Monday, 18 July 2016

The K Clothing Family - Part 2

Here is the continuation to our K Clothing Family...

Ramanathan | Age : 53 | Position : Accountant | Been around : 22 Years.

Ramanathan can be seen huddled over a pile of papers and cheque books all day.  He holds one of the most ‘make or break’ positions in the company – The Accountant. His whiz like skills with numbers is obvious from the 22 years experience in the field.  Not being much of a talker, it took quite a lot to get him to talk.  When he did, it was quite obvious why he likes working in accounts. He says it the simplest job on earth. While most of us would contest to that nonchalant statement, Ramanathan puts it very simply. He says, “its not much. It’s just juggling a lot of numbers but keeping them in their place. Only if you don’t know where a number comes from , you’ll find yourself in trouble. Otherwise its all simple.” Yes, he puts it that easily.
Ramanathan talks about his boss (Kaveri) in a revered manner. He talks about how her enthusiasm fuels people to work harder for her, her love for what she does and the way she does it with inexhaustible energy.
He talks about his family with the same enthusiasm. His daughter and son are following his footsteps in terms of career.

Sathya Nandam | Age : 34 | Position : Tailor | Been around : 8 Years.

One of our very talented in-house tailors, Sathya Nandam – often called Sathya by his colleagues is a quiet man, hunched over his sewing machine, looking up only when necessary.  This man with his marking pencil hooked behind his ear, is not pleased to be disturbed. He warmed considerably once we got to discuss his work. Sathya has been a commercial tailor since 1995. His knowledge in tailoring is reflected in the ease with which he handles the machine. When asked how much he enjoys his work, he said, “What is there to not enjoy my job? Each day is different from the other, everyday we get new work and everyday is another challenge.”
He went on to say “I am happy here because I feel respected. Each of our work is given importance here. There are times when we make mistakes and she (Kaveri) gets very angry, but when it’s justified; we work overtime to right the wrong. That is the biggest lesson I have learnt here – to take responsibility for the mistakes we make. “

Khan Bhai | Age : 54 | Position : Machine Embroidery | Been around : 10 yrs.

Niazilizyaqat Ali Khan – more easily known to his colleagues, as Khan Bhai - is a whiz with mechanized embroidery. He spent 10 years in the Gulf, which is where he picked up his skills. He talks about his time in the Gulf and how the designs there are much different from what it is here. When asked why he came back from the Gulf, he said, “ I missed my family. 10 years is a long time to be away. I decided to come back to my wife and children.”
While discussing what he likes and dislikes about his work, he promptly said, “I love embroidery. It comes naturally to me and I love the various designs that I get to do here. My only dislike is when the stress is high and when she (Kaveri) loses her temper. I’ve come to understand and I am now used to it, but it still makes me uncomfortable when there is so much anger around me. “

Mary Basilica | Age: 37 | Position: Tailor | been around: 10 years.

Mary started off with a lot of hand sewing in an export house in Bangalore where she gained most of her experience. She learned that she wanted to be in tailoring for a very long time.  She went to some basic tailoring classes before she started work at K Clothing.  She talks about how proud she is about where she started and where she is now.  She says, “I enjoy a little challenge, and here, every design has a different method. When I look back on where I started, I realize how much I have grown because of this company.”

Pazhani | Age: 39 | Position: Tailor | been around: 7 years

Pazhani is not a newbie to the tailoring field.  He has 5 years of work experience in an export company on Mount Road, Chennai.

When asked why he left that job,  he said, “it was getting monotonous. They were giving the same job over and over and I felt like there was no scope for improvement and growth.”  Pazhani is a determined man. He travels 140 Kms to work everyday. When asked why he prefers to travel that much, he said, “ I enjoy  the work here. It’s very different and fun.”   He says he doesn’t mind working over time because he wants the work to get done on time.  Pazhani goes home to his wife and 2 children.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

K Clothing's Ajrak Story . . .

