Success is not tailormade. Or is it? Find out from D. Shekar, owner of a popular boutique in the city
Transforming a piece of cloth into a garment and adding a designer touch to make it unique… D. Shekar, owner of Pretty Girl Fashionwear, a tailoring shop in Alwarpet, talks to us about what it took to make his dream of making the cut as a specialist tailor, come true. Moving to Chennai in 1993, from a small village in Rajasthan, he was a complete novice to city life. The same year, he opened a small tailoring unit on TTK Road in a huge apartment complex. His customers comprised people from the neighbourhood and a few television stars who gave him sari blouses to be tailored and, if need be, altered.
But his flair for cut, design and finish won the hearts of many in and around Alwarpet. By the year 2000, he had established a full-fledged tailoring unit with two helpers. He began to stock fabric in his tiny shop for the convenience of customers who could enjoy the facility of buying and tailoring their clothes at one place. “Initially, life was tough, as I was a stranger to the city, but by 2000, especially after stocking up on yardage and setting up a pucca shop, my customer base expanded,” says Shekhar with a proud smile.
By 2008, customers from all over the city thronged his shop not just to have clothes stitched, but also to buy the beautiful designer saris and salwar suits that caught their fancy. “I changed the interiors of my shop, transforming it into a boutique. I love travelling and visit Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Punjab, New Delhi and Jaipur to source saris and unstitched designer suits.”
Today, his boutique is filled with saris and salwar/churidhar material. This year, he has launched a trendy collection of shirts and tunics for teenagers. The shop also stocks apparel for kids, which includes colourful frocks and stylish tees.
Deepa, a homemaker, has been a customer of Pretty Girl ever since its inception. She says, “I feel the boutique is like a Mumbai dukaan in Chennai because as far as I know one doesn’t get to see such a variety of bandhini prints or floral embroidery anywhere else in the city. Be it sari blouses or salwar suits, I come only here to get them tailored, though I don’t reside in Alwarpet.”
Business has been brisk for the past 21 years. “I am passionate about my work and Pretty Girl is my most prized possession. My wife, our three children and I spend most of our time at the shop interacting with customers. The children even give me fashion updates. A few years ahead, I wish to see more Pretty Girls around the city, as I hope to open branches.”