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With an award for innovative design in their kitty, Kaya offers contemporary hand-woven saris using traditional art

A Couple of lanes from Billroth Hospitals, away from RA Puram’s  bustling traffic, is the quaintly ethnic oasis, Kaya. An incense-scented space with clutter-free displays of garments and knick knacks, it was started a little over a year ago as a design house—to incorporate contemporary KAYA10design with traditional textiles, embroidery and dyeing techniques from around the world. Helming the initiative is artist and dancer Priya Rajkumar, who promotes traditional art and artisans through the boutique. Her efforts are supported by her husband, Karthikeyan Balaraman, who teaches textile design at NIFT and is a graduate of NID, Gujarat.
“Hand crafted saris are Kaya’s signature,” begins Rajkumar, of the products that are also displayed at Amethyst. “The Itajime Hues collection is inspired by the Japanese technique of clamp dyeing (available in subtle shades and geometric designs). This design won the most innovative collection award at NIFT’s Graduation Awards 2014,” explains the 39-year-old. We also like the Kadambam collection, which comes with black-and-white block prints and bright silk dupion borders. Lightweight, it is ideal for everyday use.
Their Bagalpuri sari collection has rich colours—like turquoise blue, red and brown—with contrasting pallus. KAYA9Not design heavy, its simple lines catch our eye. Kaya also promotes Mangalgiri saris to promote the weavers. “Additionally, we collaborate with a self-help group called Porgai (in Dharmapuri district) to support the tribal art that we use on our kurtas—which you will find in Kanchi cottons with block print and dupion silk borders,” says Rajkumar.
Kalamkari has also been given a twist with eye-popping shades in sari borders and embroidery. All the saris on display are simple, lightweight and minimalistic, keeping our warm climate in mind. The design team at Kaya comprises of design interns from NID and NIFT, who are guided by Balaraman. The boutique also sources products like bags, pottery, incense, cushion covers, paintings, earrings and stoles from Auroville vendors.Rs.5,000 upwards for saris. Details: 42159426

—Preethi Ann Thomas

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