Anjali Patel Mehta has had a long and unusual path into fashion. The Verandah designer began her career in finance, but her love of aesthetics eventually took the lead, and she started designing clothes. What began as a small, one of a kind, bespoke business has grown into a full-on resort-wear and swimwear brand, all sustainably sourced, with the same attention to detail as at the brand’s inception. Priyanka Chopra Jones is a fan.
“As a daughter of a trained artist and chemical engineer, with an aesthete grandmother who held a keen eye for beauty, color and art, I was always drawn to art, travel and storytelling,” says Patel. “I love telling stories through patterns and embroideries that bring me joy.”
Why the name ‘Verandah’?
My first-ever order from Taj Hotels was placed from the veranda of my mother’s 150 year old family home in Mumbai. I saw an Indian sparrow perched atop the veranda’s balcony, and the logo and name came to life in my mind.
How would you describe your brand?
Verandah is a feeling: relaxed, ultra soft comfort, joy, storytelling, color and social consciousness rooted in beauty. It’s for the woman who loves to feel like she’s on holiday, even when she’s not.
What influenced your latest collection?
My resort collection, Jharoka, was inspired by the Mughal windows found in the UNESCO world heritage site of the Jaisalmer Fort, one of the only remaining forts in the world. It was built in 1156 AD.
Where have you sold so far?
Moda Operandi, Intermix, Fivestory, The Four Seasons Hotels, The One and Only hotel, and many specialty stores around the world. Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus are our first big forays out of India – we launched last week. We are about to launch our own ecommerce site as well.
Why is it important to you to be sustainable?
My goal is to be carbon negative. We are a zero waste company and upcycle every bit of post production waste. We are almost entirely biodegradable and recycled fibre based with a strong artisanal touch from India, and have carbon neutral shipping. Our sustainable, Econyl based swimwear produced in small batches at a luxury factory in Italy, where our fibers, fabric and manufacturing are done to maximize efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint.
How much does your background influence your designs?
I never trained in design, so I tend to think anything is possible, and that is a very free feeling of expression.
Are you constantly in touch with your customer? If so, how does he/she influence you?
I have over a 95 % repeat order rate. I designed custom holiday wardrobes for customers for almost a decade before I thought to scale the brand in a larger way. I take regular feedback from clients on fit and cut. Our social media is organic, and we are building our Instagram presence.
What distinguishes you from other resort-wear designers?
Our prints and patterns, butter soft fabrics, vibrant colors and delicate embroidery and craftsmanship.
What organizations do you support?
Verandah supports a reef rebuild project in the Andaman Ocean. We support the education of children of the traditional Tiger poaching community, the Mogya tribals, in an education project, the first of its kind to educate girls in 11 remote villages on the border on the Ranthambhore forest.
We have also adopted a sandbank on the edge of the Bramhaputra River in India in the Molai forest reserve where we have started to build a Verandah forest, with a ‘one tree planted for every e-commerce purchase’ tracked by a url accessible to any buyer.
How would you like to see the brand expand in the next five years?
I want to expand into active, home, accessories and beauty/wellness with a core focus on resort and swim.
I want people to say, ‘Wow, where did you get that?’ when my customers wear my designs.
And I want my customers to wear their pieces a thousand times.