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Fashion takes a step forward with tradition

Staff Reporter – 
info@indiannewslink.co.nz

Assam, the North-Eastern State of India, is a region blessed with Divinity and religious fervour for thousands of years and in recent times, its unique tradition and arts have become a source of delight to the world.

The performances of Assamese Kathak dancer Meghranjani Medhi and her mother Marami at ‘Auckland Diwali’ held on October 15 & 16, 2016 and ‘Wellington Diwali’ held on October 22 & 23, 2016, public interest in the Indian hill state, where the Brahmaputra River flows, has revived.

Propitiously, we received information about Sanjukta Dutta, an Assamese designer who has been making impressions on fabric to the delight of millions of people around the world. Now a celebrated fashion house, ‘Sanjukta’s Studio’ has taken its creations to various centres in India.

Importers of designs will find the textiles of Sanjukta distinct- modern in outlook with a blend of traditional design.

Inspiring journey

Born in Nagaon, a small town near the Assamese Capital Guwahati, Sanjukta is known for creating a unique combination of clubbing traditions and prints of different geographies into one unique customised piece of garment, with the Assamese silk Mekhela Chador in most cases being the base.

A graduate in Engineering, she began her career with the Public Works Department of the Assam government.

It was in 2012 that her love for colours and designs took her to various part of India.

Influenced by the Bandhej of Gujarat, Leheria of Rajasthan, Ari of Kashmir and digital prints from all over India, she experimented, twisted and evolved textures with her own touch based in Assamese ethos but blended with futuristic tastes.

Sanjukta believes that clothing is not just a piece of cloth but a key and integral part of every human being and their identity. It is her central belief that one’s clothing tells a story of not just the kind of person you are but also the mood that affects you.

Modest beginning

She established ‘Sanjukta’s Studio,’ her commercial outfit in 2014 with just three looms.

Success loomed large and in just four years, her ‘factory’ has grown to account for more than 100 looms.

However, her journey has not been so smooth.

Like across the other parts of the country and other art forms the weavers, the true artisans of the Mekhela Chador also began to fall prey to the pulls and stretches of demand and supply.

Cost advantage of China drew a large portion of the Muga industry out of Assam to China. This coupled with the better financial opportunities available in other areas slowly but surely drew these artisans away from this industry.

Thus one of the key factors that she had to battle with and focus on while trying to revive this industry was to get these artisans back.

The Renaissance

Today, Sanjukta supports more than 100 families of artisans, covering all aspects such as education, medical, boarding and lodging and off course over industry average salaries.

“The benefits are showing and even after doing the above we are still able to make healthy profits which we are re-investing in getting more artisans back to the core while ensuring the welfare and wellbeing of their families, so that all that they have to bother about is their art,” she said.

Sanjukta’s passion has seen her design empire grow to account for 13 factories, starting with Maa Durga Axomiya Pat and Muga Kapuror Boyon Protisthon – in Guwahati, which translates to over 100 looms.

It is in this factory that she produces her characteristic silk ‘Mekhela Chadors,’ with different varieties of coloured silk threads, especially Muga and Pat.

She has added a new dimension to her creativity by working on designing traditional Assamese jewellery as well. These captivating pieces of jewellery, like her clothing lines are also custom-made, handcrafted and designed in different shapes and sizes of some of the most popular Assamese traditional jewellery – Dug Dugi, Keru Moni and Junbiri.

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