“The feel of the silk, created without harming the silkworm, is very different. I found it smooth and comfortable. It’s a very light fabric that doesn’t weigh you down. It also has a very subdued sheen to it and never gets crumpled,” she explains. The only issue with it though, she tells us, is that it is highly time consuming to weave, so weavers generally avoid it. Hence, her weaving is done in a small pocket in Madhya Pradesh. The dyeing, the first step of the entire process is also done using natural colour in Aranya, Munnar, which is managed by Tata Tea and the printing is done in Machalipatnam, Andhra Pradesh by one of South India’s best vegetable dye block printers.
While saris are ahimsa silk handwoven and yarn dyed, she also has a range of resort wear crafted from organic cotton handspun khadi for the ‘craft-oriented’ buyer. Her garments are very roomy and airy yet aesthetically pleasing, with a special attention to colour and comfort. Her range of merino wool and eri silk scarves are particularly stunning and come with four flaps and in beautiful shades, combining vermilion and bright orange, cyan and grey, and lemon yellow with olive green. Her collection also extends to maxi dresses, palazzos, kurtas, and a range of cotton and linen shirts for men. “My clothes are very versatile, they are light and summery but you can also make them dressy with just a few touches here and there. They’re not very structured. But the feel of the fabric and the beauty of the way it falls is what makes them special,” explains Rao.
For Rao, it is also about sustaining the weavers, printers and dyers, whose crafts are dying a slow death. To that end, she also uses them for her home furnishings that include cushion covers, duvet covers, shams, and quilts.
Rs.2,000 upwards. At The Verandah, Haudin Road. Details: 25590988