We have heard of stories about inspiring people coming from a small town and making it big in their respective fields. Similarly, Samyuktha Vijayan’s story will amaze many. Hailing from Pollachi, she has become the first transwoman from Tamil Nadu to launch her own fashion label. In a chat with us, she opens up about her journey and the reason for turning an entrepreneur.
After working with Amazon for almost 10 years, Samyuktha realised that her true passion was in fashion. “After a small stint with Amazon in India, I moved to Europe and later to the US. Though I was fond of fashion, it was while working in Europe I thoroughly explored the fashion industry. Once I moved back to India two months ago, I launched my label, Anavarna, which means beautiful in Sanskrit,” she says.
Currently, the market is flooded with a lot of designers and outlets that mimic clothes from established designers. But what makes Samyuktha’s label stand out is that she has married the north Indian lehenga with the south Indian silk saree. “I collect handwoven silks from Kancheepuram, Coimbatore and Salem.
We use the zari used for weaving the saree for making the intricate embroidery work. The lehengas would look grand but are also lightweight,” says the designer.
Samyuktha wanted to create a showroom to showcase her collection and while decorating it, another idea popped in her mind — to launch a concept studio where customers can rent the studio, which also has exquisite clothing and jewellery.
“That’s how Toute Studio was opened in HSR Layout, Bengaluru. Toute in French means everything. Currently, I am looking for spaces in Chennai to open a studio,” says the new entrepreneur on the block.
Explaining the ethnic studio concept, she says, “If you wanted to take a picture in a studio, you’ll only get the space and maybe, some set properties would be available.
I have decked up my studio with a lot of antique furniture so that people can do ethnic shoots and also rent out from my private label collection of exquisitely designed clothing and jewellery. I have put together a fancy studio with antique furniture and multiple backgrounds.”
In order to give more job opportunities for transgender persons, she has hired two transgender persons at her studio for customer support. Despite coming from a conservative small town in Pollachi, it was her parents’ support that encouraged her.
“My parents are very progressive and haven’t forced me to conform to the conventional gender norm. If not for them, I wouldn’t have become a designer-entrepreneur,” she sums up.