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Updated: January 22, 2014 17:07 IST

The common thread

Shilpa Agarwal
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Drawn to Indian textiles: Jayadevi Cholayil
Drawn to Indian textiles: Jayadevi Cholayil

Jullaaha, a boutique in women’s ethnic wear, offers handcrafted, socially responsible and natural clothes

The allure of Indian textiles and her efforts to keep it vibrant led Jayadevi Cholayil to start Jullaaha, a niche boutique in women’s ethnic wear. With a NIFT Diploma and a creative streak that incorporates a social agenda, she created Jullaaha and its line of handcrafted, socially responsible and natural clothes.

Laboured by hand

Garments laboured by hand always have been prized over their machine-made counterparts. Starting from a small batik unit from the terrace of her home, Jayadevi has now designed saris for personalities such as Aishwarya Rai, Suhasini Maniratnam and Kushboo Sundar, to name a few. Natural elegance, subtlety and high-quality workmanship sum up the DNA of the label Jullaaha. The collection comprises saris, custom-made lehengas, salwars, ethnic stoles and skirts, men’s and kid’s wear.

Reaching out to women

Jullaaha also provides livelihood to many women from less privileged backgrounds as they are taught traditional techniques such as batik, block-printing, kalamkari, silk and mural painting. One of the endeavours for the uplift of women is the training conducted by the studio for those in Banyan, an institute for intellectually challenged women.

Jayadevi, also the director of the Cholayil Group, has ventured into a range of Ayurvedic personal care products at Jullaaha. Handmade with herbs and butters, they come in kalamkari packaging. “At Jullaaha and Cholayil, we offer consumers Ayurveda in the form of soaps and medicines and natural dyes, and handcrafted Indian textiles that are eco-friendly and beneficial to humanity,” says Jayadevi.

Jayadevi was the sole representative from Chennai at the World Craft Council Summit last year, which showcased the rich legacy of Indian crafts. “For me, empowering women in our country is very important. I believe that a venture has to have a purpose, beyond just making money.”

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