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    Fashion meets bamboo and red sorelle leaves in Studio 9696’s latest experiment.

    WHILE a spoonful of gongura pickle is common place on an Andhra meal platter, what about gongura in your wardrobe? We are equally surprised when Sandeep Ravi, co-founder and designer at Studio 9696, reveals his fabric choice for his new collection—bamboo, beach wood and the famed gongura. Sourcing his material from suppliers who have been in the city for close to two decades, Ravi says, “More often than not, we go looking for unconventional fabrics elsewhere, overlooking the potential of the sources we have in our own vicinity.”

    Low-key quirk
    The weft of the fabric uses the new materials, while cotton is used for the warp, giving the fabric durability and a softer texture. Ravi tells us its fall is perfect for loose, carefree western silhouettes. The garments—ranging from tops, shirt dresses, pullovers, dresses, coats and trousers—come in a beige palette with embellishments, like laser-cut denim and hand painted organic textiles, giving them some pop. Grass varieties like raffia are also used to add to the natural ornamentation of the garment. “We did not want to destroy the aesthetics of the organic fabric by using chemical dyes, which is why we’ve incorporated blues through denim, to add a hint of colour,” says Ravi. Also expect painted motifs of roses, layering and box cuts.
    Known for their quirky style, this isn’t the first time the four-year-old studio is incorporating atypical material. “We couldn’t play around much in our Indian collections because we stuck to traditional materials like raw silk. So we experimented with embellishments instead, using pen nibs, feathers, acrylic cut outs and hand-painted artificial petals,” adds the city-based designer.

    Wide radar
    Having launched the collection a week ago, the 26-year-old says, “When we assessed the market, we found that these kinds of fabrics are usually picked up only by expats or a more sophisticated crowd.” Wishing to change that perception and targeting a younger demographic he says that the clothes are simple yet contemporary, perfect for a brunch or an evening outing. “We’ve used different cuts and collages to give organic fashion a little twist,” he concludes.
    
    Rs 6,000 onwards. At Maalgaadi, Besant Nagar. Details: 8939275990

    — Lavanya Lakshminarayanan

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