TEXTILE designer and co-founder of Delhi-based apparel and home décor store, Add Ons, Rema Kumar calls Chennai her second home. “I went to school and college in Chennai and I visit quite often as I have family and friends here.” However, Kumar’s recent visit to the city is about her first love, the sari. The textile aficionado showcases her latest collection of handcrafted saris with ‘For Love of the Saree’ at Chamiers. Ideal for spring and summer, the elegant drapes have been interestingly hand-woven from different parts of India. Expect a vibrant array of handlooms (stoles and dupattas) including muslin, soft cottons from Ponduru in Andhra Pradesh, bafta tussar-cotton blends from Chattisgarh, cotton twills, maheshwaris and chanderis from Madhya Pradesh. Her choices of hues are predominantly bright reds, oranges, greens and bright yellows with block prints, batik and patti work.
Kumar uses weaves meant for silk saris, like twill and basket weaves ,and integrates them into cotton saris. Though she started designing home linen for an export house in ’94, her label, Rema Kumar, was realised in 2000. Kumar has already showcased her saris in cities like Hyderabad, Kochi, Coimbatore and Bangalore. She usually brings her collection to the city twice —during summer and winter. Her picks for the city are cotton saris, stoles and dupattas as these do well according to her. Kumar, who holds a master’s degree in textiles and clothing from JBAS College (Chennai), says, “I try to incorporate different crafts into the weaves, and I feel that is my forte. The surface detailing by way of patti-ka-kaam (appliqué work), kalamkari, hand-block and cutwork after the pieces reach me from the looms, gives them a unique look. Sometimes a piece has work from four different states,” she adds.
The revivalist has worked closely with women artisans in Kedarnath for close to eight years, providing them with an impetus to widen their repertoire from only woollen and silk shawls in winter to weaving dupattas and saris through the summer, ensuring a consistent livelihood. Add On also stocks her collections of woven saris, dupattas and blouse pieces. Her saris are available online at jaypore.com and indianroots.com.
At Chamiers on February 7 and 8. Rs 2000 to Rs 15,000. Details: 9810656955
— Shibi Kumaramangalam