The next time you want to gift your girlfriend a rose, but she says: “I want a diamond, because you know... diamonds are forever” — here’s the perfect comeback. Are you ready?
Here it comes: rose petals on a pair of earrings. Actually any kind of petals, says S V Anirudh, the man behind the team of talented young designers that has brought this novel idea to life. The 29-year-old is the head of the fashion department at WLCI College in Teynampet. What started off as a small seed of an idea put forward by the quietest student in his class, Sowjanya Varma, has over the past two months evolved into one of the hottest sellers on their design list. Sowjanya along with classmates Saranya Jeevan, Deepak Velayutham, Sathyaraj M, Priyanga Jayaraman, Backiyaraj Tiruparkadalnambi, Sonia Ramachandran and Jayasudha Jeevanandam are part of a special design team that go by the brand name ‘Octal’ (courtesy the eight members in the group) who are mentored by their professor as they wean into the business of fashion.
Twenty-three-year-old Sowjanya, who hails from a village in Kalahasti, tells us shyly, “Flowers are very important to my mother. We have a terrace full of them... I guess that’s what I was thinking about when I got the idea.”
This brings us, of course, to the question that’s been on our minds since we heard the mention of ‘petal’ and ‘earring’ in the same sentence. How do they not tear? “Well, if we told you that, everybody would be doing it, wouldn’t they?” responds their mentor, certainly playing the role he took on with flair. While they await a patent for their creation, he reveals for the moment, “Let’s just say for now that they are ‘processed.”
And just while we’re imagining this group of eager 20-somethings plucking away at every second tree in sight, fellow designer Jayasudha jumps into the conversation. “We don’t believe in plucking and cutting, we are interested in keeping the process as organic as its inspiration,” she offers with a smile. So apart from frequenting Chennai’s parks and the garden of every relative they can find in the city, the team also heads to bouquet shops and make ‘petal purchases’ much to the bafflement of most vendors.
At the moment, they’ve covered everything from rose, orchid and hibiscus petals to neem bark and distinctly shaped leaves picked up from the ground. Of course, this isn’t all of their petal promises. “We are always thinking about what’s next,” says Jayasudha, who recently made her auto stop mid-road, so that she could run out and take a better look at what could be brand Octal’s next big line.Until then,
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Petals are cool
And garden or not,
Now you can have one too.
The Petal collection is priced between Rs 100 and Rs 150, and can be found on showcase at the Madhatter’s Tea Garden on 2nd Avenue, Harrington Road. Custom orders can be placed at 7299994858.