Srevanaya: The Journey of Khomala Lea

Can you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

I am currently working in StarHub under the content business unit team, for ethnic and sports. I have completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and have been part of the media industry for the past 10 to 15 years. I started off as an Assistant Producer, then became a Producer in Tantra Productions, an Artiste and went on to do advertising and marketing in Tantra Advertising.

When/How did you enter the media industry?

I am very fond of dancing. My first performance in the media was through the variety shows. My dance group and I took part in variety programmes and that is how I got to know of the production teams working for the shows. As part of my school activities, I was already involved in production. I got the opportunity to work as a production manager. It was something that I was very familiar with.

I first started off my career as an Assistant Producer in Eaglevision after my diploma course. Afterwards, I went on to do my Degree in Mass Communication. While working under Eaglevision, I was introduced into acting. I played secondary characters for some of the shows. However, full-fledged main roles were offered to me only at the point when I was about to complete my University education.
From there, I progressed to an artiste and went back to the production line to be a Producer at Tantra  for a good 4 to 5 years. While doing these, I was also doing advertising and marketing.

You’ve been part of the media industry for the past 10 to 15 years already. How does that feel?

I’ve always had a passion for Arts since secondary school days. This also explains my interest for dancing. Acting was something that I learned while working behind the cameras. As we get into the character, that’s when we learn on how to act and be a good actor.

The times have evolved a lot I must say. Artistes nowadays are getting immense recognition with the help of social media platforms. Being a full time artiste was not an option then. The media has become a better platform for anyone to be a full time artiste now.
When did your interest for fashion designing started?

I’ve always had an interest in designing my own clothes. Even when I was part of a dance group, I always wanted to think out of the box in terms of how the costumes should be. Dancers will give importance to the colours of the clothes and see if the outfits are camera friendly. I gained a lot of knowledge about fashion through media itself.
When we are standing in front of the camera, we will be very conscious about the way we look on screen. These were some tips that I learnt and picked up on my way. I’ve always designed my own saree blouses. That is where it all started I could say. Designing my own saree blouses gave me abundance of freedom to experiment. Slowly, as I picked up on the latest trends, my innovation continued on with skirts and other various types of clothings.

Thus, fashion was a category that I was always passionate about. Designing my own clothes made me realise that others would love the idea of wearing their own customised outfits too. An interest that started off as a passion turned into a business since it had the potential to be profitable. Therefore, I transformed my idea into a full-fledged business line.

Srevanaya- Tell us on how the brand was created?
Srevanaya was a concept that I came up with. The whole business is solely ran by me. However, I definitely gained inspirations from a number of people and my family gave me incredible amount of support at the start of the business as well. Designing is my passion and seeing my work on someone else is truly satisfying.

The business was officially launched at the beginning of 2018. It was an idea that I had in mind for quite some time. Thus, I decided to test the market to see on the kind response I’ll be getting from public. I have to say that people were very receptive of the brand and they were liking the idea of customised outfits. We are at a very convenient period of time. We are able to purchase products from online platforms such as Facebook and Instagram at any point of time, but that is not what I’m targeting.
My objective is to make the outfit feel personalised for the customers. It can be in terms of colour choices or materials. They can even pair it with their family members to give that extra personal touch. This is an option that is not very widely available on many online shopping platforms or physical stores in Singapore. Definitely the market for clothing and apparels is humongous and there are many competitors out there. There are online platforms that sells sarees and at Little India, customers are given the option to bargain with the price.

However, customers should feel special and be special when wearing their outfits for an occasion as compared to others. Some might want to stand out and feel personal about their outfit as compared to the rest. That is when options such as customising their own outfit comes in.

Why did you choose to name your fashion brand as Srevanaya?

Srevanaya basically means a new girl in Sanskrit. It also holds a sentimental value in my life. The name is made up using the names of certain people who are very close to me.

From a media personnel to a fashion designer, why the sudden change?

Media will always be a part of me. Even now I’ll be more than happy to take up a project if a good role is offered. If I get the opportunity to produce a show, I’ll gladly do it. The interest I have in fashion has been there for a really long time.

It is just another new chapter in my life. I’ve not switched my role or moved away from media. Fashion is another part of me, which I’m unleashing to people now. It was something that I learnt while in media and so, I decided to give the fruits of the skills learnt back to the people.

Who are the target audience of Srevanaya?

I don’t have a particular group of target audience. It is actually for anybody and everybody. That is the beauty of customised outfits. I’ve previously customised outfits for a 1 month old baby to a pioneer generation in her late 50s or early 60s.

Demographically, I don’t target anyone specifically, but interest wise, I target those who are keen on having a personal touch to their outfits and would want to stand out from the other guests. For custom made clothings, any body type is welcomed and can design an outfit the way they want it. That’s the whole idea about being personal. However, there is a fair share of ups and downs in this line.

The most rewarding and fulfilling moment is when I get the chance to design outfits for my customers. However, the downside of this innovative concept is that people should understand that the price tag is not similar to the ones found in a regular Little India shop or retails found online. Custom made outfits require a lot of labour in terms of picking out the right colour choices and materials that could cater to the consumers.

The prices of these custom made clothings might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is what it is due to the amount of effort dedicated in making the outfits.
How do people go about to purchase Srevanaya’s customised products?

As of now, those who are interested in getting a customised outfit would message me on Instagram. I handle two accounts, my personal one and the business one. Thus, I receive enquiries through these two accounts with regards to purchase of custom made clothings.

If the order has been confirmed by the customer, then both the customer and I will take it to the next level by either exchanging details through WhatsApp or we even meet face-to-face in order to discuss about the designs.

What are your future plans with regards to media work or fashion designing?

For media, if any good opportunities come my way, I’ll definitely take it up. As of now, I’m still waiting for the right opportunity to come in. With regards to fashion, I recently ventured into sarees. These sarees are not very commonly found in the market. The first line of sarees that I introduced were called the “pom pom” sarees.

I found pom poms to be in trend so, I decided to create a saree using these pom poms from scratch. For Deepavali, I am currently having a new design in mind. I’ll probably start working on it from next month onwards. If I could make it happen, it will be another milestone in my fashion career.
Srevanaya will not only be a platform for customised clothings, but it would also display sarees that radiates a variety of ideas. In today’s world, everything is about being in trend. Thus, we have to keep up with that.

Producer, Actress, Fashion Designer- Your pick?

I really can’t pick one because with every career, I made many good memories. Being an actress in front of the camera and playing different characters were really challenging. As part of this journey, I’ve played the role of a 50 year old woman, a wife who was physically abused by her husband and a few more.
I truly enjoyed taking up the opportunities that came my way. As a Producer, the contentment that I experienced knowing that a particular project was developed by me can’t be expressed in words. The adrenaline rush that goes into creating the project is a completely different feel.

With Deepavali around the corner, perhaps more Indian families can get a customised and unique set for their families. One thing i always loved about the malay community is that they are always decked out in matching colours during the festive season. Perhaps, we could do the same.


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