The Power of handmade at Angadi Heritage

Author: Ruth Dhanaraj | Date: September 27, 2019

Publication: The Hindu

At The House of Angadi’s new luxury address in Bengaluru, precious saris share space with sustainable fashion and beauty brands from across the country

From flecks of epoxy gold that glint off highly polished surfaces to the hushed tinkling of the chandelier, everything about Angadi Heritage exudes a quiet grandeur. We see natural sandstone from Madhya Pradesh on the façade segue into traditional Dravidian and Chettinad architecture during our tour of the new building’s four levels. “We have directly drawn inspiration from the Vidhana Soudha,” admits founder and CEO K Radharaman, adding that it is one of his favourite heritage structures.

The Bengaluru-based brand, over 600 years old, has two other locations — Angadi Silks in Jayanagar and Angadi Galleria in Sadashivnagar. Known for the traditional bridal drape, they were in the spotlight when actor Deepika Padukone wore Kanjeevaram saris from The House of Angadi at her wedding at Lake Como in Italy last year. The new store, however, is a multi-designer concept. “We started working on this project four years ago. As an entrepreneur, you cannot base your business on coincidence,” says Radharaman, referring to the publicity that the #DeepVeer wedding garnered. “That was a one-off event which did not change anything about us. It was not intentional and the attention it gathered was not something that we consciously engineered,” he says.

Vote for sustainable

Recently in the news for organza, linen-blended and khadi Kanjeevarams, Advaya by The House of Angadi creates saris that are family heirlooms. “It is important to be conscious about a more circular design model, where what we create does not have a limited life. That’s one of our guiding principles,” says Radharaman, 38. This philosophy extends to the brands they have partnered with — it is not just aesthetics, it is also about “sustainable, hand-crafted handlooms with a timeless quality that is not bound by popular dictates of fashion”. This includes womenswear and menswear, from the likes of Torani, Shades of India, Antar Agni, Suket Dhir and Herringbone and Sui. There are 34 brands in all. Accessories from Kesya, Lacquer Embassy and Akihi share shelf space with personal care products by Ma Earth Botanicals, Ayca, Gulnare and more. Each section has a dedicated floor. As Radharaman points out during our pre-launch walk-through, “Despite a growing trend to shop online, people do enjoy experiencing the ambience of a luxurious space”.

Known for his hands-on approach to both the architecture and the sourcing for the store, he agrees that his tastes are not over the top. There is nothing ostentatious in the ready-to-wear section. Designers like Anavila and 11.11 have curated classic pieces from their work, and perhaps capsule collections aren’t a long way off. For now, about 75% of the pret garments are by guest labels, with the rest by Angadi. Where saris are concerned, it is the other way around.

On the ball

With an engineering degree from Cornell, Radharaman started his career as a textile designer for international brands, before launching his own label, Advaya. Among his innovations is the silk linen ikat blend he introduced to much success, back in 2008. Open to sharing his latest work during our chat, he pulls out a book of swatches to point to a three-layered fabric with metallic yarn. It has been woven together, not just fused or stitched. Radharaman believes there is a lot more potential in the country. “I genuinely feel India has just scratched the surface. We need to embrace our inherent strengths. We have the craftsmanship, history and diversity — yet, cities like Paris and Milan are the fashion capitals of the world,” he rues. The launch of Angadi Heritage early next month is his tribute to his forefathers. “I have inherited a very small part of their sense of aesthetics. The thought process is part of my DNA now. I aspire to create brands that will outlive me,” he concludes.

Angadi Heritage is at 12, Ashoka Pillar Road, Jayanagar First Block, and will open on October 4. Pricing upwards of ₹5,000.