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The exhibition cum sales of Weaves assembled an array of pure cotton and silk garments in Sri Mulam Club. Designs in pure cotton and handmade work made the exhibits even more attractive. This is an event organized to promote the weavers of the ethnic varieties of handlooms from the different states of India.
At Weaves, the stall from Andhra Pradesh named Iris Desires attracted quite a crowd. The owner Sampathkumar was asking them to refrain from photographing his materials.
We from Yentha were drawn by his beautiful collections too and we approached him to talk about the exquisite beauty of the materials exhibited in his stall.
This retailer from Andhra Pradesh is here to display the artistic work of his wife. He told Yentha, “My business started 7 years back with just one employee. Now I have 20 ladies working for me. My wife is the chief designer of what I sell. Her aptitude for drawing and designing are what encouraged us to start this business.”
The pair has followed certain norms while selecting their employees. He says, “Ours is a ladies oriented organization which promotes the employment of under privileged women. We try to give them economic freedom. Even if the women have no prior artistic experience, we provide them with the necessary training.
Sampathkumar’s collections depict scenes from Indian tradition and life and he has a special reason for doing so. He says, “Ladies today are more attracted to modern culture and tend to forget our traditions. In order to familiarize them with our traditional ways, we started incorporating such scenes into our designs. So we have the Gopika collections, Kathakali, Temple concepts and so on.
The couple did not find success in their business immediately upon starting. The first six months proved to be quite discouraging. But they did not give up. Gradually it flourished in Andhra Pradesh and made a splash with the college going girls. Currently Iris Desires, which deals in Sarees, Churidhars and Dhupattas markets its products only in South India.
Sampathkumar promotes the handloom industry also by using handloom materials for his designs. Sampath procures the pure materials from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. According to him, it takes 6 hours to finish one cotton handloom dress. Acrylic paint is used on these fabrics. While his wife Vijayasheela draws the faces in the paintings on the fabric, the staff finish up the remaining parts.
He also explained why he discourages people from taking photographs of his materials. ” People who have little knowledge about this will start to duplicate it. When fashion-designing students copy them, I encourage them to look at it and create their own concept. Last week Sampath’s Iris Desires exhibition was conducted in Thrissur. According to him it was an immense hit there. His dress materials range from Rs.1300- Rs.1600 and Kurthas Rs. 1000. He introduced the Kurtha collection for those who hesitate to wear churidhars and sarees since it can be worn with jeans and leggings.” He expects that through his garments, people will come slowly back to their traditional values.
Samapath works as a freelance mutual investment consultant, but is always there to encourage his wife and her team. As a concluding message he adds, “ My wife is a regular home maker but she has an inborn artistic talent. She comes from a very conservative background, but now she gives live demonstrations of her artistic talents. You have to promote ladies in their endeavors. If a lady sets her mind to succeed, she definitely will. My wife is the best example for it.”
Next year he plans to take the depiction of our culture in his collections abroad. He already has customers in the UK to whom he sends his collections and has been getting very encouraging responses from them.
Yentha wishes this entrepreneur with a yen for the traditional, the very best in his ventures.