BANGALORE: A street in Jayanagar has turned into an informal hub for garment alterations. It is doing brisk business this festival season.
Parallel to the Jayanagar Shopping Complex, 8th E Main Road specialises in sewing activity that complements the brisk shopping for clothes in the area.
The street provides a livelihood for about a dozen tailors who alter jeans, salwar suits and blouses, refitting, relining and resizing the outfits. In the immediate neighbourhood, there are more, almost another dozen, doing similar work.
The hub came into existence as tailors followed Babu Rao, who set up business about 15 years ago.
Abdullah, who used to work under Babu Rao, took over after a while and other tailors saw an opportunity, too.
According to 33-year-old Syed Noorullah from Kolar, only two or three tailors were in business when he set up his nook five years ago. “Now we face a lot of competition. I used to specialise in alterations, but now I also take up orders for new blouses and salwar suits,” he says.
Rudraiah V (55), hailing from northern Karnataka, set up his business here because he couldn’t make ends meet in his hometown.
"I am from Koppala and I started learning tailoring when I was just four. I ran a tailoring shop in my place but moved to Bangalore when I suffered losses,” he told City Express.
Rudraiah, who has been in business in Jayanagar for nine years, takes about half an hour for a minor alteration. His charges start from Rs 20 and he works from 11.30 am to 9 pm.
His son is not interested in this line. “I didn't force him to get into the alteration business. He is educated and is happy working for a private company. But for me, this is life, all 365 days,” he says.
Rudraiah's business has got bigger and he now has four tailors working under him. “Sometimes, I have customers who want their new clothes stitched and I take such orders if I am free after doing the alterations,” he says.
In the case of S Srinivas (39), who has been altering clothes for seven years, frustration with a garment company job brought him to the Jayanagar street. “For 15 years, I was harassed and paid a pittance. So I decided to start on my own,” he explains.
Srinivas alters mostly women’s clothes. "Some want their sleeves changed and their jeans cut to shorts… others want me to mend torn shirts and fix buttons and zips. My charges range from Rs 10 to Rs 80,” he said. Similar is the story of Prasad V, who comes to work from Katriguppe. He has been altering clothes for seven years.
"I quit working in a garment factory mainly because of the dust allergy. Since I don't know anything other than stitching, I picked up a second-hand sewing machine for Rs 6,000 and started alteration work,” he told City Express.
Tailors use emergency lamps after dark since they have no power connection. “I usually take a day off when I think I need to and I don't work when it is raining,” Prasad says.
As for satisfaction from the job, 44-year-old Srinivas Gowda puts it this way: “I don't consider this job disrespectful as it takes care of my family of four.”