Today these sarees are recognised as the Chettinad, Mubaagam, Salari sarees.
When we first started Vimor, we were in the business of selling sarees we acquired through temple auctions. They were typical contrast coloured-korvai borders. Thick sarees, which were low-maintenance.
When these originals from the auctions started dwindling, the demand for them didn’t cease. The need to recreate became evident. Working with korvais was expensive and weavers were reluctant to set a korvai design on the loom as they found it to be time-consuming.
The option of choosing to work with the few weavers who were willing to do korvais was always open. But Vimor’s approach is to create impact with as many small weavers as possible. We worked with small villages- Nagaladinne (Kurnool district) and Jammalamadugu (YSR Kadapa district) and created our weaver community based on trust. These weavers benefitted from the demand and the continuous production over a long period of time.
Pavithra, our lead designer wasn’t academically trained in design. She dealt with an intuition rather than a handbook or structure, going by the look and feel of things. Playing around with textures, motifs, stripes, checks and pallus. With respect to the design, we have come a full circle from plain fabric with a simple rudraksha motif to developing a full saree with the korvai.
The broad border sarees’ popularity overtook almost every design Vimor had recreated. At one point, we recollect them being sold like ‘kadalepuri’ (puffed rice street snack) at cottage industry retail outlets. Delhi and Bombay were prime customers of broad borders.
Everytime we see a photograph of Mrs. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay or of Mrs. Pupul Jaykar- women of substance, women of power- adorned in these sarees that were just Rs. 20/ Rs. 25, we realise the impact we were able to create with a simple design. That impact resonated across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.
Mrs. Kamaladevi was always clad in a broad border and that instinctively became the name of our broad border sarees. She was closely associated with Vimor and insisted that all sarees made with broad borders had to be kept for her to see. She was passionate about the whole impact that was created by the broad borders. This is the story of our broad borders, our Kamaladevi sarees.
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