Growing up in India, Anjali Purohit always had knack for the arts. “I wanted to be involved in something that was creatively inclined—even as a kid, I knew I wanted to make something that was tangible,” she remembers. Unlike most of us, she stayed laser focused on that goal, first getting her bachelor’s in accessory design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi and then locking down a master’s in showroom design at Nuova Academia Di Belle Arti in Milan.
Her next move was a surprising one, though—she got married and moved to Detroit about 10 years ago. From there, she worked in production and product development for companies like Woolworths UK, Orobianco Italy, and Pottery Barn USA. Still, she yearned to get a little more hands on—and also to focus on what goes into the things she was putting out into the world. As she says, “I began thinking a lot about the future of fashion and design and where it’s moving, so doing something sustainable was just a really obvious choice for me.” After a long period of research, she landed on the idea of building an eco-friendly, human-focused textile company that collaborates with different artisans from around the world. Called Variously, her line is chock-full of fringed scarves, weighty throws, and muted shawls, many of which are produced by women in communities in her native India. They’re accessories that also serve as postcards from a certain place and time, Anjali explains. “It’s no longer just a scarf or a throw. There’s a genuine story behind it.”