The 2018 Grazia Young Fashion Awards winners and childhood friends, Bhaavya Bhatnagar and Rishi Baweja first joined forces to create a clothing label. Known for embroidered sweatshirts that “portrayed the intricacies of Indian hand-embroidery in a modern light,” Hannan aimed to “show the world what modern India looks like, undefined by boundaries, unrestricted in thought.” Soon after, while on a visit to Uttar Pradesh, they came across a small factory making resin pieces. Instantly forming a connection to small resin heart charms, they decided they wanted to create keepsakes that people could cherish and keep close to them. Jewelry was the natural choice.
Inspired by “giving permanence to fleeting moments that move” them as well as materials themselves, they have since since explored and incorporated more indigenous materials and crafts from different corners of India into their pieces. Each one an ode to artisanship that dates back centuries. Each one a story, woven into wearable art.
What inspired the name ‘Hannan?’
Before we ever started thinking of jewelry, we were actually making hand embroidered sweatshirts with the help of our chief embroiderer, Abdul Hannan. We found him very randomly on an internet listing, one that even he had little idea of. A simple yet gregarious fella, our connection with him was instantaneous. It took some time but eventually he approved of our purpose to make hand embroidered garments more accessible and relevant to our daily wardrobe and not have it restricted to heavy eveningwear. Since the very beginning, we knew we wanted to change the landscape of Indian handcraft and support legacies of such craftsmen who have always been on the fringes. Though our focus gradually shifted towards jewelry, Monsieur Hannan is omnipresent in our workdays. The brand name represents our ode to our craftsmen, a love song for our heritage.
We’ve always found a sense of comfort and familiarity working with artisans. From the very first day, we knew we wanted to explore the world of Indian handicrafts to get a better sense of how it operated and the various nuances within it. To see our ideas come to life with such ease and nonchalance was almost bewildering. It reminds us why we started. It reminds us of the importance of weaving stories in our products.
How important is sustainability to you as a brand and why?
Sustainability is crucial to us in all facets of our lives. To us, the meaning goes far beyond materials as we strongly feel that sustainability is a design issue. We never think in terms of short term profits and that enables us to design with longevity in mind. This, in turn, eliminates wastefulness as well as overproduction.
What’s your typical day ‘at the office?’
Since Bhaavya and I handle different parts of the brand, our daily routines are quite different but we always meet in the studio in the latter half of the day to gather all our thoughts and lightly plan the following days.
Your favorite quote?
“He who has a why, can bear almost any how.” - Viktor Frankl
Where would you go in a time machine?
I’d like to go hundred years into the future and live on the moon - BhaavyaI’d like to go live in 1920’s Paris - Rishi
What’s one cause you want people to rally behind?
While there are several ailments facing the world today, we strongly believe climate change as well as intolerance have both been egregiously exacerbated in the last decade.
All photos courtesy of Hannan Jewellery
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