Inception of the idea

The idea about LaneFortyfive came to me in 2012, and it originated from a personal need. It was not easy for me to find clothes that suited my style. I like clothes to be straight, honest, modest yet very intense, made mostly out of singular fabric, much like our own skin, and in natural, earthly colours. For what brands were already out there, I often found something amiss. And if the clothing was close to perfect, the brand image would not be in agreement. When I realised I might not be able to find it all together, the only way left was to create my own clothing label.

I think I did not plan it that way, but almost for a couple of years I imagined and built the brand in my head – the image of the brand, the sort of fabrics and colors I wanted to use, the look and feel, photographic style, the ethos. I was conscious I knew not much about tailoring that time, though i was aware of patterns and fabrics and tailoring in theory, thanks to a childhood spent in India where buying branded clothes was supposed to be ‘cool’ and tailored clothes were looked down upon, but affordable. So growing up in a lower middle working class family meant either I visited the tailor almost every 3 months. In a way that I could not have imagined ever, that phase came very handy.

Once I had enough material in my head to work upon, I made a couple of navy corduroy over-shirts and took them to a flea market in London where I used to sell antiques and collectibles on weekends. They sold within 10 minutes and I got an early boost like a kid. After that, it was all about bringing LaneFortyfive to actual life. In the start of 2014, I began work on the designs, the fabrics, buttons, threads, colors, the name, and the logo. During that summer, we had our first ever photoshoot and the online store went live within 4 weeks.

The brand-name.

The name has a 2-part story behind it.
It is both thoughtful, and also hilarious. The ‘Lane’ part of it comes from an image I always had in my mind whenever I thought of my brand. A greyscale image that featured 3-4 men/women standing by the corner of a cobbled lane, wearing my clothes. They aren’t doing anything in particular. Almost passing time or relaxing in each other’s company. Not a lot is being said. Only one of them is staring at the camera. The rest of the lane is completely empty of people. The ‘Fortyfive’ part of the brand name comes from an incident that taught me that something negative can be turned into something positive and creative if the intent is honest and strong. You just need to feel for something as strongly and simply as probably a kid about his favourite toy. I suffered a back injury and was bed-ridden for 2 months. This was the time I utilized the most in creating the actual groundwork for the brand. The injury involved me herniating 2 lumbar discs in my back – Lumbar 4, and Lumbar 5. That gave me L4, L5, while I already had the mental imagery of the ‘lane’. And that was how the name came about.

Throwing – The Debut collection

In July 2016, ‘Throwing’ – the debut collection was launched in Shoreditch, London. The name of the collection comes from the very first stage of pottery, where the clay is prepared and thrown around onto the wheel to get a starting shape. It’s a precursor, but at the same time a finished piece of art in itself. Style is both an internal and an external concept. It begins in the mind and reflects outside through a number of mediums. Clothing is one of the most assertive mediums to express style. It is easy to find brands that do sartorial art only, or solely work-wear, or mainly specialize in denim craft. I wanted a consistency of ideas to combine these three or even more cohorts. The basic theme running in the background is the same. But the want is to bring different fabrics and ideologies to the same cutting table.

Fictional characters from books and films, different schools of thoughts, the honesty and bee-like dedication of manual labour lifestyle, work culture and industrial history around the world, nostalgia, memories and stories gathered over the years are some of the things that inspired this collection. I prefer the photography and clothes to reflect that too. Clothes to me are such beautiful pieces of art that need to be subjected to the same perceptual differences as may be an abstract painting.

The road ahead…

Absolutely no definite idea about it. But I am sure it would be worthwhile as it already has been so far. Anton & Olivia, the second collection is soon out, and I can’t already wait to start work on the third collection to be released in May 2017. All the years I sat on a desk at my day job, I wondered how it must feel like to be in absolute love with what you do. For many a year the creative side of me somehow got sidelined as a result of towing the line and walking down the same, beaten path. May be the social pressures and being indirectly asked to satisfy the set expectations and norms in a small village town in India to be blamed. Thankfully it all changed when I moved to London a decade back. The frog was out of the well. And intends well to make the most of it.