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Beauties from our backyard


STRIKING MANGALGIRIS, vibrant Chettinads, elegant silk cottons — all these and more are brought to you by the charming and enterprising duo, Nagaprasad and Shyamala Vedantham, at their store, Vedantham Collection. The term "traditional chic" best describes the saris here that are a skilful blend of simplicity and style, marked by unusual hues and ethnic designs.

"Innovation is our forte, in both design and colours," says Ms. Shyamala, who has studied Textile Technology. She also mentions that their designs are inspired by the rich heritage and culture of India. "We began in 1986 and have never looked back since. We experiment all the time with not only colours and designs, but with yarn as well," she adds.

"Both of us owe our innate aesthetic sense to our backgrounds," adds Mr. Nagaprasad, whose father, Vedantham Raghavaiah, was a classical dancer and a film director, who directed a number of Telugu classics such as Devdas, Anarkali, and Swarnasundari.

"We work from our heart," says Ms. Shyamala Vedantham who candidly confesses that while she thinks up ideas, her husband executes them. Mr. Nagaprasad handles the administrative and financial aspects. "People and relationships really matter to us and we enjoy long-standing relationships with many of our clients. From politicians to film folks, working professionals to housewives, it is a mixed clientele," she says. "We are the happiest when clients come back and tell us that a particular sari they bought nearly a decade ago is as good as new. Quality has been our single-minded focus and we do not compromise at all." According to the duo, despite the fact that they are not really aggressive salespeople, their clients more often than not end up buying more than they planned to buy.


"We have stood by our handloom weavers," reveals Mr. Nagaprasad, who points out that entire villages in India depend on traditional weaving as the source of livelihood. "However, Indian culture is moving towards westernisation and a big void is being created. The value of culture and tradition is slowly dwindling," he laments. Mr. Nagaprasad who says, "We have something beautiful in our own backyard," has this simple recipe for success: stick to your core values and you will do well. Don't cut edges and don't be in a hurry.

"We do want to expand and we want to have a place away from the City, where there will be plenty of open space and greenery, where people can just linger and pick up saris and also mangoes from the trees," he says.

The store also houses Kanchi cottons along with material for salwars and duppattas. While cotton and polycot saris are priced between Rs. 450 and Rs. 1,000, the silk-cottons are priced from Rs. 1,300 to Rs. 2,400.

The cotton saris (with pure silk borders) are priced between Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 2,100.

The store is situated at 16, Safina Plaza, 84/85, Infantry Road. It can be contacted on 5550756.

HARIPRIYA SRINIVASAN

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