Shanthi Subbu’s SilkyWay proves to be a one-stop shop for fashionistas

Shanthi Subbu’s route to designing was smooth as silk. Perhaps that is why she called her boutique SilkyWay, when she opened it 15 years ago in the city. Functioning from her home, she ensured that her saris and dresses were the talk of the town. Soon, the glitterati and the chatterati in the city were seen in her designer wear and handpicked collection that included a wide range of saris and dresses from looms across India. This was a clientele that did not always check the price tags. What mattered was the exclusive saris and dresses to suit every occasion. As the years went by, it was obvious that Shanthi had to think big to accommodate her growing collection and customer base.

It was a proud moment for her and her family when she moved into her spacious outlet at Hotel Hycinth on Manorama Road. For the fashionista, it is a one-stop shop that has everything for her wardrobe, right from clothes to footwear and accessories sourced from different places in India. Readymade blouses, running material, dress material, lehengas, salwar sets and saris complete the collection.

Shanthi is all smiles when she recalls her baptism as a designer. “Many of the men in our community are into the restaurant business while the women seem to have an eye for design and textiles. For instance, my two sisters and I are into designing saris and clothes. I have a flair for designs and a feel for texture,” says Shanthi, looking gorgeous in a deep red georgette sari with Pipli work on the border.

Shanthi’s collection includes Kancheevarams, chiffons, various kinds of Tussar, Kota, georgettes, silks and cottons. The standalone pieces are the ones that fuse materials, embroidery, textures and handwork. Each sari becomes a piece of art when it is combined with a bit of embellishment such as cut work, embroidery, beads, sequins, zari work and appliqué.

Prices begin at Rs. 850 for cotton Kota saris and go all the way to Rs. 60,000. “There is a misconception that I am expensive. That is why I have kept my lower range of designer wear near the entrance. It is to prove that we cater to all pockets and for all occasions,” she says.

While the ethnic footwear and accessories have been sourced, the saris and Indian collection have been designed and tailored to her specifications. “I have a team of weavers and tailors. So I am able to get what I want,” she adds.

Daughter Kruthika who is helping her mother in the business says she is proud of her mother’s eye for design and enterprise.