Old world charm

Designer Rasmi Poduval’s brand ‘Seamstress’ is all about reviving vintage fashion and giving it a modern spin
Designer Rasmi Poduval’s brand Seamstress
Designer Rasmi Poduval’s brand Seamstress

KOCHI: When designer Rasmi Poduval first met English Mariyum of the Thalassery Maliackal family, she was immediately drawn to the matriarch’s spunk. One of the first Muslim women to get convent education from Thalassery, Mariyum and her family have been pioneers in women’s education and empowerment activities in the region for a long time. But, something else caught the designer’s attention too—her beautiful embroidered mulmul jacket.

Seeing Rasmi’s excitement, Mariyum gifted her one. “It was a unique, interesting piece of clothing. There were no seams on the shoulders and arms. These women wore layers of clothing underneath it, each transparent layer highlighting the beautiful embroidery work on the layer below it. I immediately knew this needed to make a comeback,” says Rasmi.

And that is how the unique ‘Kora’ collection from the label seamstress was born, giving age-old fashion a contemporary spin. But, what adds to its rustic charm is the fabric, which in this case, is the ‘kora thuni’ (textile spun from unbleached yarn). “The entire collection was created during the lockdown when the movement of garments and other activities like dyeing came to a halt. We live near Chendamangalam and found  that bundles of ‘kora’ were readily available with the weavers.

This material highlighted the simplicity of the garment, which is the real essence of the collection,” says Rasmi.While the blouses retained their vintage style, Rasmi used colourful threads to bring in a splash of colour. “The response was awesome. While Malayalis instantly connected to their roots, even non-Malayalis were drawn to the rich history behind this simple piece of clothing,” says Rasmi.  

Love for lungi
Seamstress has always drawn its inspiration from villages. o when Rasmi wanted to give our traditional lungi a spin, she did it by keeping its cultural and historical identity intact. Months after ‘Freedom Wear’, the men’s collection, hit the market, it remains a trendsetter. “Whatever that hit the market in recent years in the name of Malayali men’s wear were garish and comical. Hence, when I started to work on the collection. The focus was on its simplicity and elegance.

That’s how I decided to bring back lungi, in handloom and multiple hues. I gave it an edgy look by pairing it with a colourful shirt. Lungi is probably the most comfortable piece of clothing and the style comes from the comfort of the wearer,” says Rasmi. No wonder the lockdown period saw Seamstress’ ‘Freedom wear’ collection flying off shelves.

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The New Indian Express