Saree Label :
Where are you retailing the sarees at present?
■ My residence: A-11 Mahaveer Nagar, Tonk Road, Jaipur
■ Malaga, at Palladium Mall, Mumbai
What is the price range?
The cotton sarees begin with Rs. 3500 and the silk kadhwa sarees can go upto Rs. 40,000.
What weaves and cloth do you specialize in?
My specialty is the kadhwa weave (where in addition to the warp and weft, there is a third yarn used to do embroidery on the loom). This is a highly skilled and time consuming process and the master-weavers who specialize in this weaving technique are getting extinct by the day.
How and why did you begin with this enterprise?
I belong to Benaras; my family has been in the weaving industry for over a century. Our flagship store, The Indian Textiles Co. at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai is over eighty years old. I have grown up seeing saree weaving. We had over 200 looms in our premises until the late eighties. The master weavers who I work with today are the same young lads who had accompanied their father and grandfather while they were working for my family.
Who are the people behind this?
I started four years ago after settling in Jaipur. At the time, traditional hand-woven textiles were considered old fashioned and frumpy. The idea was to revive the beautiful Benarasis that I loved so much. I started out by connecting with our old weavers who had scattered and moved onto powerloom and other lucrative jobs during the slump in the weaving industry. Then I had to find the old designs which were a huge challenge because nothing is documented as such. Sometimes I got lucky if I found a frayed drawing or scrap of brocade at a weaver’s place.
Now, I am working closely with Sribhas Supakar ji for all my R&D. He is an authority on textiles and a very renowned figure from Benaras. Infact, at present I am also studying textiles and weaving techniques under his tutelage.
Where are your looms based?
How have you contributed in reconstructing the lives of your workers?
Bulk of my collection is being sourced directly from the weavers. I pay them a decent amount as opposed to a bigger “gaddi” or saree trader who generally gives the actual weaver pittance for his labour. Plus its security for the weaver in that he knows I’ll take his production. Also, I personally guide the weavers in terms of the fabric, design modifications if any and use of colours, which helps them change and innovate a saree according to latest trends; keeping up with times.
What are the latest trends in sarees?
Hand-woven traditional sarees are in vogue, especially the Benarasi !
What is the USP of your sarees?
USP is definitely the traditional designs but in contemporary colours and pure yarn (quality is a real issue in Benaras at the moment). Plus my pricing is very fair and attractive since I don’t add overheads, like other saree shops.
Which is your all time favourite design and colour?
The Panchmukhi arra saree is my favourite design and purple is my all time favourite colour.
Your upcoming shows in 2013:
Purnam, Delhi: 12th July@ Ashoka
FICCI Flo Bazaar, Jaipur: 1st-2nd August @ Rambagh Convention Centre
Savoir Faire, Kolkata: 2nd September @ Taj Bengal
Bridal Asia, Delhi: 5th-7th October @ Ashoka
Ruchika’s, Mumbai: 9th October @ World Trade Centre
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