C0-founders Bhaavya Bhatnagar and Rishi Baweja of Hannan Jewelry joined hands with LifestyleAsia India’s #LSAForLocal campaign to support homegrown businesses, creating the Hannan coin pendant and bracelet.
When you study the art of nomenclature, you realise that a brand’s name is a great indicator of the values that it holds the closest. Unconsciously, it was perhaps the reason why Bhaavya Bhatnagar and Rishi Baweja gravitated towards Hannan for their handcrafted jewellery label. Named after their embroider-in-chief, Abdul Hannan, the label is an ode to craftsmen and the duo’s interaction with them.
The inception of Hannan happened at an Alexander McQueen exhibit at the MET in 2011. It was here that Rishi, despite his finance background, found himself intrigued by the creative side, “It was an inflexion point for me, and I knew I was going to do something in design.” As Rishi continued to pursue finance and business, Bhaavya who studied design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York returned to launch her eponymous label in New Delhi.
“It was at that time that we both realised the synergy that we had. It was effortless and we kind of got each other on the creative front. We knew we were going to do something together. We just didn’t know what at that time,” shares Bhaavya. Rishi, on his return to India, found himself drawn to India’s cultural heritage – the different handicraft hubs, art and craft techniques and more. His enthusiasm for India’s untapped design resource and Bhaavya’s fashion backdrop led them to launch Hannan in the fall of 2019. “Hannan started as a creative playground to explore different crafts and different ideas that we had together,” says Bhaavya.
The aesthetic at Hannan Jewelry is minimalistic, however, the craftsmanship and material usage is rooted in local techniques, styles and materials. Both the design process and inspiration is fairly fluid, “Each piece at Hannan is a co-existent deeply felt emotions and feelings with all of these surreal and imaginary worlds, we have built-in our heads,” says Bhaavya. “Hannan is where our inner worlds meet a parallel and imagined world. The true essence of Hannan is that it is not just a brand. It is a feeling.”
A few months after the brand’s launch, the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, thereby completely upturning the initial enthusiasm and speed that the brand had picked up with its playful and contemporary jewellery styles. “It was certainly not how we had imagined the first few months of our new journey to begin but we also feel that it sparked a very different kind of a movement for us in terms of how we approach our design. It taught us how to improvise and make the best use of being in a certain situation,” points out Rishi.
“It also deepened our relationship with our team,” shares Bhaavya. When they reached out to their local craftsmen to ensure their safety, the duo was amazed by the resilience, positive thinking, and motivation they had for the times ahead. “I remember our head of jewellery making, Rehanji telling us to think of this time as a blessing. As one can create without being consumed by the daily processes of doing a business.” During the lockdown, we would send him designs and make pieces out of the already existing materials at his home factory. This, in turn, paved the way for how we approached the design and even now, we work with different materials from different parts of the country and how we are able to really blend them and create the pieces that we create.”
This support (both mental and financial) that the brand lends to their craftsmen is the embodiment of the #LSAForLocal campaign mindset. For the collaboration, they’ve created the Hannan Coins, handcrafted pieces that bear the LifestyleAsia logo and bear testimony to lending support to local craftsmen, small businesses, and brands that are committed to preserving our design traditions.
All images: Courtesy Hannan Jewelry