BaliKa: Charting Her Own Handloom Path

A lawyer who designs sarees and a teacher who plays with beautiful fabrics and creates mesmerising designs in the form of handloom sarees. That is Reema Bali for you- educated in Law and an Assistant Professor at an esteemed University, she is not only making a difference to her students’ lives but also keeping alive the culture of Indian handloom.

Always having looked up to her mother and her fashion sense, Reema aspired to imitate her style of donning sarees with grace. As luck would have it, she is now in a profession where she wears sarees every day to work. But in her quest for looking for the right kinds of sarees, she acknowledges the initial troubles. “My mom used to shop for her sarees from emporiums but it was difficult for me to find sarees that were right for my age and taste. It made me realise that a lot of young girls and women do not wear sarees regularly because probably they are unable to find something ‘cool enough’ or something of their style” So Reema started going around in exhibition circles to pick out sarees for herself and saw the amount of variety of handwork which astounded her. She was always interested in fabrics and began to understand the nuances of the craft of making a saree.

Thus began the journey of BaliKa, where Reema now works with handloom sarees that are bright, bold and beautiful. Her aim is to create a niche in handloom sarees that are for the young and she wants to make sarees that can be worn every day and not just on weddings. But she accepts that the going has not been smooth. Trying to find time from her work and teaching profession was not easy, but if you have a dream, your clock will make way is what she says.

Another trouble she faced early on and still faces from time to time is not being from the same industry. Nobody in her family is from a textile background, but she has an innate understanding of fabrics and styling that have helped her on the way. In addition to that, she has read a lot on different kinds of fabrics, designs, interplay of stitches and is constantly learning about it. This zeal of wanting to do more and learn more is the pillar behind BaliKa.

At present, Reema works on her own with another team member but is looking at her expansion plans already. Her plans are not to have brick and mortar stores, which she feels limit the approach to people. “A store is limited by geography and people are not still that much aware” is what she says about her future plans. She is presently in a quest to grow her online presence by professional photo shoots and more designs. Another route she sees in the future is displaying in exhibitions. You would find her at almost every handloom exhibition interacting with potential buyers with an excitement that is difficult to match. How does she find time? If you love it, the universe will make it happen!

Single handedly managing a business of her own and charting new paths for herself, Reema Bali is an inspiration. He love for handloom and its Indianness is contagious and we hope she keeps designing more gorgeous designs for all of us.

To check out her designs you can visit her shop here- https://goo.gl/X5s3Nb !

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