Monday, September 12, 2011

Spinning silken dreams

With an in-house designer whipping out unique creations based on their choice of fabric, Bangaloreans are flocking to the Sara Silk Store.

Have you ever found yourself clutching at a beautiful piece of fabric you paid through your nose for, fearing what lies at the other end of your tailor’s glistening scissors – sheer divinity or pure horror? Highly unlikely, if you are a regular at Bangalore’s Sara Silk Store.

Located on the up-market Museum Road, the Sara Silk Store retails in high-end fabrics ranging from the finest silk and silk-blended fabrics to crepes, nets, chiffons and georgette to the exquisite French chiffon and French Chantilly lace. And diligently churning out most fabulous designs based on these fabrics to woo customers with is a young fashion designer, tucked away in the back quarters of the store.

Oblivious to her modest surroundings - a plain wooden table inside a narrow room barely enough to fit two people at the same time - 21-year-old Aloka Gloria D’Souza eagerly flips through a thick stack of papers, proudly exhibiting her creations spun with nothing but water colours and a vivid imagination.
In a nutshell, Aloka’s job is to help customers visualise a desired fabric in a desired outfit – be it a salwar-kameez, ghagra-choli, saree, evening gown or even bridal trousseaus. This way the customer is saved any regret later (or the heart-pounding anxiety referred to earlier), while the store gains a satisfied patron. 
Aloka at work
Aloka explains her unique role, “Sara has so many different fabrics in several varieties that people tend to get confused. Many times, the customers are apprehensive of how it may shape out in a particular outfit or in a mix-and-match with another fabric; sometimes, they fall in love with the fabric but don’t know what to do with it. That’s where I step in.” 

“I sketch the designs for different fabrics and combinations and keep them ready for customer reference, but many times customers have asked us to create something especially for them based on the chosen fabric. We once had a Bengali woman picking a fabric for her wedding saree. All she knew was that it had to be in red-and-green with an embroidered velvet pallu. I came up with a silk brocade ensemble which she loved.”

The brainwave for such an in-house designer is that of Suraj Devatha and his cousin Vivek who started the Sara Silk Store together. It is the first retail unit of Niranjan Silk Palace, an established silk wholesaler, manufacturer and exporter in Bangalore. 

“We wanted to expand the family business and start something new. Unlike Bangalore, Delhi and Punjab have many stores retailing exclusively in silk materials and whom we supply to. We’ve seen their roaring success and we wanted to recreate something like that here. There are a lot of misconceptions about silk - people think silk is only for traditional outfits but there is so much more you can use it for, such as Western wear. We also wanted to educate people about silk,” explains Suraj. 

- Remuna Rai/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com 

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