Timeless appeal

SANJUKTA DUTTA wishes to take the mekhela-sador to a wider platform.

Mekhela-sador, the traditional three-piece attire of Assam has won the hearts of many people from all over the world, from Bollywood celebrities to people overseas. It has always stood out for its exceptional workmanship and its unique drape. Indeed, the mekhela-sador is Assam’s pride, and women wear it with utmost reverence. And there are many enterprising men and women from our State who are taking this attire to the world, by showcasing their designs on ramps and red carpets.

Dutta is one such fashion designer who has successfully promoted the mekhela-sador
in India and beyond. Originally from Nagaon, Dutta currently resides in Guwahati
with her husband and daughter Alful. She has been part of several reputed
fashion shows in India, in an all-out effort to bring the mekhela-sador into
the limelight. She has even managed to drape several Bollywood icons in our
traditional attire, from Hema Malini, Tabu, Karisma Kapoor, Bipasha Basu,
Priety Zinta, Esha Deol, and many more, at several fashion events.

the founder-promoter of the label ‘Mekhela Chador by Sanjukta Dutta’, has been honored
with the ‘Stardust Global Achiever’ award and the ‘Dada Saheb Excellence Award’
for contributing to the handloom industry. She has also been selected for the
upcoming Times Unlimited Awards to be held in Guwahati.

being a civil engineer to fashion designing, it was a rather unusual move for
this dynamic lady. But she has stuck by her decision, “The most important pull
was my love for the outfit and the willingness to take it to the world.” She
also adds that her husband has been a constant support and he guided her to
follow her dreams. “I started
with a humble beginning, but, over the years, the support from my weavers, clients,
influencers, the media and the representation on national and international
platforms have all helped me grow and shape my brand,” she says.

But what does she
feel about the attire that she so beautifully recreates in different ways? “For
me, a mekhela-sador is not just a piece of clothing but an ‘emotion’
that women from our region embody. My dream is to make mekhela-sador
gain national acceptance and have people beyond our State embrace it.” The

according to her, is
not the same as earlier. “It has gone through evolutionary changes and needs more
attention to detailing and experimentation. Anything that has to stay and
become timeless has to be moulded with modern sensibilities. I have been working
towards it and adding more variations to this traditional drape to keep it in
tune with the times,” says Dutta.

Dutta’s designs are
mostly a mixture of traditional patterns and modern color combinations, which
are quite trendy. Motifs used by her are usually inspired from the diverse
flora and fauna of the North-East. “My fabrics are sourced from weavers from
across 900 looms, and I am glad to say that most of the looms are managed by
women. And we have been able to give them a permanent source of income and to uplift
and improve their economic status,” she informs.

While mekhela-sador
is surely making a big comeback into the wardrobes of fashionable women, thanks
to people like Sanjukta Dutta, there is a long-held view that women who wear
traditional attire are not really chic. Behenji and dhekeri are
the terms thrown at most women who wear the mekhela-sador. But Dutta is piqued
at this insinuation. “These kinds of people are just attention-seekers and are
suffering from identity crisis. If wearing and flaunting your tradition becomes
a matter of shame or less ‘fashionable’, then so should be eating our
traditional food or celebrating traditional festivals, I feel sorry for such
people, because they are not true to their own existence. I am proud that I
have been making a humble contribution into adding more value to our
traditional outfit and I would love to restore the same to its maximum glory,
with a dash of modernity, of course,” she signs off.

Timeless appeal Timeless appeal Reviewed by feedvalley on June 03, 2019 Rating: 5


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