Textiles have been long been a passion with me, even as a little girl. I was a rather effervescent, hyperactive little girl, and the only time I would be quiet was when I was embroidering, cutting up bits of cloth or sewing.
I remember, an incident when I was around 7 years, My uncle was an exporter and he had heaps of swatches of what we call Madras Checks stocked up in the rambling house the joint family lived in ,In Chennai. Once, it is said, I dropped out of everyone’s vicinity and when worried uncles and aunts did a search for me, they found me admist these stacks of heaped swatches. I literally was drowned in the colour of the Madras Checks, and I still recall their colours, smells and textures.
When I look back, it seems to me I had some innate connection with textiles always. Who knows, but this may even have been a hangover from a past life?
My mother was a math teacher and she was not particularly attached to textiles. Of course, like most women of her generation she wore the most exquisite handlooms and in school was known for the crisp Bengal cottons that she wore every day. I still recall the anger and frustration I felt, when she or my aunts collected their zari saris and gave them away to the bhartanwalla, who in those days would give you a steel vessel for an old sari with zari. But I hated the fact that she was giving away these precious saris that were part of my psyche while growing up. I still remember one green Banarasi sari with a mustard border that that was given away to the steel bhartanwallah!
My heart breaks at the thought that ,that sari has vanished from my life forever.
In those days, girls from families like ours were not allowed to go anywhere by themselves. So I would drag my mother to every exhibition and handloom store when I wanted to see textiles! I even dragged her to Pochampally village when it was still a small weavers’ town and ikat itself had not gained the popularity it did later.
While my parents didn’t encourage me, they didn’t discourage me either. We had crafts classes in school, and in holidays I enrolled at Bal Bhavan for embroidery classes. My dad would get me all sorts of books, on stitching and embroideries that kept my interest going.
Like most upper middle class families, they felt a degree was important, and since they had dreams of turning me into an astute chartered accountant, I was enrolled in a BCom college which I completed successfully. I had to draw the line though when they insisted I do my articles with a CA firm. Within a few months, I quit and started my foray into designing garments.
The very first shop I had in Srinagar Colony was called Threads and Needles, and that brand grew into an outlet called Srishtie where I customized clothes for a regular clientele. What gave me confidence to plunge into business probably was the fact that even as I finished college, I had a sale of salwar kurtas, blouses among other things and managed to have a sell-out exhibition!
Srishtie changed a few locations, before it morphed into Studio Rama.
The brand among other things will showcase clothes that are strictly handmade, are essentially handloom, and are one of a kind of pieces.
What’s my style? I am often asked: I believe I am a traditionalist at heart ( personally I prefer Indian clothes, especially the sari) and my clothes reflect my philosophy of clothing:
they will be vibrant clothing for the women of today who is steeped in her past as much as she is a daughter of the future. The clothes that you will see on the website will certainly not be blingy (for that you will have to look at other sites) but will be authentic handlooms fashioned for both comfort and style.
Welcome to STUDIO RAMA.