The sari had nearly died in West Bengal, till designer Sabyasachi reinvented it in its new avatar, styling it as a fusion wear merging the Bangal bhadralok’s dhoti, the Dhoti-Sari, which is now the new age rage
The craze for jeans and T-shirts, hot pants and sleeveless tops, is passé. Teenagers and style-movers in this ‘culture capital of India’ have fallen in love with a new fashion which has been hugely trending.
It is the handloom saris.
In fact, a new group of weavers based in Phulia in Nadia district of the state has injected a fresh lease of life to an almost moribund, dying style and tradition of the ‘Bangalis’.
And from them, other weavers were quick to follow up, and now these handloom saris have become a major craze.
Name the festivity and you get a new designer handloom sari, regardless of the high price tag!
These weavers, riding some attractive designs of the latest entrants, have been churning out pieces that are simply dazzling.
A new bunch of creative designers from Kolkata, in search of beating the cliché, has noticed that possibility in handloom products and soon, have begun reviving the lost tradition.
Bengal handloom industry, established in the 15th century, is one of the oldest weaving industries in this part of the country.
Women and girls used to wear saris as their only custom dress, and that too without the concept of blouse.
Slowly, the sari lost its glory and place in the wake of an aggressive aping of the Western fads, and handloom weavers have somehow managed to survive, as rural Bengal did not join the bandwagon.
The latest trend is ‘Fashion-Fusion’.
Women, nowadays, drape the sari with t-shirts or crop tops.
Boots were earlier generally being styled with jeans but that too has changed with sari.
And the man who made the maiden move, taking the market by storm is none other than designer boss Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
His contribution towards revival of cotton wear and sari is extremely commendable.
This intellectual designer is the only Indian one to have showcased his designs on cotton along with oily braids and thick framed glasses in fashion shows in London, New York and Milan.
Sabyasachi’s garments are truly Indian and he draws most of his inspiration from places in and around Kolkata, including Phulia.
Block prints, kantha stitch, patch work are truly Bengali handloom tradition.
They are not only being implemented in saris but also in other fashionable garments just to create a fresh lease of life in the folk art.
Mukherjee apart, amidst a plethora of new designs being churned out by the other designers, Dhoti-Sari is the one that has taken the market by storm.
Now Dhotis and Saris have married each other, to make a style that is creating waves all across.
And it is none other than Bappaditya Biswas, whose trendy invention has suddenly become the talk of the town.
In fact, his credit stems from the fact that this diminutive designer has worked with weavers of rural Bengal, absorbed the art within himself before dishing out the Dhoti-Sari.
Literally, weavers from Hooghly have been employed by Biswas to stich the Dhoti-Saris, as these weavers are trained in weaving fine Dhotis which is almost a lost garment today.
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A movie freak and avid indulger in classical and contemporary Indian music, Sulagna Ghosh’s research paper on “Children of Sex Workers -- The Road Ahead”, earned her accolades in the elite Vishva Bharati University, West Bengal. She loves writing on fashion and style. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in English from Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta.