Sustainable couturier, Vino Supraja, makes her debut in Chennai; a decade after she began designing in Shanghai, China

Inspired by therukoothu performances from the village of Purisai in Tiruvannamalai, the collection highlights colours, patterns and motifs from the street dance form

Romal Laisram Published :  26th August 2022 04:34 PM   |   Published :   |  26th August 2022 04:34 PM
Silhouettes from Purisai

Silhouettes from Purisai

Vino Supraja is probably the only sustainable designer from Tamil Nadu who is more famous outside the country than within. A regular at New York Fashion Week, Brooklyn Fashion Week and Shanghai Fashion Week, among others; she is also well-known for her eco-friendly eponymous bespoke label in Dubai, UAE and Detroit, USA — cities she has lived in, in the past decade. Making her debut in Chennai and India with her brand new collection, Purisai, this week; we catch up with the couturier to talk shop and lots more.

“Everyone thinks sustainable clothing means boring clothing. I want to change that perception. My collections will always be colourful, my dyes azo-free and will be rooted in my culture. Growing up in Vandavasi, Tiruvannamalai; I was surrounded by art forms, especially since the centre of the therukoothu form of folk dance — the town of Purisai — is so close by. I have visited that town on so many occasions and was sure that my first collection to be showcased at home in India should be inspired by this town and this beautiful folk art form,” opens Vino who studied design and fashion from the Shanghai campus of the International Fashion Academy, Paris.

Purisai is built around the colour blue, with wine red, peach, black and white. The motif of a painted-face — a hand-drawn sketch of a therukoothu artiste — repeats through the collection. Consisting of pants, crop tops, tunics, dresses and skirts; the edit has been made in organic cotton sourced from local weavers in Chennimalai, Erode.

Vino Supraja
Vino Supraja


“I had an opportunity to showcase Purisai at Paris, but I felt that it would be the perfect collection to make my debut in my home country. I wanted to do this in front of my people, among them and for them. My people have never seen my clothes. Pazhani, who essays the role of Arjunan — one of the dancers at Purisai — became my motif; while the crisscross patterns on all the clothes are a reminder of my view of the art form through palm thatch — the construction material used for most of the walls in these makeshift theatres. The name of the dance school in the town — Purisai Nadaga Payirchi Palli in Tamil — in my handwriting also became the border in most of the silhouettes,” adds Vino, who is originally an architect.

At the debut show on Saturday, Vino will be presenting five silhouettes from the collection along with performances by the therukoothu artistes who inspired it. “We will also be launching my book What is Sustainable Fashion? at the event and I am really looking forward to seeing how Chennai reacts,” concludes the former RJ and TV host.

INR 1,500 onwards. 4.15 pm onwards. August 27. Luz House, Mylapore.