do quality checks at every level. We have full knowledge about the materials that we use.
How are your products made?
All our scarves are handwoven and handspun. They are made on a loom. A 'handloom' is a loom that is used to weave cloth without the use of any electricity. We also make hand embroidered handbags, makeup bags and clutch bags.
If you hadn't become a designer, what would you be doing?
I would be assisting my husband Kartik Shah, who is a certified Accountant.
What music do you play in the studio whilst you’re working?
The music that I always love to play in my studio is Old Hindi Songs.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
Do not Give UP!
What are your go-to style tips?
Simple white shirt, dark blue denim scarf to accessorise the look, and pair of comfy shoes.
There is transparency in our supply chain and we ensure we deliver quality products to our customers. For one, most of our products carry the names of the individual artisans who’ve worked on the product. This not only acknowledges their work individually but also offers the buyer a personalised experience.
Next, we work directly with the artisans with no involvement of middlemen, which ensures higher returns to them. We also work with NGOs that are working towards empowering women.
Thanks for talking to us Megha!