Out of My Closet: Sripriya Ganesan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 January, 2013, 4:10pm

There is nothing beige about Sripriya Ganesan. The Indian-born art lover is a fan of bold and fun colours - and the brighter the better.

"I'm not a follower of brands but I look at the style and cut of clothing, regardless of its label. I prefer bohemian looks in bright and geometric patterns - those things are in the front of my mind when I shop," she says from her Kowloon flat, 67 floors up and overlooking the site for the new cultural district.

"I don't wear a dress very often but when I do it will be bright. Hong Kong is so monochromatic at times so it's nice to liven things up."

Ganesan moved to Hong Kong four years ago to join her husband. She quit her job as an architect last year to set up online retailer Folklore HK, dedicated to reviving lost or disappearing arts and cultures.

"I wanted to do something to support communities, to help these communities to help themselves," she says. "I work with artisans from Indonesia, Pakistan and India - ethnic artisans who don't venture out of their communities. I sit with them and discuss my ideas and see what we can come up with."

Some of the unique handmade pieces from Folklore also form part of her own jewellery collection: brightly coloured bangles and earrings - each with an interesting story. "The bright jewellery features truck art. It started in Pakistan more than 60 years ago when truck drivers who were away from their loved ones for long periods started painting vivid images on their vehicles to lift their spirits," says Ganesan. "The themes of truck art are unique to Pakistan and its rich history, and in recent years the art form has received a lot of attention overseas. With my jewellery I incorporated these themes into wearable art as contemporary fashion and added some Chinese characters. I love the way it can lift a simple look and I love knowing that each piece has a story behind it."

Her shoe collection reflects her casual dress sense. Dominating the pack is a selection of traditional beaded shoes from Indian brand Mochi. "Every time I go home to India I get carried away and buy footwear," she says. A pair of pink and white lace-ups with hand-painted birds also stands out. "Last year while on holiday in Turkey I stumbled across this offbeat boutique in Istanbul called Cassette. It sold beautiful handmade shoes inspired by contemporary Japanese and vintage fashions. I wanted to buy everything in the shop."

Among her collection of vividly coloured bags is a teak and leather silk-lined Krishna clutch with peacock features by Bangalore-based designer Rachana Reddy. "I love the beautiful craftsmanship of this clutch. It's handmade by artisans in India. Such a unique piece with an almost vintage feel."

And while Ganesan's mission has a regional focus, she also has plans to preserve a Hong Kong tradition. "I'd love to set up a label here and have the old local tailors make the clothes," she says. "I'm trying to see how I can build a relationship with these tailors - they are extremely skilful and use a style of stitching that is dying out. But that's something I'll work on down the track."