December 21, 2015

Grain: a handcrafted, artisanal leather brand.

by Namrata Ganguly

In the past, we have spoken to Avinash Bhalerao, a designer and illustrator, about what he loves about work and what drives him. We caught up with him recently, to know more about his new enterprise – Grain. Grain is not just another leather accessories brand. Its root lies in the quality of the products and their design.

grain-Braford-wallet

grain-Country-Backpack

grain-Rollup-tote

A team of artists invested in this ambitious venture over a year ago, to bring together a unique sense of urban chic design and fine craftsmanship. Their leather and canvas bags are made to international quality standards and the raw materials are sourced from Chennai.

Avinash Bhalerao was involved in design and branding, at KA Advertising, a boutique studio based in Bandra, before experimenting with crafting bags on his own. He says, his experience at KA Advertising is what made him “celebrate [his] love for good design every single day” setting in motion the preparation for Grain.

grain-Military-Travel-Backpack

grain-Travel-backpack

Besides giving a sleeker take on travel bags, Grain’s main goal is to bring back value and consumer demand to the handicraft or karigar skills of artisans, where each item is produced with hardwork and love, instead of mass produced generic items.

Avinash humbly states that it is in fact, the 20 plus years of experience and expertise of the local (Mumbai) artisans that brings his ideas to life. Every piece at Grain has an artisan’s personal touch, every single stitch is given special attention to with a passion for durability. For instance, a hand-stitched Grain wallet takes almost 2 days to be made.

grain-Welsh-Tote

grain-The-stirrup-Tote

Having completed a year with Grain, Avinash looks back at it “as an amazing one, filled with lots of twists and turns, with new lessons at every step.” The initial six months of Grain focused more on custom creations but he had to move away from that due to the sheer overflow of demand and limited manpower.

When asked if he will ever go down the Fashion Collection route, Avinash ponderously says “we will take it as it goes.” Their products are an aesthetic mix of the Fashion, Art and Design. Starting from INR1,500, Grain “doesn’t belong to any league.” He says, it is anyone who can carry it off with a touch of “Oomph” and for those “who love simplicity”.

grain-Brown-pocket-tote

grain-Brown-Tote-Inside

What does the future hold for Grain? Avinash hopes “to make [it] the best handcrafted brand [that is] constantly evolving.” Though currently focused on leather and canvas as their core material, Grain hopes to slowly and steadily change the jaded perception of luggage bags in India to that of being chic and minimal yet utilitarian.

Check out their latest pieces: simple, smart and suave, they are currently exclusively available at Filter in Kala Ghoda (Mumbai),  Paper Boat Collective in Sangolda (Goa) and online at Nete.in. You can check them out on their Facebook page while they work on their website.

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