It was 25 years ago that Latha Puttanna started her career by making salwar kameez. “Way back that was fashion. I was doing the more trendy ones though. I was working with this Gujarati patch work in Bengaluru and used fabrics from the North.” Today the Latha Puttanna store at Bengaluru has established itself as a major force in ethnic Indian bridal wear. It is run by the unique combination of mother-in- law and daughter-in-law, after Tiya an architect with 8 years brand marketing experience joined. Designer and founder Latha Puttanna says it’s a blessing to have daughter-in- law, Tiya by her side.

The Latha Puttanna bridal trousseau brings together the best of traditional and modern style. Her
couture collection titled ‘Aramana’ got its inspiration from the royalty. She likes to work with the fabrics available in different parts of the country. She says “this is the heritage we have. We have such good textiles. So I have always worked with them, not imported fabrics. The soul of my design is from the Indian textiles.”

25 stores in the next 5 years in India alone says Tiya

Her daughter-in- law Tiya is looking after the marketing and plans a massive expansion of the brand both in India and abroad. Tiya says, “ Atte’s (Mother-in- law) got the talent and I have got the dream. That’s a very potent combination. There’s a huge gap in the market that we can fill. What we do, I don’t see it anywhere else. We just have to focus on becoming big and showcasing it to as many people as possible.”

She continues, “We have got a lot of people who like our clothes. It’s different from what you see. It’s not blingy. It doesn’t have any stones or Swarovski. It’s just classy. There’s a big market for that and we are catering to that.” In the next 5 years, Tiya hopes to open around 25 stores in India alone. And a lot more globally, “We are not going to stop at India!”

Latha Puttanna prefers to use fabrics that will never go out of trend

About her bridal collection, Latha Puttanna says, “In the south, we wear a lot of heavy Kanjivaram sarees. They
want that embroidered or they want the blouses fit into that, which is all like a trousseau collection. I am not worried about trends as much as I am about the color combinations. I may love traditional colors and the bride may want something else.”

Photo Credit: Evesly.com

Latha Puttanna further adds, “We don’t really work too much on non-conventional fabrics. We use silks, georgettes, traditional fabrics that have been time tested and you can use it forever. There are so many varieties in silks today. We work only with that.”

There’s been a major global change in the fashion industry in the past two decades

“It’s more Indo-Western nowadays. There is a lot of influence of the west. Every bride today wishes to wear a gown, even if it’s for a cocktail night. Earlier we never had mehendi or sangeet performance in the South. Now it is a must. It’s all Bollywood inspired. We have to cater to that also, keeping in mind what people want. There are so many functions. Sometimes, we don’t do the whole trousseau. They (customers) pick and choose. So it’s a mix.”

Photo Credit: Evesly.com

Capturing the customer mindset is a big challenge, says Latha Puttana

“ Every design is quickly duplicated. You may pick up the best design and there will be someone who will want to do it for nothing.”

“Then your challenges are there. You are all the time trying to cope with that. Sometimes you do cut your prices for that, but then I feel your quality goes. So keeping up the quality has become a big challenge. It’s a mindset where people continuously want something new. If you continuously want something new, then you need to work on yourself.”

“We are all human, how much can you create. Then if you start copying somebody, then you start doing something else which is not you. Those are the challenges that I am very wary about I am not going to let it affect me as much as possible.”

She goes on, “Capturing the customer mindset is a bigger challenge. And for people like us who do it with passion, it takes time. We really think in a certain way and we are selling that. We are selling our ideas. If you give inputs we can take a few things. Then you make us do something that is not us. Then you shouldn’t come to us. We are here to do what we do the best.”