Thangam Mathai looks at the sari as a canvas on which she can display her art and creativity
The hall at Raintree on Sankey Road is filled with women. The room is draped with bright colourful saris designed by Thangam Mathai from Chennai.
Women of all age and sizes are draping the saris of their choice on themselves casually. Thangam and her daughter are helping them holding the pallu or the pleats as the women turn this way and that way as they look at themselves in the large mirrors and their relatives for approval.
Thangam and her daughter too are draped in lovely silk saris from their label Mayuri. This is Thangam’s second sale in the city and “the response has been overwhelming,” she says. She shows off really pretty saris with lot of geometrical patterns. Her saris are designed in vibrant shades and there are at least two or three colours in each of them and more in others. “I love geometry and colours. I start working with a white fabric. Right from the weaving, to the dying to the prints and sequins, I am involved in it. Everything is done in house. For me they are not just saris but more like a six yard canvas on which I can display my creativity. A sari offers you unlimited possibilities when it comes to design,” says Thangam. She adds that though she is not very good at drawing, she can visualise and that, she says, has been her strength.
Thangam started off as psychology student and after marriage “did not want to take up a regular job. So I started designing saris. With sheer passion and determination, I started sourcing saris and then got involving in every aspect of designing,” says the lady who has had no formal training in design.
In her younger days she did dabble in designing western wear but gradually she stuck to designing just saris and dress materials and duppattas. “I believe in simplicity with a little embellishment. I love to create a sari for no matter where you go you are sure to make heads turn with a sari,” explains Thangam who adds that she does not repeat any design. Thangam works with fabric such as tussars, georgettes and silks. Then she shows you some of her designs. “You have to open my saris to understand the concept and the design,” she says.
Thangam has two outlets in Chennai and she also sells through exhibitions. “Every exhibition is like an exam for me. I get butterflies in my stomach. Once I see the customer’s reaction, I get to know whether I have passed or failed,” smiles Thangam.
She is also into custom designing and also designing wedding trousseaus. “I take on every design as a challenge.” Her saris start at Rs. 2,000 upward for cottons, Rs. 4,000 and above for silk, and Rs. 4,500 for chanderis. To contact Thangam you can mail firstname.lastname@example.org.