Designer Tina Eapen sets up shop in South Bengaluru
For half a decade, city-based designer Tina Eapen has been showcasing her collections across boutiques and at exhibitions in Bengaluru and beyond. “I’ve done 65 exhibitions so far at venues such as Rain Tree and have been a regular at Craft Council of Karnataka’s annual textile event, Vastrabharana,” shares Eapen. It’s no surprise then that the HR chief-turned designer finds she’s amassed a faithful client base since she started her label, Tina Eapen. Now, five years later, the 40-year-old has found a permanent home for her designs that celebrate Indian crafts and fabrics.
Her studio-cum-store stands at a prominent spot in HSR Layout and in keeping with her passion, the interiors are furnished with fabric heavy details — from cupboards upholstered with traditional textiles to dressing rooms adorned with handwoven material. Spread across 650 square feet, the store allows customers to experience the coarsenessof khadi cotton, admire the intricate handiwork of kalamkari prints or ponder over the complicated weaving of ikats. “I thought it’s time to have a place of my own, where my clients could visit whenever they felt like it, instead of waiting for my next pop-up or exhibition,” she says.
Eapen’s fabrics, which go into the making of saris, salwar sets, tunics, kurtas, maxi dresses and blouses are sourced from places like Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh, Kalahasti and Mangalagiri in Andhra Pradesh and Bhagalpur in Bihar. Her designs often blend two or more craft
traditions, so don’t be surprised to find that each piece has made its way to three of four different parts of the country before reaching her shelves. “Typically, I get the fabric from one group of weavers, say in Chanderi. Then it is sent to either Kalahasti for kalamkari work or Jaipur for block printing. From there, it comes to Bengaluru where a team of seven karigars work on embellishments and give it its finishing touches,” reveals Eapen, adding that the block prints are unique as they are designed by her.
The store currently stocks a wide range of pieces crafted from tussar silk, ikats, linen, khadi, mul mul and other handwoven fabrics featuring shibori patterns, ajrakh prints, and hand embroidered details, in a spectrum of hues such as indigo, pale pink, navy, coral, slate grey and vermilion. “Getting a fabric woven is not easy. The weaver has to think a hundred times before readying the loom for weaving. But when it finally reaches your hands, all the hard work seems worth it,” says Eapen signing off. Rs 500 upwards. At HSR Layout. Details: 9980137135.
— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo.