Designer Anuradha Ramam bats for traditional Indian weavesMarch 16th, 2011 - 12:28 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) She is one of those designers who prefers to use traditional handwoven fabrics and crafts in her collection and Anuradha Ramam’s passion for handspun fabrics has led her to create a network of over 350 weavers in West Bengal and 50 in Andhra Pradesh.”My fervour for keeping the traditional crafts alive for the next generation inspired me to opt for such a creative field,” Anuradha, who grew up in Haldia in West Bengal and shifted base to the national capital after her marriage, told IANS.
The designer believes that by relying on handspun fabrics, she is bridging the gap between tradition and younger generation.
“I’m definitely trying to build bridges between them, so if a girl wants an ikat skirt with kantha work or a halter top with Kutch embroidery, I’ll give it to her,” she said.
Although the journey hasn’t been easy, her passion and quest for perfection and a positive attitude helped her make a mark. “In spite of being so influenced by western culture and designs, there is a particular section which still loves the Indian garments. They are the ones who motivate me to come up with more varieties and designs.”
How did it all begin?
“One day I showed my designs to some weavers who agreed to transform them from graphs to beautiful fabrics and since then there has been no looking back.”
“It’s a constant pursuit. I draw and graph every design of mine for my weavers to comprehend what it will look like after weaving. We are constantly interacting, which involves travelling and supervising. Sometimes, because of the distance involved, there are errors in design and weaves, but I have been able to use this to my advantage,” Anuradha explained.
Elaborating on her interactions with the weavers, she said: “The work varies from finalising the cotton count in a garment, selecting the colours and shades and then selecting the design. The most astounding fact is that everything is handwoven and so the colours and weaves vary with every batch, making the end-product unique, bold, vivid and arresting.”
“My colours are my forte: I put them together in my own way, just like in a painting. I put layers and layers of paint till I achieve what I want. I use my colours, weaves, embroideries and prints in such a way that it looks like textile art!”
“All of it comes together to tell a story. It becomes a one of a kind and my clients refer to it as Anuradha Ramam!”
Who, then, is her target audience?
“My buyers are women of substance. People who are willing to push the edges, people who stand out in a crowd, working women, people looking for true designer wear that is affordable,” she said.
This philosophy has helped her develop a highly appreciative clientele consisting of eminent personalities like actor Kirron Kher, actor- politician Deepa Das Munshi and TV producer Radhika Roy, to name just a few.
“Traditional crafts have to be kept thriving and if we can use our handicrafts as things of beauty and utility, why shouldn’t we? These ladies are known as the strong representatives of Indian style and design and have always admired my style,” said Anuradha.
Her products also retail abroad.
“My products go to some of the high-end stores in San Francisco and to buyers in the UK and the US. I am also planning to open some of my stores in the UK and the US.”
Does she find any difference between selling in India and abroad?
“People are very appreciative both in India and abroad. I sell because of my unusual colour sense and intricate weaves,” Anuradha said.
Despite her hectic schedule thanks to her annual solo shows in India and abroad and participating in the exhibitions of the Craft Council of India in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai, Anuradha has been actively involved in social work and has designed exclusively for fund-raising events for various NGOs and societies like Tamana (School for mentally challenged and autisim sufferers) and Save Children India.
“This gives me the satisfaction of contributing to society,” she said.
(Nivedita Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com)
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