Meet the Girl: Ishita Desai, Founder and Designer of Aanya

We have a special guest on our Meet the Girl series this week — we welcome the fierce and fabulous, Ishita Desai, founder of Aanya! Born in India and raised in Hong Kong, Ishita was inspired by travels and daily wanders to create a lifestyle brand designed for the girl who is free, expressive and consumed by curiousity. Ethically made with love and care in India, each garment is tailored for the #AanyaGirl who seeks creative freedom and self-reflection in her style and manner.

Shhh... We have something in the works with Aanya for the new year. We can’t give it all away just yet, but here's a taste of behind the scenes on the set of Aanya x ESEMBLĒ Holiday Series shoot. Keep an eye out for more coming soon!

Aanya x ESEMBLĒ Holiday Series Meet the Girl Ishita Desaii Dash Backpack Blush Bench

Please share with us what inspired you to start Aanya.

After trying my hand at a corporate firm, I flew back to India to understand different textiles, craftsmanship and the possibility of working with and supporting local communities to create a beautiful, bohemian range. I wanted to create a lifestyle brand that resonated with my curious personality and other wanderers who dared to be different. Thanks to the constant support of my parents, my family and our Aanya community, I was able to bring Aanya to life.

Aanya x ESEMBLĒ Holiday Series Meet the Girl Ishita Desaii Hasina maxi dress

Aanya is a curation of unique pieces for creative nomads and wanderers. Describe your perfect weekend wanders in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is honestly a playground as there's always so much to do! Camping is something I've picked up lately; it also gives my friends and I the perfect chance to get away from the hustle & bustle and unplug from the world - digital detox. I'm all for exploring new islands and learning about new communities, and it's extremely important to give yourself a reset now and then and this is my way of doing it.
What does it mean to you to be a ‘modern girl’? What vision and values do you have for yourself, as a modern girl entrepreneur, and for Aanya.

A 'modern girl' is curious in nature and hot in her pursuit. She is conscious, open-minded and bold and those are ideals and values that I also hold for myself. It's also important to support and give back wherever and whenever you can - pay it forward as a global citizen and a modern girl entrepreneur.

The concept for Aanya goes far beyond bohemian clothing, instead we aim to promote and encourage a free-spirited & conscious lifestyle for those that can relate and identify with it. We want to whisk away the millennial girl from her daily grind to her world where her self-expression and creativity is what matters. Each piece from our unique collection gives the #AanyaGirl an opportunity to make a statement; from supporting local artisans & rural women that we work with. 

Aanya x ESEMBLĒ Holiday Series Meet the Girl Ishita Desaii summer kimono

We love your effort in promoting sustainable and ethical business. Tell us a bit more about Aanya’s fair trade practices.

At Aanya, we strongly believe in ethical and fair trade values and are committed to creating products that resonates with our personal and brand standards. Along with local communities, we are fortunate enough to work with family-run businesses that share the same beliefs and encourage a family-like support system at their factories.

We want to grow with our community of craftsmen thus, we will be working on more projects to empower local communities and teams that are involved in the creation of Aanya products. We make conscious decisions to work with specific suppliers and we encourage all consumers to get to know the people and stories behind their choices.

As a newly-launched brand, we know the path to becoming a sustainable and ethical business is a long one but we are determined to to start off right and continue on this road. an advocate of community empowerment, what has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur in Hong Kong?

For my first two collections, I worked mainly in India from sourcing to designing and our final production, hence my efforts were kept within local communities there. I am always looking for creative communities from around the globe to work with and support and I can't wait to bring it back home! In Hong Kong, there is an appreciation for unique, rare and colourful pieces but we still need to promote more art, culture & lifestyles that go beyond the city grind.

The quote “The world is your oyster” encourages girls to be fearless in their endeavors - What do you aspire to for your future?

I think it's important for all girls to be fearless, have the wildest imaginations and run free with it. I have set some ambitious goals but it all comes down to making a change or at least making life easier for one other person. I plan on taking Aanya on an even more adventurous journey next year so I'm quite excited to see that come to life and share it with the rest of the world!

Aanya x ESEMBLĒ Holiday Series Meet the Girl Ishita Desaii Dash Backpack Blush Pink Wall

All images © AanyaESEMBLĒ