Saritha Jayasurya tells us about her unique Onam Edit this year!
From ‘Dejavu’, her first fashion store to Label Saritha Jayasurya, her journey as a designer has been remarkable. What started as a women’s wear brand quickly diversified into other segments like bridalwear, kid’s wear and men’s wear! With Jayasurya donning her quirky yet creatively designed Kurtas and dhotis in his blockbuster films like Punnyalan Agarbathis, Aadu, Pretham and Njan Marykutty, her creations quickly became fashion statements and from then on there has been no looking back for Saritha Jayasurya. Ritz has a quick chat with the enterprising entrepreneur about her Onam Edit this year!
Interview: Riya Sonny Datson
What inspired you to step into the realm of fashion?
With a Masters in Biotechnology, I knew my chances of getting a job in Kerala were limited. So my initial plan was to shift out of Kerala to pursue research in the field. But everything changed after our wedding. With Jayan’s busy traveling schedules and little Adi in tow, I decided to take a break from my career to focus on my family. But once Adi joined school, I had more time on my hands and that’s when I thought why not do something related to fashion as it was something that interested me from a young age. When I discussed it with Jayan, he was very supportive about it. I started my store Dejavu at panampilly Nagar, Kochi in 2010. Initially I used to travel and handpick exotic sarees and fabric sets for sale but I felt there was a need for exclusivity and gradually we shifted to full fledged designing and customisation for clients. In 2017, we rebranded Dejavu to Label Saritha Jayasurya.
You have designed costumes for your husband in most of his blockbuster films. How has the experience been?
I started with Jayan’s kurtas in Punnyalan Agarbathis which became a huge hit. Later I designed the dhotis in Aadu which also received an overwhelming response. Next was the loose fitted shirts and kurtas for the vagabond mentalist in Pretham but I think the one project I enjoyed the most was for ‘Njan Marykutty’ where I had to dress him up in sarees. I think that was totally out of the world and a completely different experience. I think I would be the first lady designer to dress up her husband in sarees! We had huge billboards around Kochi of Jayan dressed up in Sarita Jayasurya label. (laughs)
Tell us about your Onam Edit this year.
For the last three to four years, we were doing hand embroidery on Kerala handloom saree with different motifs such as that of Ganesha, Tulsi and the symbol Om. This year we wanted to do something innovative and that is how the idea of combining Ajrakh silk with the Kerala handloom Saree was born. The response has been overwhelming and our stocks are completely sold out. We are customising orders now.
With so many designers and brands in the market, how do you handle competition?
I am a person who likes to take competition in good spirit. Indeed, there is a lot of competition and umpteen designers and I do enjoy their creations, but my focus is always on my brand, on how I can improve my product and do better. I am my own best critic and competitor.
What is the color theme you have chosen this year?
It is mostly earthen shades this year, as Ajrakh comes in those hues. With the Kerala handloom, I feel the most striking and contrasting colours are meroon, black and blue. But upon customer requests, we are also doing sarees in bottle green and browns, beige.
Would you customise complementing Onam attires for a couple?
Yes, we do. We have a limited edition of Ajrakh Kurtas and shirts for men and as I said we do customise according to requirements.
How long does it take to customise orders?
It usually takes upto two weeks time but if its within Kerala, we can deliver sooner.
Would you give us a price range?
The Onam collection this year starts from INR 3500 and goes upto to 15,000. Depending on the customer’s requirement we can customise the product to fit any range.
How can customers place orders?
Apart from our store in Panampilly Nagar, customers can place orders through our Facebook and Instagram page. Our tailoring unit undertakes stitching as well. We have a measurement chart that we send to our customers and based on their inputs we get it tailored to customer requirements. It’s all digital now and we follow all Covid protocols.