We, at K Clothing, constantly strive to implement ancient textile traditions to contemporary clothing.  The Indian textile tradition is nothing short of magical – the detail and perfection of hand dyeing and printing never ceases to amaze those new to it. One of our best sellers is our Ajrak Printed dress.

Ajrak is a block-printed textile that is resist-dyed using natural dyes like indigo and madder. It is made by the Khatris community in Kutch, Gujarat and is distinguished by its color- blue with red - and its complex geometric and floral patterns. Its name is derived from 'azarak', 'blue' in Arabic and Persian.

Ajrak is a legacy craft passed on from generation to generation. It takes skill and patience to make Ajrak. There are between 14-16 different stages of dyeing and printing, which take 14-21 days to complete. The resulting cloth is soft against the skin and jewel-like in appearance, pleasing to touch and appealing to the eye. Common colours used while making these patterns are blue, red, black yellow. Our dresses use a combination of all these colours!

The level of geometry on the garment comes from the usage of a method of printing called woodblock printing in which prints were transferred from geometric shapes etched on the wooden blocks by pressing them hard on the fabric. Ajrak craft products are made with natural dyes. The entire production of the products includes both vegetable dyes and mineral dyes. Indigo is key dye.

Read more about our Woodblock Printed and Indigo Dyed clothes in our upcoming blogs.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Itajime Shibori - The Story Behind our Best-Seller...

Shibori is a Japanese manual resist dyeing technique, which produces patterns on fabric. There are an infinite number of ways one can bind, stitch, fold, twist, or compress cloth for Shibori, and each way effects in very distinctive patterns. 

Each technique is used to achieve a certain outcome, but each method is also used to work in harmony with the type of cloth used.
Therefore, the technique used in Shibori depends not only on the desired pattern, but the characteristics of the cloth being dyed.

Also, different techniques can be used in juxtaposition with one another to achieve even more rich results. Additionally, surface embellishments such a embroidery is applied onto the finished fabric for additional augmentation of the fabric.

Which one do we love?

Itajime Shibori is a shaped-resist technique (aka clamp-dye technique). Traditionally, the cloth is sandwiched between two pieces of wood, which are held in place with strings. More modern textile artists can be found using shapes cut from acrylic or plexiglass and holding the shapes with C-clamps. The shapes prevent the dye from penetrating the fabric they cover.

At K Clothing, our best seller thus far has been garments made with fabric of this technique dyed with indigo. The end result is a wonderfully sophisticated look, cool, breezy and classy and a sure hit among many women!

The K Clothing Family..

The 4.5 year journey of K Clothing has been a long but extremely exciting one! The K clothing team comprises of a whole bunch of talented tailors, embroiderers, pattern cutters and finally a leader who makes all of this happen!

The first ever show by K Clothing was in September 2011, ever since there was no looking back.  The designs are such a hit that people from all walks of life are knocking on our doors for what is possibly the most comfortable line of ‘Contemporary Linen’ clothes.

There is a saying ‘a boss says ‘go!’, a leader says ‘lets go!’’ which is the basic concept the company is built on. A strong foundation by a stronger leader.

This blog is all about the people who make the magic happen! K Clothing has a number of people who have stayed on since the beginning and some fresh talent.
Since there are so many, we will be breaking it down into 3 parts.  (The list is not in order of importance)

Revathy | Age: 30 | Position : Helper | Been around : 8 Years.

Here is a vibrant woman, without whom, the whole team would wonder where they left their scissors, tape, papers etc. She is the go to person if you need to know where something is in the organization.  If you ask her for something and she cant find it, she becomes quite flustered but eventually finds the same and hands it over to you with a huge smile.
Revathy comes from a humble background. She lost her husband and was left alone to fend for herself and her two girls Swetha ( 13 years old) and Sandhya (11 years old)
When asked why she enjoys working at Studio K, she answered with a vibrant smile, “ after coming here, I have seen such an improvement in myself and my life. She (Kaveri Lalchand) is the reason I look decent, dress neatly and speak properly. She has completely changed me, for the better.”

