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'Traditional designs of Assam are rich in storytelling'
Mar '17
Sanjukta Dutta and Preity Zinta at Lakme Fashion Week 2017. Courtesy: Sanjukta
Sanjukta Dutta and Preity Zinta at Lakme Fashion Week 2017. Courtesy: Sanjukta's Studio
Clothing is not just a piece of cloth but an integral part of the wearer’s identity, according to fashion designer Sanjukta Dutta who loves playing with colours and designs. She draws influence from bandhej, leheria and digital prints. She believes that traditional designs of Assam are rich in their storytelling and presents them in a contemporary fashion.

Dutta recently made her solo debut at the Lakme Fashion Week 2017 and presented her collection comprising mekhela chador as well as other occasionwear like sarees and lehenga-cholis made of Assamese silk.

"My collection saw a balance of infused traditional Assamese motifs on the graceful mekhela chador. I introduced sarees and lehenga-cholis made from Assamese silk. The vibrancy of the Bodo and Miri communities created a unique canvas through different flower and traditional motifs. My collection reflected a lively ethos," Dutta told Fibre2Fashion in an exclusive interview.

Talking about mekhela chador, the traditional Assamese dress, she said, "Every mekhela chador is unique, customised and hand-crafted by a select bunch of specialised mekhela chador artisans whose craft almost went extinct. The materials are locally produced from a particular type of silkworm found only in one village in Assam. Each piece goes through a rigorous 45-day production cycle before it can tell the story that the beautiful woman draping it, wants it to."

The weavers who weave the mekhela chador had begun to fall prey to the machinations of demand and supply, said Dutta while speaking about the problems faced by them. She said that cost advantage of China drew a large portion of the muga industry out of Assam and better financial opportunities in other areas slowly began to draw artisans away.

"One factor I had to battle with while trying to revive this industry was to get these artisans back. Today, I support over a hundred families of artisans, covering aspects like education, medical costs, lodging and boarding, besides competitive salaries. The benefits are showing.  Even after giving them these facilities, we are making healthy profits which we re-invest to get more artisans back," concluded Dutta. (KD)

Click here to read the complete interview.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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