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Stitch your style

A. SHRIKUMAR
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TREND Try out customizing your costumes to sport a fit and chic cover this festive season.

ENGROSSED Tailors cashing in on Diwali rush PHOTO: A. SHRIKUMAR
ENGROSSED Tailors cashing in on Diwali rush PHOTO: A. SHRIKUMAR

M any still recall how a decade back, diwali fever set in three months before the big day. Selecting matching fabrics, pairing them up, juggling in the ‘Adi' sales crowd, the preparation was spread over weeks.

Style was a stitched concept then and long queues lined up at the local tailor's shops. With bulk orders and long awaited deliveries, the trend was to give priority to fit and fabric-strength.

“Nowadays, people just don't have the patience to go for tailored garments. We used to get busy with exclusive diwali work three months before the festival, but now, it lasts just 10 days”, rues, Sadasivam.

He further observes, men have almost stopped wearing custom-made shirts and trousers, going for the latest trends and designs in the prêt-a-porter brands. Booming brand-consciousness, easy availability and maintenance of ready-mades has laid the bait for them.

Cheap ready-mades

“Retail garments are quick options unlike the ordeal orders and difficult deliveries involved in tailored clothes. Moreover ready-mades are much cheaper, with a full-sleeve shirt available for just Rs.150, which is the tailoring charge alone, apart from the fabric cost,” feels Mohan, a Bank employee.

Average tailoring charges include Rs. 40 for blouse, Rs. 210 for salwar-kameez set and Rs.250 for shirt and trouser set. Only a particular section of people – mostly men and women in their 50s and 60s, with traditional mindset -- still patronise tailors.

“The unique fit and strong stitch that stands the test of time impress us and we still stand by tailored garments” opines, Sekaran, a retired Government official.

But the young generation just doesn't believe that tailors can step up their style-quotient. “Though there are many advantages in stitched clothes, the latest designs and styles hit the retail showrooms on time and tailors are unable to keep pace with them,” remarks Krishnan, a B.E student of Raja College.

Uniqueness

“Some unique factors that make young men come to us are ticket pockets, hidden shirt pockets and spare buttons. Such facilities can't be expected in ready-made clothes” beams, Nakulan, Pudumandapam tailor.

Hordes of men and women can be seen getting pattu pavadais, shirts, salwars and skirts done in no time from the 50 odd tailors here. Majority of their customers during diwali are people from neighbouring rural areas who still stick to stitched clothes.

Only women loyally throng these small tailors for blouses and piping their sari salvages, besides salwar sets and frocks. Girls are pretty satisfied with their salwars stitched, as it can be customized like slit or folded sleeves, ‘V', ‘U' or a ‘W' neck with the flow of an ‘A' or ‘H'. Tailors are very much update with various fits and cuts like short churidars, patialas, gatherings, umbrellas and anarkalis. “The recent rage is the body hugging ‘enthiran' salwars with heavy darts and gatherings till knee” sputter a group of college goers while placing orders at a tailor shop.

The other major plus point everyone finds in tailored dress is that it provides room for alterations if necessary, which is not possible in ready-made garments. The tailors work and rework on a particular piece till it gains the satisfaction of the customer and you can very much rely on him for the flawless fit. Even if you gain some lumps and still want to squeeze into your favorite dress, the tailor can repair it! But this can't be done with the ‘branded' ones.

For those who exceed XLs and XXLs, the tailors come handy. "We have special machines to stitch jeans for large people, as size is no barrier to style. Unlike ready-to-wear manufacturers, we don't use template sizes and fixed dummies. This opens the option of enjoying latest models in all sizes,” reflects Raghavan, a tailoring shop owner.

Though the local tailors are losing patronage among the increasingly fashion-conscious crowd, suave finishing and flawless fitting is something special, that still speaks for the age- old thread ‘n' needle work.

A. SHRIKUMAR

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