Muthulakshmi | Age : 33 | Position : Making Embellishments | Been around : 7 Years.

Muthulakshmi or better known as Muthu by her friends makes the tassels, beads and sequined embellishments that you find on some of our bestsellers. You can find her chattering and cracking jokes with her colleagues while working.  She lives with her parents in parrys and believes marriage isn’t her cup of tea. 
When asked what she loves about her job, she responded with a chuckle and said, “everything. What is there to not like about my job!”.
When asked how different working here was from the previous export company, she said, “My boss was not as beautiful. I really like the way she (Kaveri)) dresses and the way she gets angry and a minute later starts laughing!”

C. Jagannathan | Age : 44 | Position : Embroiderer | Been around : 7 Years.

You can find this man, at any point of time working his magic on fabric. When asked where he acquired his expertise, he said with a bit of remorse that he had his own embroidery unit that was thriving until machine embroidery took over and ruined his livelihood. No one could find the difference between hand embroidery and machine embroidery anymore.
“I along with 25 women who were working for me lost our jobs because of machines” he reminisced dolefully.
On a brighter note, he said he was happy he is working here because of the value and appreciation that is given to handwork.  “I felt encouraged by her (Kaveri). She knows the value of handwork. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. I really want her to succeed!”
Jagannathan comes from a family of 4, his wife – Uma who also does a little bit of embroidery and his daughter Vimala and son Madhan.
When asked if he enjoys the work he does, he laughed and said, “I travel 60 kms everyday! What do you think?”
When asked what kind of work he enjoys the most, he says he relishes sewing sequins onto fabric and that he likes the effect it gives.

Murali | Age : 52 | Position : Master | Been around : 23 Years.

The first thing you notice about this man is his spirit. He almost always seems to be in the best of moods and enjoys a complicated project. He talks about how much he enjoys working for Studio K, mostly because of how much he is respected and valued.  Prior to Studio K, he worked in an organization that gave little freedom to innovate and create new patterns.  But here, at Studio K, he enjoys the freedom of innovation and is at his best with complicated and difficult patterns.
His eyes lit up when he spoke about his favorite pattern which he says looks very simple, but is the most difficult to execute.
Murali comes from a family of 4 – wife – Kavitha, daughter – Jana Priyadharshini and son – Krishnakhant.

Kamaraj | Age : 36 | Position : Master | Been around : 8 Years.

You’ll never find him looking up from his work. He is constantly cutting, marking, overseeing or discussing ideas with colleagues. Kamaraj joined Studio K as a tailor and worked his way to becoming a Master. It takes quite a bit of cajoling to get him talking, but when he does, he is all praises for  Kaveri and how she singlehandedly controls every aspect of the company.
He talks about her temper with a laugh. He says, “She, a woman, can easily frighten 20 men in a minute. It is very funny to see her get angry sometimes. But when the work is bad or incomplete, then we all feel bad that we failed her. There is a reason she gets angry, and that is when we genuinely fear it. Otherwise its funny!”
Kamaraj speaks highly about his wife and kids – Vasanthi, Ranjitha and Akash respectively. He hails from Thiruvallur.

Gopi | Age : 25 | Position : Production in Charge | Been around : 4 Years.

One of the younger ones in the company, Gopi can be seen so involved in his work at all times, so much so he doesn’t respond when someone standing right in front of him calls out to him. He came to studio K at a green age of 21, where he was doing general work like ironing, folding etc. Kamaraj taught him the basics of pattern cutting and he soon caught up and is now doing what he really enjoys!
Prior to doing what he loved, Gopi worked at a BPO, doing 3 shifts a day. He says he didn’t really enjoy his job but since it was his bread and butter, he pushed through.

He had nothing but praises for his current boss. He talks about how she is a ‘One woman army’ and how fascinating it is to see her lose her temper sometimes.  He says that’s the only way she can get discipline in her company and that it is essentially her job.  He says, “a lot of bosses will just say, “go do it”, but Kaveri shows you how to do it.”