CHENNAI: A year ago, Charu Roopha decided to quit her job in project management to follow her dreams. Your gaze hovers over the painted walls, brocade linings and small details that make up her cozy home. The self-taught designer and business woman behind ‘Colours and Mirrors’ enjoys working with a variety of fabrics and create her own ethnic infusion.
As somebody who has always been very specific about clothing, she started creating pieces for herself and her friends when she couldn’t find it in stores. Word spread and she soon fell into the world of design. “My studio is the space between my bed and the table. Everything is produced at home. I hunt for fabrics and tailor everything myself”, says Charu. “It’s easy to design a product and tell a tailor what you want. But, it’s actually a tailor who knows whether it will be possible and how difficult it will be. There’s always an easier method of executing a stitch and I wanted to learn that first.”
Her eyes light up as she talks about her grandmother. “There is a saying in Tamil that goes, kan patha kayi seyium, which means ‘you will create what you see’. This had a profound impact on me since my childhood. My grandmother is over 90 and she paints, does rangoli and is such an artistic person. It has always been in the family”, she smiles.
You can rest be assured that what you wear won’t have a copy anywhere in the market. A strong believer in exclusivity, she does not make more than two pieces of each design. She enjoys working with cottons, Indian fabrics and Chettinad checks and doesn’t want to restrict herself when it comes to fabrics. “You have so much variety and so many options to pick from. My latest collection has combinations of Kalamkari mirror work and denim. I have mixed brocade fabrics with hand block printed mul cottons,” she adds
Her design aesthetic is very eccentric but holds on to its traditional roots. “I love mixing fabrics, working with a lot of geometric and wrap-round skirts and dhotis. I want to keep creating things, put up lines and see the response I get from clients. I learn a lot this way.”
Charu will have a stall of skirts and stoles at ‘By the Hand from the Heart’, an exhibition in Crowne Plaza on August 5 and 6. “Seeing such a forum in Chennai is great. It shows how we as a city are growing and broadening our choices in terms of what we do and own,” she adds.
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