* * * * * BIO-PROFILE OF Ms. RASHMI TAPADIA (FOUNDER-Touch of Class Paithani) * * * * *
Journey So far:
Rashmi Tapadia is passionate about art and beauty that always driven her to know the techniques and feelings behind each creation she sees. Her education in Computer Engineering did not stop her to live a dream of becoming a designer by embarking on a own expedition. Her marriage with Dr. Prashant in 2003, who inherited legacy of art and collectibles of seven generations from his family that once served Princely States of Deccan as jewelers, changed her perspective of art. It was perfect union of legacy of art and art lover. Since then, Rashmi incorporated Maratha art in their conquest and specialized her research into Maratha (rather known as Deccani) art & history. She has traveled extensively to North America and Europe. Visits to invaluable collection of art and monuments underlined with the public interest, awareness and the glory each piece of art achieved made a deep impression on her. It also highlighted the distinction between the Indian approach towards the art. It was the negative feeling that so called developing nation is witnessing; demolished monuments, faking of the art and making profits using emotional keywords like tradition and culture without truly connecting to the history. Her return to India was eminent as it felt very deep in heart that she should share her experience and contribute something to connect people to the magnificent facets of Indian art. Her training in miniature paintings, watercolor, tapestry weaving, and ability to understand the art gave her strong foundation to march on to this path.
In 2006, she returned from United States with higher studies, her first visit to Yeola and Paithan shadowed with news that many Paithani looms were for sale due to challenges posed by machine-made ones. Local dealers who built empires from weavers sweat turned them down when they saw significant profits in machine made paithanies and fancy modern fabric. Some of weavers who were associated for many generations were distressed and opted for alternative work such as construction/farm labor or helper, which gave them more security than weaving. At that haste moment, Touch of Class has conceived. The first task was to bring back those who left and then save the rest. Challenge was to create an environment and opportunities to bring people once again choose Paithani and bring fair returns to weavers. Parallel and most difficult task was to create a support system for entire family of artisans such that in difficult times, they will remain faithful to this art of weaving. Today, Rashmi leads strong force of 75 artisans those are weaving future of most celebrated Indian art. It is her pride that with no external aid or funding, she has created a model of self-sustained system and dignity to each family.
Her venture is paying grandly with a range of clients she relies for support. Starting from top Indian corporate houses to art lovers around the world are joining her quest of revival. Serving over fourteen hundred strong clientele, Rashmi so far sold Paithani Sarees and Furnishings to over 40 countries cutting across origin and religion.