The Saree Story | Sunday Observer

The Saree Story

Inside the apartment of R. A Puram close to Myplore Chennai, Malathy Sivendran sits on a swing surrounded by paintings and many artistic drawings. All her life she was in awe of art, music and fashion. It all started when she moved to Chennai for her higher studies at Stella Maris College. “I still remember my first saree and the concert I went wearing it”.

Relaxing after a hectic few months, two massive exhibitions sell out of her designs in Australia and New Zealand and organising her son’s three wedding functions. “I am on break, yet I am preparing for my Diwali exhibition in Colombo. Even though India is my adopted home for the past 18 years, I still love Sri Lanka and love doing shows, events and exhibitions there. I make it a point at least once in three years to have a saree exhibition or a concert there. This year I am holding my saree expo, as I want to promote the creativity of India and mylove for travel. Each imprint on the sarees will have some story, of me or person I know”.

Malathy is considered an Iron Lady by many of her friends, having faced a lot of hardships from being a mother of a sick child, having two kids in Lanka, manging a houses in India and Sri Lanka and running a business venture singlehanded. Yet her smile radiates happiness and positivity. “It hasn’t been easy for me, as much I gained I have lost as well but it’s all worth it. The initial stages were hard, frustrating and dealing with a sick child wasn’t easy, but now I am happy. My initial years of studying and being alone have helped so much. As a student in India, I travelled so much and was always in awe of the beauty of India. I think all this has helped me craft my career path.

“What is important to me is gratitude; even my company Samarphanam Entertainment contains the names of all my family member’s who have helped me establish myself. I started this company in 2007, now its 12 years old and these have been the best years of my life. I have worked and travelled endlessly, it does get tiring but it’s worth it. I started with events, and later ventured into fashion because for every event, fashion show and concert, I required costumes. I initially used to hire. later I thought why should I hire when I can design them myself that’s how the Samarphanam sarees came into being”.

Her company mainly is focused on events, exhibitions and fashion shows, whereas saree designing has always been a passion and Indian art and culture fascinates her. “For an event, I was struggling to find a designer within the said budget that’s when I put my creativity onto paper from there it all started.

Travelling is something she loves, and it takes her places, “I always make it a point to have exhibitions in America, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The exhibitions will be in leading destinations, in fact, I did an exhibition in Hollywood and it was a dream come true. It was a massive success and I had a couple of celebrities from Hollywood visit my exhibition. It wasn’t easy as I had to go through a lot, but I accomplished my dream and all the hard work paid off”.

Last year her exhibition in Colombo was a huge success. The two-day event showcased many of her sarees, which she had beautifully crafted over time. Every piece was sold. “This time Samarphanam sarees has something new, I have been preparing for the last one year, experimenting with different designs. I have studied the art in-depth I sat down with artists from Thanjavur and detailed every story that I designed on the saree. I was able to showcase some of these sarees for my son’s wedding and it was an instant success. Thanjavur art is world-famous, and many come to visit the heritage city. I thought why not bring the art into saree imprints? It’s going to be very ‘Laxmigaram’ every piece is going to have a good vibe. Besides the imprints, I have played with colour - being in India and not experimenting with colour is an absolute waste. I will be launching my linen collection, and it will be more casual and work wear, but I have played with sunny colours too.

Will she collaborate with designers? “Yes, I will. I would like to collaborate with upcoming designers, to create the ultimate indo-fusion designs. I have certain creative’s in the pipeline. Right now the main focus is the saree exhibition in Colombo; I will be having 30 exclusive designer sarees, especially done for this exhibition”.

Before leaving her home, I had a glimpse of the drawings and paintings, and how much beauty they add to her vibrant personality, “I want inspiration and I want to inspire people too, and through art, design and entertainment I shall achieve this”.