I’ve always loved the rituals of a festival, could be of any religion. They are reasons for me to make merry more often than not. So when I chanced upon Jyoti Reddy’s contemporary yet traditional saris during the sari exhibition curated by the Crafts Council of India, a month and half ago, I mentally put together my lookbook for all seasons and reasons.
The lady studied economics, sociology and statistics in Mumbai but shifted to America after marriage. There she acquired a Masters in Business Administration, but India lured her back possibly for a mission. From hereon with no prior background in textiles, she assiduously worked on finding inroads into the global textile and fashion industry with the help of her friends and international trade shows. And devoured anything and everything related to design, colour and traditional weaves during her numerous travels and relevant exposure.
With years of research and experience she now takes pride in introducing an authentic eri silk brand inspired by the rich, ancient tradition of rearing, spinning and weaving eri in a remote region nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, of Assam.
Ereena primarily combines Eri and Muga, natural wild silks, in handloom weaves with a contemporary yet traditional twist. Their present collection explores Ikat and Uppada weave in fashionable colours. The limited edition eri silk saris can also be termed as Ahimsa saris as their process of producing silk is non-voilent and non-chemical in nature. The eri moths are allowed to mature and fly away from open ended cocoons once they complete their life cycle. These moths feed on castor plant which requires little water for sustenance, compared to cotton, leaving very low carbon footprint. The yarn is spun by tribals which is innovatively developed by ereena’s textile technologists in their facility. The fabric breathes and drapes beautifully, gleaming with a matte sheen. Jyoti calls it an ‘intelligent or smart fabric’ as it’s unique in keeping warm in winter and cool in summers.
Through its parent company’s association ereena is also working in tandem with a Dutch NGO- ‘Women on Wings’. It seeks empowerment of women, improves livelihoods and promotes handlooms.
Her plate seems mighty full and the real challenges are about balancing her work and personal lives. Each day is an adventure as she works hard on keeping the weavers motivated. So ‘me time’ with spiritual workouts like yoga, learning carnatic music, listening to devotional, Hindustani or film music is always a squeeze.
For Jyoti her childhood influences have been a creative and graceful mother and a father whose stories of perseverance and dynamism never jaded with life. These have remained engraved in her head since then, and were apparent when she spoke at length of ereena; carving a niche in an increasingly aware world that respects its heritage and environment. I am keeping my fingers crossed for this brand to make headlines soon, just like the many others I’ve featured.
Ereena saris will retail by appointment from the ereena store located in Plot no. 1190, Road 59, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad from November 10th, 2014.
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